Monday 1 September 2014


HERTS AKTSIN (March 16, 1893-August 25, 1956)

He was a prose author, current events writer, and translator, born in Boltinov in the Latgale region of Latvia.  He later moved to Riga, and from there to Moscow at the time of WWI, returning to Riga in the early 1920s.  From 1913 he was writing stories, feature essays, and humorous holiday pieces.  In 1917 he founded in the city of Narve (Narva) the publishing house Khaver (Comrade) which, under his editorship, published partially in his own translation anthologies of non-Yiddish literature (Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, de Maupassant, Aleksandr Kuprin, Edward Bellamy) as well as political pamphlets: Ver zaynen es bolskevikes un menshevikes? (Who are the Bolsheviks and who the Mensheviks?) (Moscow, 1917); Dos muz visn yeder frayer birger, di melukhe-ordenung in frankraykh, england, amerike, un shvayts (Every citizen must know this: Civil order in France, England, America, and Swtitzerland) (Moscow: Khaver, 1917), 20 pp.; Mesholim (far kleyne kinder) (Fables for small children) after Leo Tolstoy (Moscow: Khaver, 1918), 15 pp.; Der prints un der betler (The Prince and the Pauper) after Mark Twain (Moscow: Khaver, 1918), 48 pp.; Kapitalizm un prostitutsye (Capitalism and prostitution) by August Babel, and other works as well.  He also authored: Di geverb-kooperatsye fun ukraine (The industrial cooperatives of Ukraine) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1940), 45 pp.  During World War I and the Russian civil war, he lived in Moscow. In the early 1920s, he returned to Riga and contributed to the daily Riga newspaper Dos folk (The people).  In 1922, together with other contributors, he left this newspaper and published a pamphlet entitled Di gele prese (The yellow press).  From 1923 on he was an editorial contributor to various Riga Yiddish newspapers and magazines, such as: Di naye tsayt (The new times), Letste nayes (Late news), Frimorgn (Morning), Nay-erd (New land), and Di vokh (The week), among others; and he edited the humor magazines, Ashmodai and Grine riter (Green rods, between 1922 and 1929).  At the beginning of WWII, he appears to have survived in Tashkent.  After the war he returned to Riga, and in the 1950s he published children’s stories and the Warsaw serial Folks-shtime (People’s voice). He died in Riga.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; M. Gerts, 25 yor yidishe prese in letland (25 years of the Yiddish press in Latvia) (Riga, 1933), p. 60; Daniel Tsharni, A yortsendlik aza, 1914-1924, memuarn (Such a decade, 1914-1924, memoirs) (New York, 1943), p. 228; A. Riger, Yizker-almanakh fun riger relif (Memory almanac from Riga relief) (New York, 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. 28-29.]


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