Friday 23 May 2014



The place and date of his birth are unknown.  He was a laborer who lived in Vitebsk.  During WWI, he served in the Russian army.  He began publishing in issue number 5 of the journal Kultur un bildung (Culture and education) in 1918 a story entitled “Zikhroynes fun a soldat” (Memoirs of a soldier), accompanied by a footnote from the editor: “The simple and straightforward descriptive power, the freshness, the sincerity, the profoundly idealistic humanity of this memoir demonstrates how creative and what spiritual strength lay concealed among the Jewish folk masses. This strength must be disclosed.” The story had two sequels—in issues 7 and 8 of the same weekly journal. Sholem Izraelit was an altogether new name in Yiddish literature, and the editors of the new Moscow periodical knew very little about him. In issue 8, the journal published an announcement in its “Letter Box”: “Vitebsk, Izraelit Sholem. The editorial board requests that you inform us of your address.” The author filled out the request, and in issue 13-14 the journal published another story by him: “Harbst-nakht” (Autumn night).  This was in late 1918, and his name did not appear again. Some ten years later, he returned with an entire book of stories, entitled Tsevigte koykhes (Swaying force), stories (Moscow, Kharkov, Minsk, 1931), 47 pp., but later in the 1930s, his name completely disappeared.

 Sources: B. Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye (Jewish literature in Byelorussia following the revolution) (Moscow, 1931), p. 238, and in Tsayshrift (Minsk), vol. 5 (1931); Y. Serebriani, in Prolit (October 1931).

 [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. 16.]


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