Sunday 1 March 2015


MOYSHE BELENKI (1910-1995)

He was a Soviet scholar of literature and a teacher, born in the town of Dubrovne (Dubrovno), Byelorussia, into the home of a poor family with nine children. At age fourteen, he began working in the town’s public library. In 1927 he graduated from the local Jewish secondary school and proceeded to enter the Jewish Pedagogical Technichum in Minsk. He soon moved to Moscow to study in the Jewish division of the Second Moscow University, from which he graduated in 1932, at which point he became a teacher of philosophy and director of the Theater Studio of the Yiddish State Theater in Moscow. At the same time, he was working as an editor in the publishing house of Der emes (The truth). His first book, Akoste, shpinoze, maymon (Acosta, Spinoza, Maimon), was published in 1941 (Moscow: Der emes), 99 pp., having earlier written about Spinoza in Afn visnshaftlekhn front (On the scientific front).  During WWII, he was a member of the historical commission of the Anti-Fascist Committee in Moscow.  He was arrested in 1949, accused of Jewish bourgeois nationalism, and sentenced to ten years in prison. He was rehabilitated in 1954 and continued his creative work: writing books, engaging in scholarly and literary activities, and translating into Russian the writings by Sholem-Aleichem and Y. L. Perets and stories by Soviet Yiddish authors. In 1967 he defended his dissertation on the topic of “the ideology of Judaism” and received the title of candidate in philosophical sciences. In the late 1970s, he left for Israel where he died.

Among his other books: Di tragedye fun uriel akosta (The tragedy of Uriel Acosta) (Moscow, 1968); Der fraydenker akosta (The freethinker Acosta) (Moscow: Misl, 1984).  

Sources: M. Razumni, “Dort, vu s’vert dertsoygn der yidisher aktyor” (There, where the Yiddish actor will be raised), Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 11, 1946); K. Nelson, “A bukh vegn shpinozen” (A book about Spinoza), Eynikeyt (May 11, 1946).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 97; 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. 49-50.]


  1. MOYSHE BELENKI wrote an essay about Der Nister A vort vegn Dem Nister (A word about Der Nister) as an introduction to Der Nister's collection of stories Vidervuks: dertseylungen, noveln (Regrowth, stories, novellas).- Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1969), 262 pp.[2]
    א װארט װעגן דעם ניסטער
    מ. בעלענקי

  2. MOYSHE BELENKI wrote an essay Der Nister un zayn roman "Di mishpokhe Mashber" (Der Nister and his roman The family Mashber) as an introduction to Der Nister's "Di mishpokhe Mashber" .- Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1974.- 598, [2] pp., il. portr.
    דער ניסטער און זײן ראמאן די מישפאכע מאשבער
    מ. בעלענקי

  3. MOYSHE BELENKI wrote an essay Der Nister - mentsh un shrayber (Der Nister - [a] man and writer) as an introduction to Der Nister's "Di mishpokhe Mashber" .- Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1985.- 629, [3] pp., [1] portr., il.
    דער ניסטער - מענטש און שרײבער
    מ. בעלענקי