Friday 19 December 2014


This was the literary name of Shmuel-Nokhum Plavnik.  He was born in Posotsk, near Radoshkovich in Minsk Province.  He attended religious elementary school and a yeshiva.  He worked as an employee in a forest and took part in the revolutionary movement of 1905.  He began his literary career with descriptions, in Hebrew and in Yiddish, of the harsh life of forest workers.  He later switched to White Russian.  He wrote poems, stories, and critiques.  Under the Soviet regime, he became a White Russian writer.  He wrote a great deal about Jewish life.  He translated into White Russian the writings of Peretz and Sholem-aleykhem.  Together with N. Rubinshteyn, he compiled a Yidish-vaysrusisher tashn-verterbukh (Yiddish-White Russian table dictionary) (Minsk, 1932), 218 pp.  He died in transit with other evacuated writers from White Russia and Ukraine.

Sources: A. Finkl, obituary in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (August 3, 1944); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (Brooklyn, 1950), p. 2-7.



In 1900 he was living in New York, and from the publishing house of Meyer Khinski appeared his Hagode shel peysekh fir amerikaner border (The Passover Haggadah for the American boarder), 32 pp.  This book was found in the library of YIVO in New York.  The author’s proper family name was supposed to have been Levin.

Thursday 18 December 2014


Born in Amshinov (Mszczonów), near Warsaw, into a Hassidic family, he received a traditional Jewish education.  In his early youth he was captivated by anarchism, and he spent time in prison.  Prior to WWI, he made his way to Paris, where he studied sculpture at the Art Academy of Paris.  During the war years, he was in London where he positioned himself close to the anarchist movement.  During the February Revolution (1917), he returned to Russia, and several years later he went to Warsaw and from there back to Paris where he continued his studies at the Art Academy.  He supported himself by working for a furniture maker and by giving violin lessons.  He was secretary of the “Association of Jewish Artists in Paris.”  In 1932 he wrote about art in Der tog (The day) in Paris (edited by Noah Pryłucki), and he also contributed to Dos fraye vort (The free word) in London (edited by Y. N. Shteynberg).  In March 1939 he edited Di fraye tribune (The free tribune) in Paris.  He died in the sanatorium of Ris-Orangis, near Paris.

          Bzhezhinski sculpture of Sascha Schapiro,
         fellow expatriate artist in Paris

Sources: H. Fenster, Undzere farpaynikte kinstler (Our suffering artists) (Paris, 1951); Borvin-Frenklen, in Der frayer gedank 7 (Paris, 1950); V. Vevyorke, in Parizer haynt (Paris) (January 6, 1940).


Born in Byelsk (Bielsk) in the Grodno district of Poland, at the age of four his father, Yitskhok-Arye, died.  He studied in religious elementary school as well as in yeshivas in Telshe (Telts) and Vilna.  He married in 1903 in Lodz and became an big businessman.  He was a member of the managing committee of the Jewish community and secretary of the Jewish Agency in Lodz.  In 1939 he escaped from the Nazis and came to Palestine, where he remained.  He was active in “Brit rishonim” (Covenant of the first ones [a veteran Zionist organization]) and chairman of the Association of Lodz Jews in Israel.  He published stories and articles in Hatsfira (The siren), Hamelits (The advocate), Baderekh (On the road), Haolam (The world), Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily newspaper, from 1910 until its last number in 1933), and Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper [impressions of a businessman]).  In more recent years, he has published articles concerned with socio-economic problems in Haarets (The land), Haboker (This morning), Hatsofe (The spectator) in Israel, and he published chapters in the five volumes that make up Monografye vegn lodzh (Monograph on Lodz).

Wednesday 17 December 2014



Born in Lodz into a family of retailers, he attended religious elementary school as well as a Talmud Torah.  He was a laborer, active in Poale-Tsiyon.  He was a leader in the Yiddish section of the Lodz library.  He was a member of the managing committee of the literary association in Lodz.  He began publishing (reportage and sketches) in Lodsher folksblat (Lodz people’s newspaper) in 1915, and he was a correspondent for Moment (Moment) and Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper), 1926-1939.  He wrote theater reviews and was one of the members of the editorial board (together with Moyshe Broderzon and Lazar Fuks) of Yidisher zhurnalist (Jewish journalist) in Lodz in 1919.  Among his pseudonyms: Ben-khanukh, A Sharftsingl, Teater-mensh.  Among his books: Milkhome-tsayt (Wartime), sketches and impressions (Lodz, 1917), 78 pp.; Zi shpilt vayter, pyese in dray aktn un fir bilder (She plays further, a play in three acts and four scenes) (Lodz, 1936), 77 pp.  He was the editor of Der takhshet (The brat), a weekly newspaper of humor (Lodz, 1925).  In 1939 he was in Bialystok; in 1940 he was in Vilna and later in the Vilna ghetto.  In November 1941 he was sent to Ponar and murdered there.

Tuesday 16 December 2014


     Born in Slonim, Grodno district, in 1931 she emigrated to the United States.  Her first publication came in 1936 with a poem in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor).  She also published poems in Eygns (Expressly), Tog (Day), and elsewhere.  Among her books: Mayne bleter, lider (My leaves, poems) (New York, 1950), 96 pp.; and Lider un opshatsungen (Poems and critiques) (Buenos Aires, 1959), 141 pp.  She received an award from Tog-morgn-zhurnal (Daily morning journal) in August 1954 and January 1955 for her poems in section entitled “Krumer shpigl” (Crooked mirror) in the newspaper.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 77.

