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.
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