Thursday, 31 December 2015
Sunday, 20 December 2015
Friday, 18 December 2015
She was a teacher who lived and worked in Minsk and who wrote textbooks for children and for the Jewish school. She was the author of Freyd, helf-bukh farn ershtn lernyor (Joy, aid book for the first school year), with T. Bensman (Minsk: Melukhe farlag, 1927), 207 pp.; A mayse mit dray tsigelekh (A story with three goats), with T. Bensman (Minsk: Melukhe farlag, 1929), 18 pp.; Murze un andere mayselekh (Murza and other stories) (Minsk: Melukhe farlag, 1929), 24 pp., second edition as Shneyers un andere mayselekh (Old Man Winter and other stories) (Moscow, 1929); Ershte trit, freyd (First step, joy) (Minsk: Tsentrfarlag, 1930), 192 pp., second edition (Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk, 1931), part 2 (Minsk, 1932).
[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), p. 25.]
KHAYIM HOLMSHTOK (1882-1942)
He was a linguist, current events writer, and translator, the younger brother of the writer Fayvl Holmshtok, born in Minsk, Byelorussia. From 1916 to 1918, he lived in the United States. He was active in the “Workers’ University” at the Sholem-Aleichem Folk Institute in New York, and he translated a number of books from Russian into Yiddish. He returned to Soviet Russia in 1918, lived in Minsk, worked as a teacher, and took up scholarly work in the field of linguistics. Like the majority of Soviet linguists, he contributed to producing the so-called “Marxist conception” in the field of language research. Together with M. Mishkovski, Shloyme Rives, and students from the Minsk Jewish Pedagogical Technicum, where he worked as a language and literature teacher, he assembled an instructional reader (which was later reprinted several times). He also concerned himself with translations—among others, works by Marx and Engels and F. Seniushkin, see below. He led the commission charged with creating a major academic Yiddish explanatory dictionary. At the Yiddish language conference held in Kiev in May 1934, he gave a presentation on this dictionary. In 1935 there was published in Minsk the first trial volume of this dictionary under his editorship. He published an article in the Kiev journal Afn shprakhfront (On the language front) on dialectology, lexicology, and etymology. After this, as Birobidzhan was declared to be a Jewish autonomous district, he accepted an invitation from the regional leaders and moved from Minsk to Birobidzhan. He was particularly interested in producing a uniform Yiddish for students who came there from various and sundry dialectological environments. In 1936 he began in Birobidzhan preparation of a national-wide language conference. He was appointed chairman of the scholarly commission of the regional executive committee. In the daily schedule for the planned conference, his presentation, “On the unification of Yiddish dialects,” was approved. A number of his ideas in this area are summarized in his essay, “Uniformatsye fun di yidishe dialektn” (On the unification of Yiddish dialects) which was published in Forpost (Outpost) 1 (1937). The language conference, however, was disallowed, and Holmshtok was arrested. His subsequent fate remains unknown. According to no precise information, he was said to have died during exile in 1942.
He wrote about pedagogy and linguistic matters in various Soviet Yiddish publications, such as: Yunger pyoner (Young pioneer) in Minsk (April 2, 1927). He was the editor of Lingvistishe zamlung 1 (Linguistics collection 1), with style-editor Moyshe Kulbak (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1933), 93 pp.; and Oktyaber-kinder (October children), with L. Mishkovski and Shloyme Rives (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1926), 100 pp., a textbook for Jewish schools. He also translated: Dos kinstlerishe shafn (The artistic works) by D. Nikolaevich [Ovsianiko-Kulikovskii] (New York: Di heym, 1919), 52 pp.; Politishe ekonomye (Political economy [original: Kurs politicheskoi ekonomii]) by Aleksandr Bogdanov (New York, 1920), vol. 1, 244 pp., vol. 2, 551 pp.; Shtat-visnshaft (State science [original: Ocherki nauki o gosudarstvie]) by V. I. Dunaev and A. A. Nikitskii (New York: Di heym, 1920), 300 pp. (edited by Dr. Yitskhok-Ayzik Hurvits); Komunistisher manifest (Communist manifesto) by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1924), 181 pp., republished in Warsaw (Kultur, 1931 and 1932); Di arbet fun di fabrikn un zavod-komitetn ba di badingungen fun itstiker tsayt (The work of factories and plant committees under contemporary conditions [original: Rabota fabrichno-zavodskikh komitetov v sovremennykh usloviiakh]) by F. Seniushkin (Minsk, 1926), 120 pp. He also contributed work to Afn shprakhfront (On the language front), in which (no. 3-4) he published a work entitled: “Vegn dem yidishn oystaytsh-verterbukh” (On the Yiddish explanatory dictionary). He was editor of Yidisher verterbukh (Yiddish dictionary), trial volume (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1935), xii and 26 pp., and he wrote the preface to it.
Sources: M. Gurevitsh, in Emes (Moscow) 283 (1935); Y. M. Budish, Almanakh in dinst fun folk (Almanac in service to the people) (New York, 1947), p. 382.
[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. 108-9.]