Monday 15 December 2014


MIKHL (MIKHOEL) BURSHTIN (BURSZTYN) (July 17, 1897-late March 1945).
     Born in Bloyne (Błonie), near Warsaw, his father Yehude-Leyb was a scholar.  He attended religious elementary school, and at age thirteen he ran away from home.  He worked under difficult circumstances in a lumber yard.  He used his spare time for self-study and read a great deal.  In 1912 he arrived in Warsaw.  He passed the examinations to the eighth class in high school, graduated from a teacher’s course of study, and became a teacher of history and literature.  He devoted himself seriously to studying philosophy, psychology, and general literature.  In 1931 he published Iber di khurves fun ployne (Over the ruins of Ployne) (Warsaw), 222 pp. (second printing, Buenos Aires, 1949).  The publication of this first novel of his led to many warm responses.  The mature form of his maiden work received special mention.  In the few years that followed, in which he published three new novels, he took a steadfast position in Yiddish literature.  He published stories, longer and shorter, earlier in: Haynt (Today) and Moment (Moment) in Warsaw; Forverts (Forward), Tsukunft (Future), and anthologies edited by Opatoshu and Leivick in New York.  Following the invasion of Warsaw by the German army in 1939, he left for Bialystok which was occupied by the Red Army.  Soviet Yiddish writers sent there from Moscow afforded him a warm reception.  Yiddish and Russian newspapers published his short stories.  The outbreak of war between Russia and Germany (June 1941) trapped him in Kovno, and he was confined there with all the Jews in the Kovno ghetto.  Not losing his courage, he was among the first to call for an uprising against the Nazis.  Nor did he cease his artistic works.  He wrote Bloye tikhele (Blue kerchief)—plotline: a Jewish mother abandons her young daughter with a Lithuanian peasant woman in order to save the child from the Nazis.  He also wrote: Shvalbn (Swallow), Neshome-likht (Light of the soul), and Zelde fun kibart (Zelda from Kibart [Kybartai, Lithuania]), all concerned with the horrors of the ghetto.  He began to write a major novel, Di gele late (The yellow patch), a cross-section of Jewish life in Poland on the eve of the war.  At the beginning of the summer of 1944, he and two close friends attempted to make their escape.  The attempt failed.  Soon thereafter the liquidation of the Kovno ghetto took place.  Everything that he has written in his years in the ghetto was lost.  He was deported, without his wife and child, to Dachau.  In the last days of March 1945, in the Kaufering Concentration Camp No. 1, near Landsberg, a divisional camp of Dachau, he was killed (inmate no. 81688).  This is the established data that we have concerning Mikhl Burshtin’s end.  His widow, Rohkl Burshtin (Bursztyn), was living in Tel Aviv.
     He was one of the finest story-tellers in Yiddish literature between the two world wars; he had his own distinctive style, beginning with Iber di khurves fun ployne, cut short by Hitler.  He had already mourned—in Bay di taykhn fun mazovye (On the rivers of Mazovia) (Warsaw, 1937, 185 pp.; second printing, Moscow, 1941; third printing, Warsaw, 1951)—the fate of the Jews.  Other books include: Goyrl (Destiny) (Warsaw, 1936), 207 pp.; Broyt mit zalts (Bread with salt) (Warsaw, 1939), 284 pp.; and posthumously, his Bay di taykhn fun mazovye was republished in Sh. Rozhanski’s Erev khurbn (On the eve of the Holocaust) (Buenos Aires, 1970).

Sources: Shmuel Niger, Kidesh-hashem (Martyrs), a collection (New York, 1949), pp. 407-9; Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), an anthology (Lodz, 1946); Yoysef Gar, Umkum fun der yidisher kovne (Destruction of Jewish Kovno) (Munich, 1948), p. 379; Sh. Lastik, Mitn ponem tsum morgn (Facing tomorrow) (Warsaw, 1952), pp. 162-68; Y. Volf, Kritishe minyaturn (Critical miniatures) (Warsaw-Cracow, 1940); Melech Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon) (Montreal, 1945), pp. 40-47; Tint un feder (Ink and pen), letters from Mikhl Burshtin (Toronto, 1945); Y. Kharlash, in Foroys (Johannesburg) (February 1938, April 1939); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 9-10, 208; Rokhl Burshtin (Burshtin’s widow), in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) (no. 16, 1948); Y. Kaplan, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (May 21, 1948); and orally derived biographical information.

Sunday 14 December 2014


LIBE BURSHTIN (December 13, 1901-1940)
Born in Sokoły, in the Bialystok region, her first publication appeared in Dos naye lebn (The new life) in 1919 in Bialystok.  She emigrated to the United States in 1921, and lived in New York and Los Angeles.  She published poems, children’s stories, articles, sketches, and translations in: Di tsayt (The times), Tog (Day), Tageblat (Daily newspaper), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Amerikaner (American), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), Vort (Word), Yidisher arbayter (Jewish laborer), and Byalistoker shtime (Voice of Bialystok), among others.  She translated The Gardener (Y. Der gertner) by Rabindranath Tagore from English (Bialystok, 1921), 128 pp.  She died in New York.

Sources: Ezra Korman, Yidishe dikhterins, antologye (Yiddish women poets, an anthology) (Chicago, 1928); obituaries in Byalistoker shtime (New York) (June 1940) and Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 12, 1940).


SHAYE BURSHTIN (b. March 27, 1901)
Born in Warsaw, he attended religious elementary school, yeshiva, and a Hebrew high school.  In 1928 he emigrated to Argentina.  He was a contributor to the children’s sections of Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish news), Argentiner tog (Argentinian day), and Di prese (The press).  He published also in Spanish a collection of children’s stories.  He published as well in Amerikaner (American) and Moment (Moment) in Montevideo.

Source: Y. Hokhshteyn, Yedies far lateyn-amerike (News from Latin America) (1952).

Friday 12 December 2014



He lived in Bloyne (Błonie), near Warsaw.  In 1922 he published a short book of 49 pp. in Warsaw, entitled Der shoyfer hagule (The shofar of redemption), which was composed in verse form.  It called out to the Jewish state in Palestine and for aliya.  Further information about him is unknown.


KH. BURSHTIN (b. 1908)
Born in Tarnobrzeg, Galicia, he published poems in various literary outlets, among them Tsushteyer (Contribution), no. 2, in Lemberg, in which he published a poem entitled “Der vos khbin” (That which I am).  He died in the 1930s from tuberculosis.

Source: Dr. M. Naygreshl, in Tsukunft (December 1950).


SHLOYME BURSHTEYN (April 10, 1920-1943)
Born in Bialystok, his father was a laborer and a fervent socialist.  He graduated from the Groser-shul (attendance years: 1926-1933) and from the fourth class of the Jewish high school of Bialystok.  Due to difficult material conditions, he was compelled to interrupt his studies, and at age fourteen he took a job in his father’s show-making shop.  At age seventeen he began writing poetry.  His first poem about Romain Rolland was read aloud at a Rolland Academy by a graduate of his Jewish high school.  His first published poem appeared in Kinder-fraynd (Children’ friend) in Warsaw, his subsequent poetry in Undzer lebn (Our life) in Bialystok and in Inzl (Island) and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw.  He was confined in the Bialystok ghetto, and in the ghetto publications he published a large number of lyrical and satiric anti-Nazi poems.  In the lyrical poems, he expressed in poetic form the daily mood in the ghetto.  Especially popular was his Bashe-lea, a longer poem concerning the recent horrific conditions of life.  He was active in the underground movement in the Bialystok ghetto, and later spent a short time in the Lodz ghetto from which he was deported to the Bliżyn concentration camp where he was murdered in 1943.

