PEYSI (PETRO) ALTMAN 1904-1941)
He was a prose author and literary scholar, born in the village of Ivangorod (Ivanhorod), Kiev Province, into a poor family. At age fourteen, he began working with a cobbler, later in a shoe factory in the city of Uman. At the same time, he was studying in an evening school. In 1931, he became a student in the “Institute of Red Professors.” After graduating he began working in the Institute of Ukrainian Literature at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, and later he worked in the Institute of Jewish Culture in the same Academy where he undertook research in the field of Yiddish and Ukrainian literature, published articles in the press as well as stories in literary journals and collections. He took part in a contest for the best biography of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko and won second prize; this work appeared in two languages, Yiddish and Ukrainian. In the early days of WWII, he volunteered to go to the front and took part in the fighting not far from Kiev. He was commander of a company in the Red Army and fell on the battlefield hear the village of Stepantsy, Kiev region.
His writings appeared in the following: Dos tsilbret lakht (The target laughs), stories (Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk, 1931), 64 pp.; Pozitsyes (Positions), stories (Kharkov: Literatur un kunst, 1933), 124 pp.; Dertseylungen (Stories) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1936), 82 pp.; Anti-religyeze kinstlerishe zamlung (Anti-religious artistic collection), assembled together with Khatskl Nodel (Kiev, 1939), 303 pp.; T. G. Shevtshenko, byografishe fartseykhenung (T. G. Shevchenko, biographical notes) (Kiev, 1939), 70 pp.; Yugnt, roman (Youth, a novel) (Kiev, 1941), 207 pp. His work also appeared in: Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Reciter of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow, 1934); and Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932).
Sources: D. Rumanove, “P. altmans pozitsyes” (P. Altman’s positions), Shtern (Kiev) (August 1933); “In cabinet far yidisher kultur” (In the office of Yiddish culture), Eynikeyt (Moscow) (July 15, 1942); “In der yidisher un hebreyisher literatur” (In Yiddish and Hebrew literature), Tsukunft (New York) (August 1943).
[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. 22.]