Wednesday 22 April 2015


HIRSH BRIL (1901-late May 1938)

            He was a Soviet Jewish writer, born in Białystok, Poland. He was a textile worker. In the first half of the 1920s, he came to the Soviet Union and settled in Minsk. There he graduated from the Jewish Pedagogical Technicum, later moving to Moscow where he studied at the Communist University of National Minorities of the West (“Mayrevke”). After completing his course of study, he became one of the leaders of Central Youth Organization, secretary of the central bureau, and a member of the editorial collective of the Moscow journal Yungvald (Young forest). In 1925 when the All-Soviet journal Pyoner (Pioneer), a monthly children’s magazine, was founded, he was appointed editor in charge. His jottings and reportage pieces frequently appeared in both of these serials. He was sent to Birobidzhan in the early 1930s to organize the work of a publisher. From Birobidzhan he was transferred to the regional center at Khabarovsk, where he was appointed chairman of the regional trade union. On April 27, 1937, he was arrested and charged as allegedly belonging to the “anti-Soviet right-Trotskyist opposition.” On May 26, 1938, the initial session of the military tribunal at the supreme court issued a death sentence for him, which was carried out that same day.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 120; 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. 62-63.]

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