Source: B. Mark, Der oyfshtand in byalistoker geto (The uprising in the Bialystok ghetto) (Warsaw, 1950), pp. 151-52.

Thursday 11 December 2014


     Born in Bentshin, Kielce district, Poland, until age twenty-two he lived in Kielce, later in Lodz and Warsaw.  In 1906 he departed for London, and in 1907 he was living in Paris.  He emigrated to the United States around 1909.  In 1911 he returned to Europe, only to return to America in 1913.  He was the author of books which he himself published and distributed: In gortn fun troym (In the garden of dreams) (New York, 1916), 40 pp.; Felzn klyangen (Boulders ring out) (New York, 1917), 49 pp.; Der turem fun bloer benkshaft (The tower of blue nostalgia) (New York, 1919), 31 pp.; Der spektakl fun di piramidn (The spectacle of the pyramids) (New York, 1922), 47 pp.; Alte mentshn vern yung (Old people become young), a theatrical piece in two acts (New York, 1929), 67 pp.; Oyf groyser velt (Into the great world) (New York, 1935), 112 pp.; Oyf di relsn fun idealn (Off the rails of ideas) (New York, 1936), 108 pp.; Der goldener triumf, eseyen, dertseylungen, dikhtungen (The golden triumph: essays, stories, poetry) (New York, 1939), 108 pp.; Durkh blits un volkns (Through lightning and clouds) (New York, 1943), 64 pp., second printing in 1944, 96 pp.; Der maskn-bol fun der fardorbnheyt (The masked ball of depravity) (New York, 1949), 96 pp.; Der himlisher oyfkum (The heavenly origin) (New York, 1959), 45 pp.  He was known by the ironical name of “poet emperor.”

Sources: Semuel Burshteyn, “Eynike oytobyografishe un oyto-biblyografishe punktn” (A few autobiographical and auto-bibliographical points,” in Oyf di relsn fun idealn (Buenos Aires, 1936); Moyshe Shtarkman, “Vegn bikher un mentshn” (Concerning books and people), Tog (New York) (April 20, 1943); P. Viernik, “Undzer filshprakhike literatur” (Our multilingual literature), Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 1, 1931).


He was a young writer from Poland.  He wrote poems for Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Warsaw and Lodz in the post-Holocaust years.

Source: Dos naye lebn (Warsaw) (1948), p. 81.


YERAKHMIEL BURSTEYN (b. September 14, 1888)

Born in Kovalivke (Kovalivka), Russia, he studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva.  In 1905 he emigrated to the United States.  He was active in the Jewish National Workers’ Alliance.  He began publishing in Yidishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia with humorous stories.  He contributed to Kinder-zhurnal (Children magazine), Kinder tsaytung (Children’s newspaper), and Nyu Yorker vokhnblat (New York weekly news), among others.  He published Der shikzal fun a folk (“The verdict of a nation”) [New York, 1920, 165 pp.] and Ven a froy shtaltsirt (When a woman takes pride), theatrical plays which were staged by an amateur troupe in Philadelphia.


BOREKH-TSVI BURSHTOK (November 4, 1901-February 5, 1926)
Born in the village of Sologubovke (Sologubovka), Ukraine, he studied in a secular secondary school.  In 1911 he arrived with his family in New York where his father had been living since 1905.  He published poems in Frayhayt (Freedom) (many of them children’s poems), Yugnt (Youth), Yung-kuznye (Young smithy), Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Kundes (Prankster), Di feder (The pen), as well as in Russian publications in New York.  He translated into Yiddish poems by David Burliuk, Pleshtsheyev, and Hafiz; and into Russian, poems by Z. Vaynper.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev, 1935).



He was an educator and author of textbooks for Jewish schools in the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s. He was one of the most qualified and popular scholars of natural science in Soviet Ukraine. After the formation of the Jewish Autonomous Region, he contributed to the terminological commission that was charged with coming up with names for the uniform botanical terms in Yiddish. Soon, however, most lexicographers were purged, and their work on terminology was discontinued.

He was the author of a botany textbook entitled Dos geviks un zayne nutsn (The plant and its uses) (Kiev, 1929), 193 pp. with illustrations.  His other work included: Arbetbukh af naturvisnshaft (Workbook for natural science) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1926), 2 parts, with G. Grinberg and others; Arbetbukh af naturvisnshaft un geografye (Workbook for natural science and geography) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1930), 264 pp., with G. Grinberg.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 74; 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), p. 43.]

Wednesday 10 December 2014


HERTS BURGIN (SHMUEL) (August-September 1870- November 4, 1949).
Born in Motol (Motal), Vilna region, after his bar mitzvah he studied with Rameyle’s circle in Vilna.  He later graduated from Tsunzer’s Russian Jewish school, and in 1892 from the Jewish Teachers’ Institute.  In 1897 he became a teacher in Riga and at the same time one of the pioneers of the local workers’ movement.  He began his literary activity as a correspondent for Voskhod (Sunrise) in Russian.  In 1899 a polytechnical institute came to Riga, and he was excluded from entering because of his participation in student unrest.  In 1903 he was sent for five years to eastern Siberia.  He escaped, from there abroad, however, and at the end of 1903 he arrived in New York, where he began to contribute to Aleksandrov’s Fraye shtunde (Free hour) with translations from Hebrew.  From 1906 he contributed, with occasional breaks, to Forverts (Forward) and Tsukunft (Future) until around 1925.  He wrote as well for other Yiddish magazines and for the local Russian press.  Simultaneously, he published correspondence pieces in Russian newspapers in Moscow and Odessa.  He edited socialist periodicals.  In 1913, at the invitation of a committee of the United Jewish Unions, which were then celebrating twenty-five years of their existence, he wrote Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbayter-bavegung in amerike, rusland un England (The history of the Jewish labor movement in America, Russia, and England) (New York, 1915), 935 pp.  He was a member of the national executive and education committee of the Workmen’s Circle, and he later became one of the leaders of the left wing of the Socialist Party.  Later still he entered the Communist Party and contributed numerous articles to Frayhayt (Freedom), later known as Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom).  He also contributed to Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York.  Among his pseudonyms: H. B-n, H. B., Ben-ester, S. Pevzner, A. Moloter, D. Molot, Sebezh, Imyarek, Yanka, and others.  In manuscript there is a new, complete text of his Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbayter-bavegung in amerike, rusland un England.  Other books by him include: Di trosts un zeyer badaytung (The trusts and their significance) (Philadelphia, 1909), 64 pp.; Lerbukh fun arifmetik (Arithmetic textbook) (New York, 1919), 317 pp.  Translation: Lenin, Arbeter un frayhayt (Workers and freedom), together with M. Osherovitsh (New York, 1919), 270 pp., second printing (1921).  He edited: Tsaygayst (Spirit of the times) (New York, 1906); Novyi mir (New World), in Russian (New York, 1911); the Communist weekly Der kamf (The struggle), together with F. Gelibter); Funken (Sparks), Proletarye (Proletariat), Emes (Truth), and Iskra (Spark, in Russian), all in New York, 1919-1921.

