Wednesday 5 November 2014


NOKHUM BOMZE (August 7, 1906-May 13, 1954)
     His father’s family surname was Frishvaser, his mother’s Bomze.  He was born in Sasov (Sasów), Galicia, into a family of businessmen, the youngest of ten children.  At the start of WWI, he and his family escaped to Nikolsburg (Mikulov), Moravia, Czechoslovakia.  By 1918 they were back in Sasov.  He studied in a German public school, religious elementary schools, and a Polish Jewish high school (in Lemberg [L’viv, Lvov]).  He also learned how to weave the ornamental collars for prayer shawls, a widespread occupation in the city of his birth.  His first two poems—“Mayn brust di beynerdike” (My bony breast) and “Mayne yorn” (My years)—were published in the Warsaw periodical, Yugnt-veker (Youth alarm), on August 1, 1929.  From that point forward, his poems were published in Warsaw and Lemberg magazines and newspapers.  He belonged to the Lemberg literary group known as “Tsushtayer” (Contribution), 1929-1931.  His first collection of poems, entitled In teg fun der vokh (In the days of the week), 64 pp., was published in Lemberg in 1929.  In the early 1930s, he settled in Warsaw, where the following volumes of his poems were published: Borvese trit (Barefoot steps) (1936), 96 pp.; Li-tay-pe (Li Taibo) (1937), 40 pp.; A gast in farnakht (A guest in the evening) (1939), 50 pp.; Eybik blyen vet der troym (Dreams will bloom forever) (New York: Fride Ernst, 1955), 101 pp., with a preface by H. Leivick.  In 1934 Bomze published reportage concerning Sasov and Brod in Landkentenish (Lay of the land) in Warsaw, poems in Oyfgang (Arise) in Sighet, Hungary, and in Lid (Poem), a quarterly out of Los Angeles.  When WWII broke out, Bomze returned to Lemberg, which was soon occupied by the Soviet Army.  In 1941 his book of poems entitled Ibergang (Transition) was published (Lemberg-Kiev).  He was mobilized that same year into the Russian army in which he served for 6-7 months.  Prior to the entry of Hitler’s troops, he was evacuated to Kharkov, and from there he went on to Uzbekistan.  For a time he supported himself by carrying bundles, later working in a kindergarten in Tashkent.  At the end of 1945, he returned to Poland, and he spent the year 1946 in Lodz, where he served as editorial secretary of Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings).  He subsequently left Poland and in 1948 he came, via Sweden and France, to New York.  There, he published a volume of poems entitled Khasene in harbst (Marriage in autumn) (1949), 144 pp.  Bomze also composed a longer story entitled “Mayn feter der landshturmist” (My uncle, the tax collector), which appeared in Faroys (Forward) in Warsaw, no. 2 (December 1937) and no. 3 (January 1938).  He died unexpectedly from a heart attack in New York.  In the final months of his life, he became occupied with selecting for publication two volumes of poems by the late writer, Mani Leyb.

Sources: Literarishe bleter (May 15, 1936; June 9, 1939); L. Finkelshteyn, in Der veker (New York) (September 15, 1949); Melech Ravitsh, in Keneder adler (May 18, 1954) and in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (June 20, 1954) and in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (July 2, 1954); Kh. Vaygler, in Yidishe prese (Rio de Janeiro) (June 4, 1954); B. Vaynshteyn, in Literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (1954); M. Bernshteyn, in Unzer gedank (Buenos Aires) 33 (1954); Y. A. Liskin, in Loshn un lebn (London) (June 1954); Ben-Borekh, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (June 1954); M. Yofe, in Lebnsfragn (Tel Aviv) (August 1954); Dr. Sh. Bikl, in Tsukunft (New York) (July-August 1954); Y. Metsker, in Forverts (New York) (June 20, 1954); A. Shulman, in Veker (New York) (July 1, 1954); R. Oyerbakh, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (July 2, 1954).

[Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 52.]

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