Sunday 30 November 2014


ROKHL BOYMVOL (March 4, 1914-June 16, 2000)

Daughter of the playwright and theatrical director Yehude-Leyb Boymvol and the wife of Zyame Telesin (Ziame Telessin), she was a Soviet poet and prose writer, born in Odessa.  During WWII, she was evacuated to Tashkent, Inner Asia.  From 1919 she was living in Moscow.  In 1930 she graduated from the musical technikum in Moscow, and in 1936 from the literature faculty of the Jewish division at the second Moscow State University.  She began in her youth to compose poetry, even before she learned to read, and to publish her poems in Pyoner (Pioneer), a children magazine in Moscow (issue no. 3, 1926).  Many years later, she explained: “It began from my enjoying the rhyming of one word to another. Then, I found myself enjoying speaking with well-placed language. Then, I found the craft of creating to my liking, but then it just might be that everything was backwards: first I enjoyed the crafting and then imparting it with well-placed language, and only then would I get to rhyming, though fastest of all being when everything transpired at the same time.” The poet’s creative way was not at all easy—it was always associated with suffering and drudgery. When Central Publishers (Tsentrfarlag) in 1930 brought out her first poetry collection at age fifteen or sixteen, the journalist and author Moyshe Kats wrote in a preface: “Rokhl Boymvol is no child prodigy who ought surprise us and demonstrate that just what a child can write as a grown, mature artist. She is even better than that: she demonstrates with her creative work what an adult artist is unable to do with such authenticity and naturalness—she shows us the experiences of a child in the process of their training.” She went on to publish many more books—poetry collections, children’s tales, and stories for adults, as well as linguistic essays. She published in Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow, Naye prese (New press) in Paris, and elsewhere.  On the whole until 1971 when she made aliya to Israel, she brought out eighteen collections of her poetry and booklets in Yiddish for young and old. Her poetic talent in Israel amassed eight volumes of poetry in Yiddish, one in Russian, and two translated into Hebrew. One need also note her extraordinary work on Yiddish idiomatic expressions that she systematically carried out and placed in various publications. She was among the more talented of Soviet Yiddish women writers of the younger generation.  She died in Jerusalem.

His first collection of poetry Kinder-lider (Children’s poems) (Moscow: Central Publishers, 1930), 31 pp.  Her subsequent books include: Pyonern, kinder-lider (Pioneers, children’s poetry) (Moscow, 1934), 87 pp.; Tare (Tara), a story in verse (Moscow, 1934), 14 pp.; Lider (Poems) (Minsk, 1936), 80 pp.; Bertshuk brud, a kinder-maysele (Filthy Bertshuk, a children’s story) (Minsk, 1936), 22 pp.; Lider (Poems) (Minsk: State Publishers, 1936), 77 pp.; Dos tanele (Spruce [Christmas tree]), children’s poems (Moscow, 1938), 15 pp.; Vaynshl-beymer bliyen (Sour cherry trees bloom), poems (Minsk: State Publishers, 1939), 82 pp.; Lider (Poems) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 78 pp.; Mayselekh far kinder (Stories for children) (Moscow: Emes, 1941); Libshaft, lider (Love, poems) (Moscow, 1947), 141 pp.  Oysgebenkt (Longed for), poems (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1972), 190 pp.; A mol iz geven a helfand, mayselekh far kleyn un groys (There was once an elephant, stories for young and old) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1973), 73 pp.; Stikhi pasnykh let (Poetry over the years) (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1976), 126 pp.; Fun lid tsu lid (From poem to poem) (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1977), 215 pp.; Dray heftn (Three notebooks), poems (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1979), 178 pp.; Aleyn dos lebn (Life all alone), poetry and aphorisms (Jerusalem, 1983), 184 pp.; Mayn yidish (My Yiddish) (Tel Aviv: Peretz Publ., 1988), 205 pp. Shire zemanim shonim, 1935-1978 (Poetry of different times, 1935-1978) (Tel Aviv, 1989), 108 pp.; Vundervelt (Wonder world) (Jerusalem: Haarets, 1990), 200 pp.; Antkegn dem vos ir zogt, idyomatishe oysdrukn (Contrary to what you say, idiomatic expressions) (Jerusalem: Haarets, 1990), 71 pp.; Tsugebundkeyt (Attachment) (Jerusalem, 1995); Treyst un troyer, hundert naye lider (Comfort and grief, 100 new poems) (Jerusalem: Haarets, 1998), 127 pp.

Her work was also included in: Bafrayte brider, literarishe zamlung (Liberated brethren, literary anthology) (Minsk, 1939); Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Reciter of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow, 1934); and Tsum zig (To victory) (Moscow, 1944).  Between 1948 and 1970, she published a series of children’s booklets in Russian with such titles (in translation) as: The Puppet Goes off, The Checkered Goose, Various Stories, Under One Roof, Depending on Who Goes, A Pitchfork with a Raddish, Sun and Wind, Facing the Sun, and All Together the Best Present.

Sources: B. Y. Byalostotski, in Yorbukh (Annual) (New York, 1939); H. Beryozkin, in Shtern (Minsk) (December 1937); Eynikeyt (Moscow) (January 1, 1947); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945).

[Addition information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 70-71; 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. 39-40.]


  1. Some information on Rokhl Boymvol's contribution to the Soviet children's literature can be found here: (check there the pages for Baumvol, Rakhil); some more additional sources in a most recent, but somewhat disappointing, entry about her in English is found in the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe:; there is probably much more information in the following book:, which I haven't got a chance yet to read. There are also some articles about her in Russian.

  2. That's interesting! Can you please share more about it? Thank you.

    Bookkeepers in Johannesburg

  3. Many thanks for the information. I just noticed, as well, that there is a sizable entry on her in Chaim Beider's _Leksikon fun yidishe shrayber in ratn-farband_, pp. 39-40.