        Frontispiece of Burgin’s
          “History of the Jewish Labor Movement in America, Russia, and England”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog (November 15, 1934); Morgn-frayhayt (November 5, 1949); B. Y. Beylin, Morgn-frayhayt (November 5, 1949); Yidishe kultur (December 1949).



One of the most popular authors of Soviet Yiddish textbooks which appeared in numerous editions, he was a distinguished teacher, a founder of schools, and a lecturer in Ukraine.  In the latter half of the 1920s and first half of the 1930s, he was one of the leading figures in Ukraine in the field of Jewish school curricula. For a certain amount of time, he was an inspector in the Jewish section of the Ukrainian People’s Commissariat of Education (Folkombild), one of the editors of the pedagogical journal of Ratnbildung (Soviet education), a bimonthly periodical out of Kharkov (1928-1937) and organ of the Folkombild in Ukraine. He was a member of the editorial collective of the children’s magazine Oktyaberl (Little October) in Kiev (1930-1939), and of the periodical textbook for the third and fourth groups of the workers’ school “Yunge shlogler” (Young shock troops) in Kharkov (1931-1932), and of other pedagogical publications. He published numerous articles in the Yiddish press. His name disappeared with other purged Jewish cultural leaders, and from 1937 nothing of him was reported. His only son, Mark, an officer during WWII, died at Stalingrad.  The letter from the son at the front to his parents, who were evacuated to Alma Ata, was subsequently published in Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow.

Among his books: Far antireligyezer dertsiung (Toward anti-religious education) (Kharkov, 1928), 28 pp.; Oys religye (Out with religion), an anthology (compiled together with Avrom Vevyorke) (Moscow, 1929); Ershte trit (First step) (Kharkov, 1930), 124 pp.; Mir boyen (We’re building) (Kharkov, 1931); Tsum politekhnizm (Toward polytechnism) (Kharkov, 1931), 34 pp.; Sotsyalistisher gevet in der politekhnisher shul (Socialist bet on the polytechnical school) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 36 pp.; Oktyaberlekh (Little Octobers), a book to teach the alphabet for first-graders (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 168 pp.; Zay greyt, alefbeyz far der onfang-shul (Get ready, alphabet book for primary school) (Kharkov, 1932) and in 1936 the fourth, improved printing appeared; Leynbukh farn ershtn klas fun der onfang-shul (Reader for first grade of primary school) (Kiev-Kharkov, 1933), 108 pp. and in 1937 the fifth, improved edition appeared; Leyenbukh farn ershtn lernyor (Textbook for the first school year) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1933; subsequent editions, 1933-1936);

Sources: A. Hodes, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (July 4, 1946); E. Spivak, in Shtern 190 (Kharkov, 1933); S. Zhezmer, in Shtern 5 (1933); R. Fish, Shtern 267 (1933); Ratnbildung 5 (Kharkov, 1933).

[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. 42-43.]

Tuesday 9 December 2014


YOYSEF BURG (May 30, 1912-August 10, 2009)

            He was a prose author, born in the town of Vizshnits (Vyzhnytsya), Bukovina, Ukraine.  He studied in a public elementary school.  Over the years 1935-1938, he pursued Germanic studies at the University of Vienna.  He debuted in literature in 1934 with a novella entitled “Afn splav” (On the train of wood), in which he described Jewish foresters on the banks of the Czeremosz River. He worked as a teacher in Czernowitz and wrote stories in which he sang of the Carpathian Mountains, their heroic and mighty people, and the magnificent nature there. His lyrical prose was imbued with the romantic, original in language and style, and giving expression to images to be remembered. During WWII, he evacuated deep into Russia, in the Ural Mountains from 1941 to 1958.  Later, he returned to Czernowitz and resumed teaching and publishing stories and essays in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow, Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star), and in foreign newspapers and journals.  In addition, he wrote stories, novellas, and sketches for Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz pages), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw, Shoybn (Glass panes) in Bucharest, Di vokh (The week), Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw, and Naye prese (New press) in Paris. His writings have been translated into Russian, German, Ukrainian, English, Hungarian, Italian, and Hebrew. He acquired the title of a cultural leader in Ukraine and was awarded the Segal Prize (Israel, 1992) and the Shnaydman Prize (Sweden, 1997). There is a street named for him in the city of his birth, Vyzhnytsya. “Yoysef Burg is a wonderful describer,” wrote Lili Berger.  “His prose occupies high artistic heights.  At times it is poetry in prose form.”

Among his writings: Afn tsheremosh (On the Czeremosz [River]) (Bucharest, 1939), 67 pp.; Sam (Poison) (Czernowitz, 1940), 64 pp.; Dos lebn geyt vayter, dertseylungen, noveln, skitsn (Life goes on further: stories, novellas, sketches) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1980), 289 pp.; Der iberuf fun tsaytn (The roll-call of the times) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1983), 64 pp.; A farshpetikter ekho (A late echo), stories (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1990), 347 pp.; Tsvey veltn (Two worlds) (Tsvey veltn –Odessa: Mame-loshn, 1997), 140 pp. Also: Unter eyn dakh, yoysef burg yoyvl-bukh (Under one roof, Yoysef Burg jubilee volume), ed. Leponid Finkel’ (Czernowitz, 1992), 173 pp.

Sources: Foroys (Warsaw) (May 26, 1939); Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (June 29, 1939); Shloyme Bikl, in Romenye (Romania) (Buenos Aires, 1961); A. Roytman, in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) 10 (1964); Yulyan Shvarts, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (August 1, 1977); H. Remenik, in Sovetish heymland (Moscow) 3 (1978); M. Belenki, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (March 7, 1981); Y. Kara, in Naye prese (Paris) (April 25, 1981); Kh. Zeltser, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (July 1981); Elye Shulman, in Forverts (New York) (July 26, 1981); M. Margolin, in Sovetish heymland 11 (1981); Lili Berger, in Unzer vort (Paris) (December 12, 1981); Y. Urman, in Letste nayes (June 25, 1982); A. Kvaterko, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (August 28, 1982); Y. Rabin, in Folks-shtime (February 19, 1983); Sh. Shtern, in Morgn-frayhayt (January 15, 1984); B. Miler, Birebidzhaner shtern (March 17, 1985); Berger, in Kheshbn (Los Angeles) 99.

