Sunday 20 April 2014



Soviet Yiddish writer who lived in Belorussia.  He received an education at home and went to work in his youth as a journeyman carpenter, later in a variety of undertakings. He was one of the first post-revolutionary, proletarian poets in the Siviet Union. He began publishing in Der frayer arbiter (Free worker) in Vitebsk (1918) and in the weekly Kultur un bildung (Culture and education) in Moscow (1918).  In the late 1920s, he lived in Kiev, where he published poetry in the Ukrainian Yiddish periodical press. Among his books: Af khvalyes fun tsaytn (Over waves of time) (Kharkov, 1930), 135 pp.; Af der vogshol (On the scale), poetry (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934), 133 pp.; In ritem fun lebn (In the rhythm of life) (Kiev, 1937), 94 pp.; Kindheyt (Childhood), poems (Kharkov-Kiev, 1939), 103 pp.; Af undzer erd (On our earth) (Kiev, 1940), 193 pp.  His writings also appeared in: Ruf, lider zamlung (Call, poetry collection) (Minsk, 1935); Almanakh fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac of Soviet Yiddish writers to the All-Soviet Writers’ Conference) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934); Mut (Courage), poetry collection (Moscow, 1920); Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932); Zay greyt (Get ready) (Kharkov).  He was a member of the Proletkult (proletarian culture) group (together with Khayim Gildin and Shlomo Yudovin).  The majority of his poems have a propagandistic character with political and love-related motifs.  His fate remains unknown.

Sources: Kh. Dunyets, Far magnitboyen in der literatur (For the great works of literature) (Minsk, 1932); B. Orshanski, in Tsaytshrift 5 (Minsk, 1931).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 1; and 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. 11.]



  1. His fate: during the evacuation of Jews to the Soviet backland he was moved to Tashkent and later settled in the village of Jangichek in Uzbekistan. After the war he moved back to Kiev and died there in 1957.
    From his non-propagandist poems the best known is probably Di arbuzn (or S'iz der step) from the book Zingt mayn folk (1946 - not in the list above), which was set to music by American Jewish composer Bena Yomen (1901 - 1970).

  2. MENDL ABARBANEL translated from Russian into Yiddish chapters from N.A. Nekrasov's Vemen lebt zikh gut in Rasey : Kapitlen fun der poeme (orig.: Кому на Руси жить хорошо (Russian) = Кому на Русi жити добре (Ukranian)).- Odes; Kharkov : Kinder-farlag bam Ts.K. L.K.Yu.F.U., 1938.- 37, [3] pp., ill.
    װעמען לעבט זיך גוט אין ראסײ
    קאפיטלען פון דער פאעמע
    נ. א. נעקראסאװ ; ײדיש - מ. אבארבאנעל ; קינסטלער - מ. שטשעגלאװ
    Vemen lebt zikh gut in Rasey : Kapitlen fun der poeme
    N. A. Nekrasov ; yidish - M. Abarbanel; kinstler - M. Tscheglov