YANKEV SHUDRIKH (November 20, 1906-June 1943)
He was a poet, born in Uhniv (Hivniv), Galicia. He was a furrier by trade. He settled in Lemberg. He was a cofounder in 1932 of AYAP—“Algemeyne yidishe arbeter-partey” (General Jewish labor party), which took Communist positions. He was arrested several times for Communist activities. With the start of WWII, he found himself confined in the Lemberg ghetto. He organized a resistance group there and linked up with the partisans. He died in the fighting while fleeing with a group of Jews from the Lemberg ghetto to join the partisans—in another version, due to a provocation caused by a car driver, he was taken to the Gestapo and shot there. Yet another story was told by his Ukrainian friend, Yaroslav Galan (Halan, 1902-1949): “One morning, Shudrikh happened to meet face-to-face with a group of Gestapo men who were actually looking for him. He greeted them with a volley of shots from his pistol. Shudrikh died with glory.”
He began writing poetry in his youth, mostly on themes of struggle. In June 1932 he took part in a conference of representatives from Ukrainian, Polish, and Jewish intellectuals in the fields of literature, science, music, and art, dedicated to the proposition to convene an international anti-militaristic congress. He wrote for the semi-legal AYAP organ, Der veg (The way), and for Tsu shtern (To the star), and he took a leading place in his hometown’s “Jewish people’s reading room named for Y. L. Perets.” He also contributed to: Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw, Unzer zibn teg (Our seven days) (Warsaw, 1936), Tsushteyer (Contribution) in Lemberg, Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature) in Kiev, and other leftist journals. He composed lyrical-social poetry. Some of his poems were sung at demonstrations. His work appeared as well in: Lebn un kamf (Life and struggle) (Minsk, 1936); Yitskhok Paner and Leyzer Frenkel, Naye yidishe dikhtung (Modern Yiddish poetry) (Iași: Jewish cultural circle in Romania, 1947); Binem Heler, Dos lid iz geblibn, lider fun yidishe dikhter in poyln, umgekumene beys der hitlerisher okupatsye, antologye (The poem remains, poems by Jewish poets in Poland, murdered during the Hitler occupation, anthology) (Warsaw, 1951); Hubert Witt, Der Fiedler vom Getto: Jiddische Dichtung aus Polen (The fiddler of the ghetto, Yiddish poetry from Poland) (Leipzig, 1966); Witt, Meine jüdischen Augen jiddische Dichtung aus Polen (My Jewish eyes, Yiddish poetry from Poland) (Leipzig, 1969). In book form: Di erd rirt, lider (The earth moves, poetry) (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, 1937), 62 pp., later edition (Buenos Aires, 1953), 87 pp.; Oyfshtayg (Ascent), poetry (Kiev-Lvov: State Publ., 1941), 96 pp.
Sources: Nokhum Bomze, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (April 1946); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 206; Entsiklopediya shel galiyut (Encyclopedia of the Diaspora), vol. 7 (Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, 1956), p. 764; Y. Shulmayster, in Sovetish heymland (Moscow) 7 (1977); Sh. Shtern, in Morgn frayhayt (New York) (August 21, 1977); Forverts (New York) (January 21, 1979); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
[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. 378.]