Most drawn from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 73-74; 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), p. 42.


Born in Kovel, Polish Volhynia, he graduated from a Hebrew high school.  Over the years 1928-1939, he was editor of the Zionist weekly, Di kovler shtime (The voice of Kovel).  He published as well under the pen name “B. Yikiri.”  He has passed away.

Source: Pinkes kovel (Records of Kovel) (Buenos Aires, 1951), pp. 252-77.


Born in Dvinsk (Daugavpils)—then, in Russia—into a scholarly family, he studied at a secular high school in Warsaw and for three years in the faculty of philosophy at the Zurich University in Switzerland.  He later emigrated to the United States.  He published poems in various outlets.  In the 1920s he lived in Mexico where he published: Di makhsheyfes, a fantastishe drame in 5 aktn (The witches, a fantasy in five acts) (Mexico, 1927), 60 pp.; Berlzon un shmerizon in meksike, a komedye in 1 akt (Berlzon and Shmerizon in Mexico, a comedy in one act) (Mexico, 1928), 22 pp.; Meyzl der shadkhn oder gekoylt on a meser, a tragi-komedye in 3 aktn (Meyzl the matchmaker or slaughtered without an knife, a tragicomedy in three acts) (Mexico, 1929), 43 pp.

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (August 1933); Y. Glants and M. Glikovski, in Yoyvl-oysgabe undzer veg (Jubilee publication of Undzer veg) (Mexico, January 1940).


Born in a village near Ostrów, Ukraine, he attended the Telshe (Telts, Telz) Yeshiva.  He left his village for Vilna to devote himself to acquiring a general education.  In 1898 he studied philosophy and natural science in Bern; in 1900 he was studying literature and political economy in Leipzig.  He graduated as well in Leipzig from a senior commercial school.  In 1914 he emigrated to the United States.  He studied statistics and sociology at Columbia University.  His maiden publication appeared in 1915 in Tog (Day).  He published in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor), Dos vort (The word), Minikes bleter (Minikes’s pages), and Morg-zhurnal (Morning journal).  He published articles on social, philosophical, and economic issues.  He also wrote novels and theatrical plays.  Among his books: Doktor rapoport (Dr. Rapoport) (New York, 1918), 235 pp.; General hershelman, a novele (General Hershelman, a novella) (New York, 1923; 2nd printing: Warsaw, 1927), 263 pp.; Di boymayster fun lebn, roman fun yidishn studentn-lebn in der shvayts (The architect of life, a novel of Jewish student life in Switzerland) (New York, 1926), 260 pp.; In shoym fun lebn, a zitn-geshikhte fun yidish-amerikaner lebn (In the froth of life, a tale of escapades in Jewish-American life) (Bayonne, N. J., 1931), 412 pp.  Among his plays: Di tsebrokhene geter (The broken gods), staged in 1914; Doktor rapoport, staged in 1915; Muter un froy (Mother and woman), staged in 1916.  He was living in New York.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1; P. Viernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 17, 1932), Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (January 1, 1932); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (January 8, 1932).

Monday 8 December 2014


PINYE BUKSHORN (1896-1937)
     Born in Lodz to well-to-do parents, he attended secular secondary schools.  He stood with the Zionist socialist party and published in the press poems and articles concerning political, national, and other issues.  In 1918 he became a member of the Communist Part in Poland, leader of the Jewish section, and co-editor (with Shakhne Koralski) of legal and illegal Yiddish publications of the Communist Party: Di royte fon (The red flag) and Tsum kamf (To the struggle), among others.  Among his pseudonyms: F. Yulski, Yulyan, B. P., and others.  He also published poems in the publications of the young poets group of Lodz: Gezangen alef (Songs A) (1919, ed. Hershele).  In 1921 he published a volume of poems with the Warsaw publisher “Lirik,” entitled Rozike vualn (Pink voiles), 48 pp.  The main impression one has in these poems is the motif of sorrow and death.  He translated the novel Alraune from the German original of H. H. Ewers, and for the Party’s press articles from Polish, Russian, and German.  As a covert messenger from the Polish Communist Party, he was in Russia on several occasions and for a certain period of time he was secretary of the Moscow Jewish proletarian writers group which gathered around the journal Shtrom (Current), 1922.  In 1937 he was shot in Russia as a “Polish spy.”

Sources: A. Abtshuk, Metodn un materyaln (Methods and materials) (Kharkov, 1934); A. Khrabalovski, in Tshenstokhover yidn (Częstochowa Jews) (New York, 1947); P. Mints (Minc), Di geshikhte fun a falsher iluzye (The history of a false illusion) (Buenos Aires, 1954).


NOSN BUKSBOYM (September 14, 1890-October 1944)
Born in Lemberg (Lvov), he graduated from a public high school and studied jurisprudence.  After being a student, he worked in the socialist movement.  From 1912 he was a member of Poale-Tsiyon.  Over the years 1915-1918, he was an officer in the Austrian army.  From 1919 he was a member and secretary of central committee of Poale-Tsiyon in eastern Galicia.  From 1921 he was living in Warsaw.  From 1929 to 1943, he was a member of the Warsaw city council and a member of Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization).  In 1931 he was sent by Tsisho, together with Yankev Pat, to the United States.  From 1924 he was a member of the central committee of the left Poale-Tsiyon in Poland.  He was editor of Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Der yidisher arbeter (The Jewish laborer), and Geverkshaft un arbeter-kultur (Union and workers’ culture); a member of the editorial board of Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) and of the Tsisho organ, Shul-vegn (School ways).  He was a member of the managing committee of the Jewish literary association in Warsaw.  From 1936, he was an executive member of national council of professional associations.  Over the years 1939-1942, he was in Lemberg, initially under the Soviet occupation, later under German occupation.  In the summer of 1942, he was sent by an underground organization to Warsaw and there we was killed.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. R. Fledshuh, Yidisher gezelshaftlekher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1939); M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 1.


