Monday 16 June 2014


MEYER ALBERTON (1900-November 20, 1947)

He was a prose writer, born in Bershad, Podolia region (Ukraine).  Until age fourteen he studied in religious schools and a secular Russian school.  He then left for Odessa where he worked in a metal plant.  After the revolution, he became a teacher and educator in children’s institutions.  Later he worked in a plant in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, joined the factory school (arbfak), and later he graduated from a higher school of mountain engineering.  He began publishing stories in 1926 in the Kharkov Yiddish journals Prolit (Proletarian literature) and Di royte velt (The red world). His main theme was the restoration of Jewish economic circumstances, the penetration of the Jewish masses into industry, and the economy. He was the first writer in Soviet Yiddish literature to introduce the theme of production, creating images of laborers in industry and in coal mines. When Birobidzhan was declared a Jewish territory in 1928, he went there with the first group of migrants, spent a considerable period of time there, and published reportage pieces in the press about life and labor of the Jewish residents of the Taiga. (These sketches were later collected in his book Birobidzhan.) He went down into the coal mines of the Donbas, whence Jewish youth also went, and compiled a book entitled Shakhtes (Mines). In 1941 he was evacuated to the Urals with a metallurgical plant, where he worked from dawn to dusk with the personages about whom he later wrote. He lived with his family in the Ural city of Tchkalov (Orenburg), and there he died without having finished his last work, Uraler giboyrim (Ural heroes), fragments of which he published in the newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity) and in the Moscow collection Sovetish (Soviet).

His books include: Birobidzhan, veg-ayndrukn (Birobidzhan, impressions of a journey) (Kharkov, 1929), 245 pp.; Fyoder zubakov (Fyodor Zubakov), a story (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1930), 32 pp.; Di komune (The commune), a story (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1930), 28 pp.; Tsu di naye shakhtyorn (To the new miners), a story (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), 20 pp.; Shakhtes (Moscow, 1931), 692 pp.; Shakhte bis (Mine “Bis”), “adopted for schools” (Minsk, 1932), 66 pp.; In supernem tsekh (In a top guild), stories (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1932), 46 pp.; Nit oysgetrakht, tsen fartseykhenungen (Not invented, ten accounts) (Moscow: Emes, 1941), 105 pp.; Nit oysgetrakht, fartseykhenungen (Not invented, accounts) (Moscow: Emes, 1947), 107 pp. (not the same as the previously titled work).  His work was also included in: Der arbeter in der yidisher literatur (The worker in Yiddish literature) (Minsk, 1931); Shloglerishe trit (Shock-worker’s steps) (Minsk, 1932); Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Reciter of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow, 1934); Birebidzhan (Birobidzhan) (Moscow, 1936); Komyug ([Jewish] Communist youth) (Moscow, 1938).

Sources: Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1930), pp. 288-90; A. Vorobeytshik, Prolit (Proletarian literature) (Kharkov) (September-October, 1931); M. Mizhiritski and S. Bryanski, Lernbukh un khrestomatye fun literatur (Textbook and reader for literature) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1933); S. Zhukovski, Pruvn (Attempts) (Kharkov, 1934), pp. 25-92; M. Kadishevitsh, in Visnshaft un revolutsye (Science and revolution) (Kiev) (April-June, 1935); Dobrushin, in Forpost (Birobidzhan), no. 1 (1936); Kh. Luitsker, in Afn shprakhfront (Kiev), no. 1 (1937); Aleksander Pomerants, Inzhinyern fun neshomes (Engineers of souls) (New York, 1944); “Meir Alberton” obituary in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (November 25, 1947); M. Gen, in Eynikeyt (March 23, 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. 20-21.]

1 comment:

  1. M. Alberton wrote A nayer dor : fartseykhenungen (A new generation: accounts).- Kiev: Melukhe farlag far di natsionale minderkhaytn in USSR, 1940.- 36, [3] pp.
    א נײער דאר: פארצײכענונגענ