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Wednesday, 16 December 2015
OYZER HOLDES (HOLDESHEYM) (1900-1966)
He was a literary researcher and playwright, born in Kishenev, into a family of a watchmaker. He spent his childhood and youth in Berdichev, where he studied in and a regular Jewish school, later graduating from a Russian high school. He belonged to the first post-October group of Yiddish writers. From 1919 he was working as a teacher in Berdichev, Kiev, and Kharkov. He was a student in the philology department at the Second Moscow University [now, Moscow State Pedagogical University]. For a certain period of time (1933-1937), he worked for the monthly journal Farmest (Competition), in which he placed critical articles and had charge of the section “Litkonsultatsye” (Literary consultation). He was a member of the editorial board (1934-1937) of the Kharkov pedagogical journal Ratnbildung (Soviet education) and of the monthly journal Yunger shlogler (Young shock worker) (1931-1932). He contributed to the journals Di royte velt (The red world) in Kharkov and Shtern (Star) in Minsk, and to the Kharkov newspapers Der shtern (The star), Yunge gvardye (Young guard), and Zay greyt (Be prepared). Over the period 1935-1936, he was a scholarly associate of the Institute for Jewish Culture in Kiev and the author of literature textbooks for Jewish schools. During WWII he lived in the city of Orenburg in the Ural Mountains and worked as a journalist for the Southern Ural Military Circle. He returned to Kharkov after the war and there continued his literary activities. He was purged in the late 1940s and exiled to a northern camp, and from there he returned after being rehabilitated in 1955. From 1961 he was publishing articles in Sovetsh heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow.
Holdes, however, was not only a literary critic and researcher; he also assembled and adapted Jewish folklore. His Mayses, vitsn un shpitslekh fun hershl ostropolyer (Tales, jokes, and pranks of Hershl Ostropolyer) appeared in 1941, published by Kiev’s Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities. How he came to the idea of publishing such a work as this, he explained in the foreword: “Working in a school as a teacher of literature, I began to jot down from the children’s mouths the tales of Hershl Ostropolyer, and later I complemented these tales with what I remembered myself from childhood and what I gathered in my family and among acquaintances and in Berdichev.” While working in Kharkov, through his editing of the children’s newspaper Zay greyt, he turned to his pupils and readers asking them to send him folktales that they knew or had heard. Hundreds of letters arrived with stories. The majority of them were differing variations of the wisdom of Hershl Ostropolyer. To verify and adapt this material, he made a trip through the towns of Podolia, visited Derazhne, Khmil'nyk, and especially Medzhibozh where Hershl Ostropolyer lived and where they even preserved his grave. Holdes also took up playwriting, and his drama Moyshe lang (Moyshe Lang)—see below—was staged on the eve of WWII by the Kiev Yiddish State Theater. In 1948, the Kharkov Russian Theater produced his play Andere mentshn (Other people). He died in Kharkov.
Among his writings: Hantbukh far yidisher literatur (Handbook for Yiddish literature) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), 320 pp., with Fume Shames; Arbetbukh af shprakh un literatur far der 7-ter grupe fun der arbeṭshul (Workbook for language and literature for the seventh group in the workers’ school) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), 179 pp., with Yitskhok Rodak, Khayim Loytsker, M. Gelman, and F. Shames; editor and author of the foreword to Sholem-Aleichem’s Dos meserl (The penknife) (Kharkov, 1934); Literarishe khrestomatye farn 7tn lernyor der politekhnisher shul (Literary reader for the seventh school year at the polytechnic school), with F. Shames (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 327 pp.; “Oysher shvartsman biografye” (Biography of Oysher Shvartsman), in the Oysher Shvartsman, Lider un briv (Poems and letters) (Kiev: Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 1935); Literatur-lernbukh farn 7tn klas (Literature textbook for the seventh class) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 121 pp.; Moyshe lang, pyese in 4 aktn (Moyshe Lang, a play in four acts), published in the anthology Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature) (Kiev, August 1939); Mayses, vitsn un shpitslekh fun hershl ostropolyer, as retold by Holdes with a critical biographical preface (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1941), 199 pp., the second edition (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1960), 210 pp. His work was also included in: Almanakh, fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac, from Soviet Jewish writers to the all-Soviet conference of writers) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934). He translated into Yiddish: Anton Chekhov’s Shlofn vilt zikh (Let me sleep [original: Spat’ khochetsya]) (Kharkov: State Publ., 1935), 31 pp.; and Maxim Gorky’s Danko, a maysele (Danko, a short story) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 14 pp. He prepared for publication Sholem Aleykhem’s Blondzhende shtern (Wandering stars), with a literary critical preface, background history, and selection of variants (Kiev, 1936). He also adapted in Yiddish a volume by L. Mayakovskaya, Mayakovskis kindheyt un yugnt (Mayakovsky’s childhood and youth) (Kiev, 1937).
Sources: A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 2, 1946; December 23, 1947); N. Meyzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 206; 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. 107-8.]
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
SAMUYIL (SHMUEL) EYDLIN (1914-1986)
He was poet, born in a Ukrainian shtetl, and in the years of WWI, he moved with his family to Kharkov. He studied there in school, later in an institute from which he did not graduate before going to work. While still in school, he wrote poetry, initially in Russian and later in Yiddish. In the latter half of the 1920s and first half of the 1930s, he placed his work in the Kharkov newspapers: Zay greyt (Be ready!) and Der shtern (The star); later in various journals as well. He was invited to join the editorial board of the newspaper Yunge gvardye (Young guard), where he worked until 1936 at which point the newspaper was shut down. At the beginning of WWII, he volunteered to go to the front. During the war, he began writing in Russian, and his poems appeared in the divisional and army newspapers.
At the end of 1945, he settled in the city of Kuibyshev (Samara); he worked there editing the local Russian newspaper, composing poetry in Russian, and bring out several collections of his poems. He contributed to the anthology Litkomyug (Literary Communist youth) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1933). He was the author of In der shenster fun medines (In the best of countries), poetry (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1939), 100 pp.
[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), p. 17.]