MAKS BUKANSKI (1848-1903)
Born in Kovno, Lithuania, he studied in a religious elementary school until his bar-mitzvah.  He was introduced to Avrom Mapu who interested him in acquiring a worldly education.  From 1889 he was living in the United States.  He began publishing in Folks advokat (Advocate for the people), served as the principal contributor to Teglekher herald (Daily herald), and edited the daily newspaper Yidishe velt (Jewish world.  Among his books: A rayze oyfn grund fun yam, a visnshaftlekher roman (A trip to the bottom of the sea, a scientific novel) (New York, 1890) [a translation of Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea]; Der getoyfter yingl, oder rebe un pop (The baptized lad, or rebbe and dad) (Brooklyn, 1900), 192 pp.; Der meshumed (The apostate) (New York, 1901), 112 pp.; Di geshikhte fun kristentum oder der farmaskirter getsendinst (The history of Christianity or the disguised polytheism) (New York, 1901), 298 pp.; Goles shpanyen (Spanish diaspora) (New York, 1902), 93 pp.; Di moyradige teg (The dreadful days) (New York, 1890), 76 pp.; Di nekome fun a tokhter (The vengeance of a daughter), in ten booklets (New York, 1896), 1523 pp.; Don yitskhok abarbanel (Don Isaac Abarbanel) (New York, 1902), 90 pp.  He used the pseudonym: Ben-Porat.  In English he used the family name: Bukans.

Sources: Kalmen Marmor, Der onhoyb fun a yidisher literatur in amerike (The beginning of a Jewish literature in America) (New York, 1940); Elias Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Jewish literature in America) (New York, 1943); Joseph Chaikin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish leaves in America) (New York, 1946); Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1.

Sunday 7 December 2014


Born in Lodz, he was the younger son of the writer Khayim-Yitskhok Bunin.  He studied in secular high school and senior high school—and Jewish subject matter with his father.  He worked in the Lodz community and was for a time secretary in the local Jewish high school.  He published general political editorials and concerning Jewish issues in Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily news), 1927-1933.  He was in the Lodz ghetto where he was murdered.


KHAYIM-YITSKHOK (HAYYIM ISAAC) BUNIN (January 12, 1875-Summer 1942)
Born in Homel (Hamel, Gomel) into a family of Chabad Hassids, he studied in religious elementary and high schools.  He married young, and for a time worked as a merchant and a ritual slaughterer.  In 1906 he received rabbinical ordination, but he did not receive a pulpit as a rabbi.  He prepared himself to become a “stock” rabbi, and as an auditor graduated from a Russian high school.  For a long time he worked as a teacher of Russian in Kiev, Vilna, and Homel.  In 1910 he was living in Warsaw.  From 1916 until WWII broke out in 1939, he worked as a teacher in a Jewish high school in Lodz.  When the Nazis seized Lodz, he escaped to Warsaw.  He began publishing in Hebrew with an essay entitled “Hachasidut hachabad” (Chabad Hassidism) in Hashiloach (The shiloah) in 1912/1913.  On the same topic, he published several articles in Haolam (The world) (1914-1915) and Hatsfira (The siren) (Warsaw, 1915).  At this time, he began to publish in Yiddish, and he published a fictional work entitled “Moyshke vilenker” in Dos naye lebn (The new life) (Warsaw, 1914), as well as a series of articles, “Di poylishe khsidim un khabad” (Polish Hassids and Chabad), in Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people) (Warsaw, 1914, edited by Yitskhok Grinberg).  He was a contributor to Lodzher tageblat (Lodz daily news) and Nayer folksblat (New people’s news)—in Lodz; and articles and fictional pieces in Hatsfira, Hamizrachi (The easterner), Haivri (The Jew), and Hatoren (The mast), among others.  He worked as editor of Shear-yashuv (Remnants of the settlement), which appeared periodically from 1921 to 1939, in Hebrew in which he published his religious-ethical writings.  Among his books: Limude hayahadut (Topics in Judaism) (Lodz, 1914), 127 pp.; Di drite aliye (The third aliya) (Warsaw, 1921); Di entplekung fun groysn shotn (The imposing, great shadow) (Warsaw, 1928), 83 pp.; Mishnat chabad (Teachings of Chabad) (Warsaw, 1932), 87 pp.; Khabadish, vol. 1: geshtaltn, bilder, khazones, dertseylungen, shmuesn (The way of Chabad, vol. 1: Images, sights, cantorship, stories, conversations) (Lodz, 1938), 80 pp.  He was in the Warsaw Ghetto at the time of the deportations during the summer of 1942 in which he died.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; Dr. A. Coralnik, Shriftn (Writings) (New York, 1938), vol. 2, pp. 170-77; Dr. Sh. Pietrushke, in Keneder odler (May 27, 1947); Sh. Berholts, in Der poylisher yid (New York) (April 1944), p. 16; Ber Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954).

Khayim-Leyb Fuks

Thursday 4 December 2014


ZUSMAN BUNIN (BUNYAN) (b. June 13, 1890)
     Born in Mena, Chernigov (Chernihiv) region, he studied until age twelve in religious elementary school.  He became a musician and later a carpenter.  He emigrated to the United States in 1911.  He first published in Kundes (Prankster) in 1915—two poems.  He published in Mayrev (West), Baym pasifik (By the Pacific), Literarishe heftn (Literary notebooks), and in Lider-zamlung (Song collection) of the musician, Yankev Vaynshtok.  Books: Gezang fun mayne teg (Songs of my life) (Los Angeles, 1950), 159 pp.; Fun friling biz harbst (From spring until autumn) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1965), 299 pp.  He was also the director of the local Jewish middle school.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 73.


OZER BUMAZHNI (1885-May 20, 1963)
     He used the pen name: R. Ozerl.  He was born in Yuzefpol’, Podolia.  In 1905 he organized a self-defense apparatus in his town.  From 1912 he was living in Argentina.  At first he was a compositor, later a cofounder and administrator of Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires.  In 1952 he founded the “Ozer Bumazhni Fund” for literature and journalism.  He wrote feature pieces and translated from Russian into Yiddish stories for: Yudish (Yiddish), Argentinishes vokhnblat (Argintine weekly news), Tog (Day), and Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish news)—all in Buenos Aires.  He died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Y. Botoshanski, in Argentina, an anthology (1938), pp. 68, 70, 72; Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentina (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 100; F. Lerner, in Di prese (January 19, 1955); Moris Rozenfelds briv (Buenos Aires, 1955), p. 3.


