Thursday 20 November 2014


ITSHE BORUKHOVITSH (ISAK BORISOV) (January 1, 1923-December 2, 1972)

He was a Soviet Yiddish poet, born in the town of Horodets (Gorodets), Byelorussia, into the family of a teacher. He also wrote under the name of Isak Borisov.  He graduated in 1940 from a teachers’ institute in Rahachow and worked as a teacher in the town of Streshyn, Byelorussia. He first appeared in print with a poem in 1936. His first volume of poetry, Afn grinem breg (On the green shore) was published in 1941. He took part in WWII, and this was the central theme of his lyrical poetry. During the war, he was chief of a personal radio station for the Soviet military leader, General Nikolai Vatunin. A major place in his creative work was occupied by philosophical thoughts of contemporary reality. This is already reflected in his poetry collection, In a guter sho (At a good time) of 1947. After the war, he settled in Moscow and worked on the editorial board of the anthology Heymland (Homeland); in the 1960s, he was working for the Moscow publisher Sovetski pisatel (Soviet writers). Together with Shmuel Halkin (his father-in-law), Arn Vergelis, and a number of other writers, he actively interceded to bring back to life the published Yiddish word in the post-Stalinist era. He systematically published his poetry cycles in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland), primarily lyrical miniatures. He also wrote essays, documentary stories concerning sports under the pseudonym Isak Borisov. From 1963 until the end of his life, he was a member of the editorial collective of Sovetish heymland. He died in Moscow.

He also published poems in Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow, and he contributed to Lider-zamlung (Poetry collection) (Minsk, 1940), 92 pp., together with Khayim Gurevitsh, Simkhe Leltshuk, and P. Plotnik).  Among his books: In a guter sho, poems (Moscow, 1947), 151 pp.; Baym shayter fun yorn (In the bonfire of the years) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1974), 478 pp.

Sources: Yoysef Horn, In undzer dor (On our generation) (Buenos Aires, 1949); Y. Gotlib, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1951); Eynikeyt (Moscow) (January 10 and February 14, 1948); Rivke Rubin, in Folks-shtime (Poland) 47 (1947).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 58; and 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. 37-38.]

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