Monday, 30 June 2014
Sunday, 29 June 2014
Friday, 27 June 2014
Born in Krakow, Galicia. He graduated from a secular high school and studied at the Universities of Krakow, Lemberg, and Vienna. He was a doctor of jurisprudence. From his high school days, he was active in the socialist movement. He was a member of the executive of the Jewish social-democratic party in Galicia and chairman of the Krakow organization of the Bund. In November 1918 he was one of the commandants of the Jewish self-defense during the Lemberg pogrom. Until WWII he was a lawyer in Krakow. In 1940 he was in Vilna where he was giving lectures at YIVO concerning the economic history of the Jewish people. From 1941 he was in the United States. From 1946 he was professor of economic science at Hobart College in Geneva, New York. He started writing article on social and economic issues in Sotsyal democrat (Social democrat) in Krakow in 1908. He edited Głos związku (Voice of the club) (Krakow, 1913-1914) in which he also published works concerned with the history of Jewish literature in which there was a detailed review of Shmuel Niger’s Pinkes (Register) of 1913, written by Dr. Y. Shatski who also gave a course on Yiddish literature in the Jewish socialist academic union which Aleksandrovitsh chaired. He was also a contributor to Nowe życie (New Life), Walka (Battle), and other works in Polish; as well as Poland Fights and Unzer tsayt (Our times) in New York. He published under the pseudonym of A. Herder.
HILEL ALEKSANDROV (1890-1972)
He was a historian and literary scholar, born in Bobryusk, son of Sh. Aleksandrov who was the author of semi-maskilic religious texts in Hebrew (and Aramaic). At age twelve entered a state-run high school from which he graduated with honors. This distinction afforded him the opportunity to enroll at St. Petersburg University in the law faculty, from which he graduated in 1914. At the same time as his university lectures, he attended courses on Oriental Studies run by Shimen Dubnov. In 1917 he started his scholarly work. He settled in Minsk, Byelorussia, as a teacher and a scientific researcher. He worked with the Jewish Section of the Institute of Byelorussian Culture. His scholarly writings on the problems of the Jewish shtetl assumed an important place in his work. In 1924 he was certified as a candidate in history and an instructor at the Byelorussian State University. He published his work on historical, economic, and literary issues in numerous journals, collections, and special publications. In the 1930s, he worked in Leningrad as scholarly secretary of the historical commission of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He was arrested at one point and sentenced with Yisroel Tsinberg to exile. This fate brought him together with Tsinberg, when in late 1939 they happened to meet on a train en route to a camp in the Far East. They promised one another that, should one of them survive, he should occupy himself with publishing the literary legacy which would remain after them. Tsinberg did not make it back from the deportation, and Aleksandrov did so years later to Leningrad. He worked in the Oriental Faculty of Leningrad University, where he taught a lecture course, “History of the Jews in Antiquity and Middle Ages.” In the Institute of Oriental Studies, he systemized and annotated the research work of Yisroel Tsinberg (whose archive was preserved by his wife and daughter) and published on the basis of this material a series of articles. At the same time, he collected materials for his own historical work on the Jews of Russia. He died in Leningrad.
Among his more important works, one should note: “Mitteylungen un materyaln, sotsyale kegnzatsn in yidishe kehiles in 16nt un 17nt yorhundert” (Information and materials, social contrasts in Jewish communities in the 16th and 17th centuries), Tsayshrift 2.3 (1928) (Minsk); “Di yidishe bafelkerung in di shtet un shtetlekh fun vaysrusland” (The Jewish population in the cities and towns of Byelorussia), Tsayshrift 2.3 (1928), and the like. Among his published books: Der veg tsum ershtn may (The route to May First), a collection (Minsk, 1926), 39 pp.; Forsht ayer shtetl (Investigate your shtetl) (Minsk, 1928), 16 pp.; Gezelshaft-kentenish, arbet-bukh farn 5tn lernyor (Societal knowledge, a workbook for grade five), part 1 (Minsk, 1928), 104 pp. (prepared with Y. Rubin, L. Khantun, L. Holmshtok, and H. Dordak); Undzer kant, bashraybungen fun der vaysrusisher sotsyalistisher sovetn republik (Our area, descriptions of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic), part 1 (Minsk, 1929), 84 pp., part 2 (with H. Rozenhoyz), 106 pp.; Yidn in v.s.s.r. (Jews in the Byelorussian S.S.R.) (Minsk, 1930), 154 pp. (with Arn Vorobeytshik); Sotsyalistisher boy (Socialist construction), a reader and workbook for grade three (Minsk, 1930), 414 pp.; Mit trit fun finfyor v.s.s.r. (In step with the fifth year of the Byelorussian S.S.R.), vol. 1, supplement to the workbook (Minsk, 1931), 32 pp.; Der proletariat in v.s.s.r. (The proletariat in the Byelorussian S.S.R.) (Minsk, 1933).
Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Vilna, 1926); Biblyographishe arkhiv fun yivo (Bibliographic archive from YIVO) (New York); Dr. Y. Shatski, “Geshikhte fun bildung bay yidn” (History of education among Jews), Shriftn far psikhologye un pedagogic (Writings on psychology and pedagogy), vol. 1 (Vilna: YIVO, 1933).
[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), pp. 24-25.]
Thursday, 26 June 2014
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
BUZI OLYEVSKI (OLIEVSKY, OLEVSKI) (1908-1941)
He was a poet and prose writer, born in the town of Chernikhov, Volhynia (Ukraine); his father was a retailer. In 1930 he graduated from the Moscow Pedagogical Institute, and in 1932 he was a doctoral candidate at the same institute. He defended his dissertation—“The Creative Work of Dovid Hofshetyn”—for his degree in philology. His first poems were published in Shtern (Stars) in Minsk in 1926. From that point in time, he published poems and stories in various Soviet newspapers, journals, and collections. A talented writer, he reflected in his early work the painful rebuilding process of the Jewish shtetl in the first years after the Revolution and especially in the period of NEP (New Economic Policy) and the events during the Civil War in Ukraine. Later, he sang the praises of heroes of the Civil War. An important theme in his work was the penetration of Jewish youth into major industry. All of these motifs appear in his collections of poetry, In vuks (Growing) and Shakhte (Mines). Poetry and tales for children also occupied a large pace in his work, as he published work about children, for children, and about the Communist Youth League. In the early 1930s, he left Moscow for Birobidzhan. He worked there for the local Yiddish and Russian press, as well as serving as the secretary of the editorial board of the journal Forpost (Outpost), in which he placed poems, ballads, and sketches dedicated to the construction of the Jewish Autonomous Region and its people who came from all corners of the world with a dream of building a new Jewish home. He was also a talented prose author, and the motifs of his stories and novels were the same as those of his poems. In particular, he was distinguished for his autobiographical novel Osherl un zayne fraynt (di geshikhte fun a yingl) (Osherl and his friends, the story of a lad) (Moscow: Der emes, 1947), 349 pp., which only appeared after his death. He also wrote about current issues in literature. Among other things, he was the first to publish poems in Yiddish about the air force and aviation. Others wrote music to accompany many of his poems. He also translated a few books from Russian. He was one of the most talented Soviet lyricists and storytellers of the younger generation. Shortly after the Nazi attack on Soviet Russia, he joined the Red Army as an officer. He served in a military division which in 1941 was on the Western front and took part in the first battles there. He died at the front in the autumn of 1941.
Among his books: Far der bine: dertseylungen, pyeses, lider (For the stage: stories, plays, poems), with musical notation (together with Y. Dobrushin and E. Gordon) (Moscow, 1929), 136 pp.; In vuks, songs (Moscow, 1930), 110 pp.; Shakhte, poetry (Moscow, 1933), 132 pp.; Alts hekher un hekher: luft-fartseykhenungen (Higher and higher, aerial notes) (Moscow, 1933), 63 pp.; Kinder far mayn elter (Children for my old age), children’s stories (Moscow, 1935), 47 pp.; A nakht afn amur (A night on the Amur [River]), stories (Moscow, 1938), 240 pp.; Birobidzhaner lider (Songs of Birobidzhan) (Moscow, 1938); Onheyb lebn, dertseylungen (Start of life, stories) (Moscow, 1939), 254 pp.; Af birobidzhaner erd (On the soil of Birobidzhan), poetry (Moscow, 1940), 82 pp.; Lider (Poems) (Moscow, 1940), 142 pp.; Mayselekh (Stories) (Moscow, 1940), 31 pp.; Osherl un zayn fraynd (Little Asher and his friend) (Moscow, 1947), 350 pp. His translations include: Lev Kassil’, Shvambranye (Konduit i shvambraniya) (The black book and Schwambrania), stories (Moscow, 1934), 245 pp.; and S. Dimitriev, Kin sibir nokh a moment (Off to Siberia in a moment) (Moscow, 1935), 71 pp. His work also appeared in: Kep, lider zamlung (Heads, poetry collection) (Minsk, 1926), Komyug, literarish-kinstlerisher zamlbukh ([Jewish] Communist Youth, literary-artistic anthology) (Moscow, 1938), Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), Lebn un kamf, zamlbukh fun der yidisher linker literatur in poyln (Life and struggle, anthology of leftist Yiddish literature in Poland) (Minsk, 1936), Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Reciter of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow, 1934), Lider vegn der royte armey (Songs about the Red Army) (Moscow, 1938), Farn heymland in shlakht! (For the homeland in battle!) (Moscow, 1941). He wrote the foreword to Itsik Fefer’s Lider (Poems) (Moscow, 1935).
Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (February 1930); Literaturnaya entsiklopediya (Literary encyclopedia) (Moscow, 1934), vol. 8, pp. 275-76; Sh. Klitenik, in Forpost, no. 2 (Birobidzhan, 1936); N. Levin, in Shtern (Minsk) (January 1940), p. 81; Anon., “Tsvishn di yidishe kompozitors” (Among the Jewish composers), Eynikeyt (Moscow) (July 25, 1942); M. Natovitsh, in Eynikeyt (October 28, 1943); Y. Dobrushin, in Eynikeyt (February 27, 1945); Y. Rabin, in Folks-shtime, no. 5 (Warsaw, 1948).
[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), pp. 23-24.]
Monday, 23 June 2014
Sunday, 22 June 2014
MOYSHE ALTSHULER (1887-1969)
A current events writer and community leader, he was born in the town of Bobr (Bober), Molev (Mogilev) Province, Ukraine [now in Belarus]. His literary work commenced in 1919. He was secretary to the head office of the Jewish Section of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party, a member of the editorial collective of the Moscow-based newspaper Der emes (The truth) and the editor of record of the anti-religious journal Der apikoyres (The heretic) (Moscow, 1931-1935). His writing concentrated primarily around issues of atheistic propaganda. He also translated a number of works by V. I. Lenin into Yiddish. He was at some point purged. In the early 1960s, with the appearance of Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow, he wrote articles for it: “Af di vegn fun haynttsaytikeyt” (On the road to modern times), “Vegn p. markishes poeme ‘Milkhome’” (On P. Markish’s poem “War”), and the like. He died in Moscow.
His works include: Gekasherte neshomes (vegn kheyder) (Koshered souls, on the religious primary school) (Kharkov: Central Committee of the Communist Youth Association in Ukraine, 1922), 32 pp.; Hagode far gloyber un apikorsim (Haggadah for believers and heretics), two printings (Moscow, 1927), 24 pp.; F. s. s. r. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), a conversation on the train to be read in clubs and in the home (Moscow, n.d.), 64 pp.; Anti-religyezer lernbukh (Anti-religious reader) (Moscow, 1929), 239 pp.; a second “improved and complementary” printing of the same book was published by Emes in Moscow in 1932, entitled On a got (Without a God), 252 pp.; Vi azoy darf men firn antireligyeze propaganda (How to conduct anti-religious propaganda) (Moscow: Tsentr Publ., 1929), 24 pp.; Komsomolishe hagode (Communist Youth Haggadah) (Kharkov, 1930?), 18 pp.; Shabes, yontev un roshkhoydesh (Sabbath, holiday, and beginning of the month) (Moscow: Emes, 1947), 86 pp.; Guf un neshome (Body and soul) (Moscow, 1948). He was a member of the editorial board of Yunge gvardye (Young guard). He also contributed to Afn shprakhfront (On the language front), a collection, in Kiev (1935). From Lenin’s works, he translated Ershte revolutsye, 1905-1907 (orig., Pervaia Revoliutsiia, 1905-1907 = The first revolution, 1905-1907), vol. 1 (Moscow, 1925), 302 pp., vol. 2 (Moscow, 1927), 314 pp.; and Tsvey taktikes fun der sotsyal-demoktratikye un der demokratishe revolutsye (orig., Dve taktiki sotsial-demokratii v demokraticheskoi revoliutsii = Two tactics in social democracy and the democratic revolution) (Moscow, 1940), 134 pp.
Sources: Sh. Dimantshteyn, Foreword to Altshuler’s Anti-religyezer lernbukh; N. Rubenshteyn, “Di bikher, produktsye af yidish in sov. farb. in 1932” (Books, produced in Yiddish in the USSR in 1932), Afn visnshaftlekhn front (On the scientific front) (Minsk, 1933).
[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), pp. 22-23.]