AVROM BULKIN (ABRAHAM BUŁKIN) (October 31, 1894-1941)
He was born in Vilna, attended religious elementary school through age twelve, and later studied at a Russian public school.  He graduated from the Vilna Teachers’ Institute in 1915 and worked as a teacher in a state primary school.  During the period of the German occupation (1916) of Vilna, when the Society for Child Care founded the Jewish model school for girls (later, the Shimen Frug School), Bulkin became a teacher there of natural science and geography, and he remained a teacher in the lay Jewish schools in Vilna until the end of his life.  In 1930 he became the director of the large Mefitse haskalah [Society for the promotion of enlightenment (among the Jews of Russia)] School in Vilna, and he led the school until it was destroyed at the time of the Nazi invasion.  He wrote a great deal about pedagogical matters.  He published in the local daily Yiddish press as well as in school publications: Di naye shul (The new school), Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees), and Khaver (Friend)—all under his own name as well as under the pseudonyms: A. Yitskhoki, Avromele, and A. B-n.  He also occupied himself a great deal with children’s dramas and wrote booklets on the subject, which were frequently republished.  Bulkin composed the following schoolbooks: an anthology for Erstn yortsayt nokh Y. L. Perets (The first anniversary following the death of Y. L. Perets), for nursery schools (1916); Zamlbukh fun kinder-lider un shpiln mit gezang (Collection of children’s poems and games with songs) (written with L. Efron) (Vilna, 1917); Vi azoy organizirt men a shpil-plats? (How does one organize a play space?), for the association, Aze [a health-home] (Vilna, 1920); Ruike shpiln (Quiet games) (Vilna, 1921), 64 pp.; Tomas Edison, zayn lebn un Zayne optuen (Thomas Edison, his life and his pranks) (Vilna, 1922), 47 pp.; Fun noent un vayt (From near and far), a geography reader (written with Sh. Hurvits-Zalkem) (Vilna, 1923), 160 pp.; Fizikalishe geografye fun poyln (Physical geography of Poland) (Vilna, 1928), 129 pp.; and he translated into Yiddish Aeroplan (Airplane) by Artur Fürst (Warsaw, 1929), 109 pp.  Bulkin was in Vilna at the time of the Nazi invasion of the city.  He was taken away and shot in the summer of 1941 in Ponar, the mass murder site behind Vilna.  His wife Ester Bulkin was deported to Majdanek.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; H. Abramovitsh, in Lerer yisker-bukh (Remembrance volume for teachers) (New York, 1954-1955), pp. 37-38; Z. Zilbertsvayg, Teater-leksikon, vol. 1; A. Golomb, in Bikher velt (Warsaw) (May 1928); Sh. Katsheginski (Szmerke Kaczerginski), Khurbn vilne (The destruction of Vilna) (New York, 1947).

Wednesday 3 December 2014


MIKHL BULIN (1896-1941)

Born in Pinsk, he attended religious elementary school.  He was occupied with various trades, a Zionist leader and editor of the weekly, Pinsker shtime (Voice of Pinsk), 1925-1939, which he filled with articles and local news entirely by himself.  In January 1940 the Soviet regime sent him to a camp in the Komi Soviet Socialist Republic, where he died.


He was the editor and publisher of the first Yiddish newspaper in the New World.  He likely hailed from Poland or Galicia.  The only source we have for his biography is a letter he wrote, dated September 28, 1894.  In it he writes, inter alia: “I’ve also never once tried nor have I anything to show for my toils.  I have lost my possessions and wasted my time, and futilely have I over the course of thirty years suffered in Germany, France, England, and in this very land as well.”  Bukhner probably came to the United States in the 1870s.  The first issue of Di yidishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper), “published and edited by Y. K. Bukhner,” appeared in New York on March 1, 1870.  Inasmuch as not there was no Yiddish compositing in New York at the time, his newspaper was lithographed, four pages, in folio format.  Publication was, apparently, subsidized by the Democratic ringleaders of Tammany Hall in New York.  In its first issues, Di yidishe tsaytung were presented as a weekly, later—as can be seen from a printed copy which has been preserved—it was designated as a monthly.  In truth, Di yidishe tsaytung appeared for the most part only the evening before local or general elections.  In his Folks-kalendar (People’s calendar) for the year 1900, A. Harkavy first noted Di yidishe tsaytung and provided a photograph of its first page.  In the library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, there is a printed copy of issue no. 12 (165), dated October 31, 1873.  Subsequent numbers remain unknown.  The language of Bukhner’s newspaper was stiff with many calque translations.  Aside from political election propaganda, Bukhner also seems to have aimed at spreading Enlightenment ideas among Jews in New York.  The general contents and advertisement section of the newspaper—so far as one can tell from the few issues that have been examined—are not terribly important for the cultural historian of Jewish immigration.
In the Yiddish section of the New York Public Library, there is a printed copy of Telefon (Telephone), a second publication that Bukhner edited.  Telefon was published in miniature format, dated January 1898.  Its subtitle reads: “A Monthly Periodical for Tolerant Israelites.”  The text comes entirely from Bukhner.  More than a single issue of this “periodical” appears not to have been forthcoming.
In 1880s Bukhner tried to found an aid society for Jewish tradesmen, and in general he carried around with himself ideas for improving the social condition of Jewish immigrants at the time.  For a time he held the top leadership position in the “Hebrew Institute” and was a leader of the managing committee of a Talmud Torah.  In the 1890s, he had a publishing house in New York on Norfolk Street.  The last years of his life, he spent in Green Point, Long Island.  Information about his death is unknown.

Sources: E. R. Malachi, in Zaml-bukh tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher prese in amerike (Anthology, toward a history of the Yiddish press in America), ed. Y. Shatski (New York, 1934), pp. 13-15; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (January 1940); Y. Khaykin, in Yorbukh (Annual) (1945); Geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter bavegung in di fareynikte shtatn (History of the Jewish labor movement in the United States), vol. 2 (New York: YIVO, 1945).

B. Tshubinski

Tuesday 2 December 2014


     Born in Ostre, Volhynia, he graduated from public high school and studied in Montpelier, France.  He was an emissary for Dr. Herzl to Russia to organize there the preparations for the First Zionist Congress.  He was the founder of the democratic faction in Zionism.  He was delegated as an agronomist, 1906-1908, through the Odessa committee to Palestine to investigate the possibilities for colonization.  He was member of the Russian Zionist Merkaz.  In 1908, together with his wife, he founded “Shiloh” (Shuvah yisrael laarets haavot = Peace in Israel to the land of our fathers).  From 1923, he was living in Palestine.  He published writings in Yiddish, Russian, and French concerning ideas about the Jewish renaissance; in Yiddish: A briv tsum yidishn folk (A letter to the Jewish people) (Warsaw, 1926), 51 pp.; Di yidishe oyflebung (The Jewish revival) (1926); and Di problemen fun der yidisher oyflebung (Problems facing the Jewish revival) (1936); among others.  He died in Russia in the course of a trip on behalf of “Shiloh.”  He died in Jerusalem.

Source: Tsienistisher leksikon (Zionist handbook), vol. 1, section 8 (Warsaw, 1937), pp. 457-58.



