SONYE (SHPRINTSE) ROKHKIND (1903-2000)
She was a linguist, born in the Byelorussia town of Tolochin (Talachyn). Her father was a watchmaker with no special education, though he was accomplished in German, Russian, and Hebrew, and he subscribed to the newspapers Der fraynd (The friend) and Hatsfira (The siren); he taught his daughter Hebrew and read through the entire Pentateuch with her. After graduating from a Russian middle school in her hometown, she moved to Petrograd and continued her studies at the Institute for Jewish Knowledge which existed from 1919 until 1925. In March 1926, a Yiddish division was created in the Literature and Linguistics Department of the Second Moscow University. It became the highest Jewish senior high school in the country. A number of students, Rokhkind among them, were brought to Moscow and provided with a stipend and living quarters together. After graduating in 1928, she worked in Jewish schools. In 1930 she moved to Minsk, where she worked for two years in a Jewish middle school, before being accepted in 1932 as a research student at the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences. She defended her dissertation in 1936 and received the title of candidate in philological sciences. She worked in the Yiddish division at the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences on dictionaries, and ultimately produced, with Hershl Shklyar, the Yidish-rusisher verterbukh (Yiddish-Russian dictionary) (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1940), 519 pp. She earlier compiled with Dovid Kurland: Di haynttsaytike proletarishe yidishe dikhtung in amerike (Contemporary proletarian Yiddish poetry in America) (Minsk: State Publ., 1932), 199 pp. After the war she was a lecturer in the Minsk pedagogical institute, and she wrote several articles as well for Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland).
Source: Yisroel-Ber Beylin, in Signal (New York) (October-November 1933).
Dr. Avrom Grinboym
[Additional information from: Chaim Beider, Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers in the Soviet Union), ed. Boris Sandler and Gennady Estraikh (New York: Congress for Jewish Culture, Inc., 2011), p. 354.]