AVROM-NOKHUM SHTENTSL (ABRAHAM NAHUM STENCL) (May 8, 1897-January 24, 1984)
He was born in Tsheladz (Czeladź), near Sosnovits (Sosnowiec). He studied in Czernowitz, where he established a Pioneer group and gave a Talmud lesson for the “Tseire mizraḥi” (Mizrachi youth). In 1919 he fled from Polish military service to Holland, and over the years 1921-1936 lived in Leipzig and longer in Berlin. He later settled in London. He was active in Jewish cultural activities. Bal-Makhshoves allowed several of Shtentsl’s expressionist poems and a story to be published in Tsukunft (Future) and Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal) in New York. Aside from stories, literary articles, and memoirs, he mainly composed poetry, the majority of which for London’s Loshn un lebn (Language and life), which he published and edited from 1940. He contributed to London’s daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times) an essay or a poem every week, published two issues of the journal Yidish-london (Jewish London) (1938-1939), Yidish-heftlekh (Yiddish notebooks) in London (71 issues, 1942-1945), and Vaytshepl lebn (Whitechapel life) (1951); and he placed nine sonnets in Gedenkbukh galitsye (Remembrance book for Galicia) (Buenos Aires, 1964). His work appeared in: Yitskhok Paner and Leyzer Frenkel, Naye yidishe dikhtung (Modern Yiddish poetry) (Iași: Jewish cultural circle in Romania, 1947); and Kadia Molodowsky, ed., Lider fun khurbn, t”sh-tsh”h (Poetry from the Holocaust, 1939-1945) (Tel Aviv, 1962).
His writings include: Lider un gedikhten (Poetry) (Leipzig: Menes Farlag, 1920s); In oyfgehn, tragedye in 3 akten mit an epilog (Coming undone, a tragedy in three acts with an epilogue) (Leipzig: M. Kleinmann, 1922), 48 pp.; Un du bist got (And you’re God) (Leipzig: Shemesh, 1925), 92 pp.; Shil-lebns (Quiet lives) (1928); In dorser vald baym yam (In the Dors woods by the sea) (Berlin: Energiadruck, 1933), 28 pp.; Tate-sonetn (Father sonnets) (1934); Mazl-tale (Ram [Aries]), Bible portraits and prophecies (Berlin, 1935), 96 pp.; Mayn fisherdorf (My fishing village) (Berlin, 1935), 31 pp.; Fundervaytns (Far off) (Berlin, 1935), 22 pp.; Afn rog (At the intersection) (Berlin, 1935), 14 pp.; Tsvishn himl un erd (Between heaven and earth) (Berlin, 1936), 80 pp.; Letste nakht (Last night), a poem (London: Y. Naorditski, 1936), 15 pp.; Funderheym (From home) (Berlin, 1936), 78 pp.; Mendele moykher-sforim, 1836-1936 (Mendele Moykher-Sforim, 1836-1936) (Berlin, 1936), 8 pp.; Lider un epishe baladn (Poems and epic ballads) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1937), 51 pp.; Sof-zumer-ferzn, in a vaytshepl-gesl (End-of-summer verses in a Whitechapel alleyway) (London: Y. Narodnitski, 1937), 16 pp.; Londoner sonetn (London sonnets) (London, 1937), 50 pp.; Hakn-kreyts (Swastika) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1938), 31 pp.; Epl-lider (Apple poems) (London, 1938); Iber eyropeisher kunst, di daytshe gotik un impresyonizm in’m likht fun der eyropeisher kunst (On European art, German gothic and impressionism in light of European art) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1938), 16 pp.; Dos kaylekhdike yor (The full year) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1939), 36 pp.; Zibn fragment (Seven fragments) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1939), 26 pp.; London lirik (London lyric) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1940), 114 pp.; September-motivn, harbst un nile lider (September motifs, autumn and Neilah poems) (London, 1942), 8 pp.; Englishe mayster in der moleray, tsu der oysshtelung itst fun zeyere bilder in der art-galerye in vaytshepl (English masters of painting, on the exhibition on now of their painting in the art gallery in Whitechapel) (London: Naroditski, 1942), 8 pp.; Yidish (Yiddish) (London: Naroditski, 1942), 156 pp.; Far der royter armey (For the Red Army) (London: Naroditski, 1943), 72 pp.; Yidish-sovetish shafn (Soviet Yiddish creations) (London, 1943), 72 pp.; Yerusholaim, lider, balades un poemes (Jerusalem, poems and ballads) (London: Naroditski, 1948), 138 pp.; Vidervuks, lider, sonetn un balades (New growth, poems, sonnets, and ballads) (London: Loshn un lebn, 1952), 167 pp.; Goles un geule (Diaspora and redemption) (London: Loshn un lebn, 1958), 136 pp.; Vaytshepl shtetl debritn (Whitechapel, a town in Britain) (London: Loshn un lebn, 1961), 344 pp.
“The full essence of Shtentsl’s writing,” wrote Yankev Glatshteyn, “is extravagance and not selectivity, [but] in his abundance there are at time nonetheless choices made.” He died in London.
Shtentsl on left (in his youth)
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Arn Tsaytlin, in Globus (Warsaw) 12 (1933); Arn Leyeles, in Inzikh (New York) 16 (1935); Ber Shnaper, in Foroys (Warsaw) 11 (1938); Yankev Glatshteyn, In tokh genumen (In essence), vol. 2 (Buenos Aires, 1960), pp. 266-68; Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (August 25, 1967); Yankev Shternberg, in Sovetish heymland (Moscow) 8 (1967); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York); Sefer sosnovits (Volume for Sosnowiec), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv, 1973), p. 579; Shneur Levenberg, in Parizer tribune (Paris) 4 (1977).
Dr. Noyekh Gris
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 525.]