Historian and writer on current events, he was born in Odessa. He was raised in an orphanage and later worked on the agricultural farm at the orphanage.  He later worked in a dispensary, in the Odessa city hall, and for a bookbinder in Odessa and Kharkov. He was an auditing student in St. Petersburg and later graduated there from the Herzen Pedagogical Institute and the Institute for Higher Jewish Studies. He debuted in print in the Russian press in 1910, publishing stories and articles. Over the years 1913-1915, he worked as secretary for a Russian newspaper in Simferopol. After the October Revolution, he was one of the first to work for the Commissariat for Jewish Affairs, as an administrator in the division of culture and education. He contributed to editing the first Soviet Yiddish anthologies, dedicated to issues of education and culture. From 1918 he was a member of the editorial board of the first Yiddish-language Bolshevik newspapers in Moscow, Di vorheyt (Reality) and Der emes (The truth), and he went on to edit a string of other Yiddish and Russian newspapers, weeklies, magazines, and anthologies, such as: Di fraye shtime (The free voice), organ of the St. Petersburg Committee for Jewish Affairs (initial issues in 1918, edited with Zerakh Grinberg and Sholem Rapoport); Kultur-fragen (Culture issues), an anthology (St. Petersburg, 1918, edited with Zerakh Grinberg and Shimen Dimantshteyn); Yevreyskaya tribuna (Jewish tribune), Di fray velt (The free world), and Vokhnbleter (Weeklies) (Minsk, 1919, edited with Zerakh Grinberg); Di komunistishe shtime (The Communist voice), a daily newspaper (Minsk, 1919); and Di velt (The world), a magazine (Petersburg, 1920).  He later devoted his attention primarily to the history of the Jewish labor movement, concerning which he also published treatises in such history journals as: Yevreyskaya starina (The Jewish past), Proletarskaya revolutsiya (Proletarian revolution), and Krasnaya letopis’ (Red annals), among others.  He initiated for scholarly use a significant complex of materials concerning the history of the Jewish labor movement that he disclosed from the archives of the Tsarist Ministry of Internal Affairs. In Leningrad in 1925, he published his Istoriya yevreyskogo rabochego dvizheniya v Rossii po neizdannym arkhivnym (History of the Jewish labor movement in Russia, according to unpublished archives), encompassing the period from the 1870s through 1917—translated into Yiddish by Dovid Roykhel (Vilna, 1931), 440 pp., as: Di geshikhte fun der yidisher arbeter-bavegung in rusland, loyt nit-gedrukte arkhiṿ-materyaln. He assembled a biographical dictionary of Jewish revolutionaries in Russia. He was harshly criticized in the 1920s for his “incorrect position regarding Lenin’s stance on the Jewish question.” He was a contributor in the early 1930s to the Leningrad division of Institute of Party History and the council of trade unions. In the late 1930s, he was a teacher in the Karelia-Finnish Pedagogical Institute (Petrozavodsk). His subsequent fate remains unknown.

He wrote a booklet about Lev Osipovich Levanda—L. O. Levanda po neizdannym arkhivnym materialam (L. O. Levanda according to unpublished archival materials (Petrograd, 1918)—and a series of brochures, such as: Di ratn-makht un di natsyonale fragn (The Soviet regime and the national question) (1918); Di oktyabr-revolutsye un di yidishe arbeter-masn (The October Revolution and the Jewish laboring masses) (St. Petersburg: Commissariat for Jewish Affairs, 1918), 8 pp., second printing (1919), 14 pp.; and A yor proletarishe diktatur un di oyfgabn fun di yidishe komunistn (A year of the proletarian dictatorship and the tasks for Jewish Communists) (1919); among others. 

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1; S-T, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia), vol. 5 (New York, 1944); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Der veker (April 10, 1926).

[Addition information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 72; 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), p. 41.]

Monday 1 December 2014



He was a poet, born in Chernigov (Chernihiv), Ukraine, into a poor family. His father worked as a wheelwright. After graduating from a seven-year school (at age sixteen), he left his hometown and came to Zhitomir (Zhytomyr) to work in a shoe factory. He later studied at the Odessa Jewish Pedagogical Technikum, graduating in 1929, and then becoming a teacher in one of the Jewish schools in Kamenets-Podolsky (Kam"yanets'-Podil's'kyy). He was drafted in 1930 into the army where he served until 1934. From 1936 he worked as a literary translator for the Kiev newspaper Der shtern (The star). During WWII he living in Bashkiria (Bashkortoshan), and later returned to Kiev. He debuted in print in 1927 in the serial Di royte velt (The red world) in Kharkov with a cycle of poems entitled “In vald far a yeger” (A hunter in the forest). Two years later, when he published the poem “Ataman bozhenko” (Ataman Bozhenko), the editor of Di royte velt, Shakhne Epshteyn, wrote that “a distinctive poet has emerged in Soviet Yiddish poetry.” His lyrical poetry was tied to the contemporary world, to the principal manifestations of Jewish life in Ukraine, to the construction process in the shtetl, and to the difficult problems of an arduous reality. He was arrested in 1951 and accused of Jewish nationalism and Zionism, and sentenced to ten years in prison and labor camps. He returned home in 1956 and continued his creative work. The Ukrainian poet Maksym Rylsky published in 1946 Bukhbinder’s great cycle of poems in Ukrainian translation—among them the poem “Bay dem topol” (By the poplar). In the 1960s through 1980s, he published his poetry in the journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) and in foreign Yiddish publications, with principally lyrical-philosophical and ethnic motifs. He died in Kiev.

In addition to Maksym Rylsky, his poems were also translated into Ukrainian by Volodymyr Sosyura and Mark Zisman.  Among his books: Lirishe motivn (Lyrical motifs) (Kiev, 1940), 117 pp.; Komandir sizov (Commander Syzov) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1936), 76 pp.; Mit likhtike oygn, lider (With bright eyes, poems) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1975), 160 pp.; Noente vaytn (Proximate distant) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1983), 134 pp. Also, a poetry cycle of his appeared in the journal Horizontn (Horizons) (Moscow, 1965). 

Sources: Abrom Avtshuk, Etyudn un materialn tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur bavegung in FSRR (Studies and material for the history of the Yiddish literature movement in the Soviet Union) (Kharkov, 1934), p. 263; Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 1, 1947); Biblyografisher arkhiv fun der yidisher sovetisher literatur (Bibliographic archive of Soviet Yiddish literature), YIVO (New York).

[Addition information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 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. 40-41.]

[1] According to Horizontn, fun der haynttsaytiker sovetisher yidisher dikhtung (Horizons, from contemporary Soviet Yiddish poetry) (Moscow, 1965), his birth date should be 1909.