Sunday 29 June 2014


Born in Grodno, on Tshortkes Alley where the poverty-stricken resided.  He worked as a tanner.  In his youth he joined the underground Communist Party of Poland together with four older and younger brothers.  He was forced to escape from Poland to Soviet Russia.  In Moscow he studied for several years in “Mayrevke” (the Jewish section of the Communist University of the Peoples of the West, run by Ester Frumkin).  There he was editor of the Jewish student journal Mayrevnik (together with A. Brakhman) in Moscow (first issue: 1927).  At the same time he was writing articles for the Soviet Yiddish press.  He was sent to Poland to carry out illegal party work.  There he edited both Yiddish and non-Yiddish illegal publications, until he was arrested.  He escaped from jail and was sentenced to death in absentia.  Shortly thereafter, he was seized under a false name and sentenced to eight years in prison.  There he remained for several years, and then he was released following an amnesty.  When the Red Army entered Grodno in 1939, he and his brother assumed important positions there.  After being ambushed by the Nazis, they made their way slowly to Minsk.  In the massacre of March 2, 1942 in the Minsk ghetto, the Nazis murdered his wife, Mashe, and buried alive his six-year-old child.  He departed with the partisans, serving as a political leader of the best known partisan brigades in Byelorussia.  He edited (together with the Minsk Jewish writer, H. Dobin) a literary journal of the partisans and a series of satirical publications: Krizka-malishka.  After the victory over Hitler, he was awarded high decorations.  According to published notices, after the war he was partially paralyzed and was placed in a hospital in Minsk.  His subsequent career remains unknown.

Sources: Hersh Smolyar, Fun minsker geto (From the Minsk ghetto) (Moscow, 1946), pp. 22, 72, 135-39; Fani Bakhrakh, in Grodner opklangen (Grodno echoes), no. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1948), p. 13; H. Smolyar, in Grodner opklangen, no. 12 (Buenos Aires, 1948); L. Reyzner (New Zealand), in Grodner opklangen, no. 3-4; M. Koyfman, in Grodner opklangen, no. 7, p. 9.

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