Wednesday, 26 November 2014


SHIYE (JOSHUA) BUDZON (December 5, 1858-November 1929)
     Born in Hanushishok, Vilna region, to a father who worked as a weaver.  He attended religious elementary school, and thereafter studied in the Remayle Yeshiva in Vilna, later still turning to general, worldly knowledge.  He became a teacher for well-to-do children.  He moved to England and became a peddler.  He then returned home and took up writing pulp fiction.  His first novel, entitled A gitraye vaybl khlebn, eyne kharakteristishe und romantishe ertseylung (A devoted wife, upon my word, a characteristic and romantic story), 98 pp., was published in Vilna in 1880, reprinted in 1891 and 1895.  His publisher, Y. L. M”ts, also published his novels: Homen mit mordekhn (Haman and Mordechai) (1893), 81 pp.; Der afrikaner khosn oder kholem-noz, eyn interesanter roman (The African groom or childish speech, an interesting novel) (1893), 32 pp.; and A mayse fun a rov mit rebetsn oder a hun oyf a katshkene ey (A tale of a rabbi and his wife or a hen on a duck’s egg) (1895), 32 pp.; among others.  (A longer list of these works can be found in Zalmen Reyzen’s Leksikon.)  He also published novels and collections of stories with the publisher, Rozenkrants ve-shriftzetser, in Vilna, such as: Khashke di grafine, oder oys shvester, vayter kale, eyn hekht interestanter roman (Khashke the countess, or not a sister any longer, still a bride to be, a fascinating novel) (1889), 176 pp. (later reprinted several times); Eyn kdaye zakh khlebn, oder der tate nemt di mamen, a rikhtike mayse (A worthwhile item, upon my word, or Father attracted Mother, a proper story) (1913), 30 pp. [1894 original]; Der mekekh toes, oder vi men bet zikh oys azoy shloft men, a fayne ertseylung (The price of an error, or how one makes one’s bed, so one sleep, an excellent story) (1926), 31 pp. [1913 original]; Der glompisher president, oder eyn kind fun tsvey mames, an ekhte figure (The silly president, or one child with two mothers, an authentic figure) (1926), 32 pp. [1895 original, 1913 reprint]; Dos khanike likhtl, oder libe un flikht (The little Chanukah candle, or love and duty) (1896), 28 pp.; Yaytsa kur utshat, oder vos bashert dos bavert (Yaytsa kur utshat, or what’s destined is realized) (1891), 31 pp.; Motke flikh (Motke the dutiful) (1893); Der mamzer, oder got vart lang un batsolt gikh, a[n] emese geshikhte fun a falshe[r] libe (The bastard, or God waits long and pays quickly, a true story of a false love) (1893), 31 pp.
     Budzon wrote into the mid-1890s.  When he later settled in Vilna, he engaged in business for a while, later becoming a bookkeeper and no longer attended to the writing of stories.  In the mid-1920s, he wrote a monograph on the well-known Vilna philanthropic woman, Dvore-Ester Helfer (1817-1907), who had provided him with room-and-board one day each week while he was a yeshiva student.  It is unknown if this work was ever published.  Budzon died in Vilna, and Zalmen Reyzen eulogized him at the funeral.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1, pp. 230-32; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (November 29, 1929); A. Vevyorke, Revizye (Revision) (Kharkov, 1931), pp. 86, 218-20; Shmuel Niger, “Shomer’s mishpet oyf sholem aleykhemen” (The Trial of Shomer in Sholem Aleykhem), Tsukunft (New York) (January 1947).

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