Tuesday 14 April 2015


ITSIK BRONFMAN (1913-1978)

He was a Soviet Jewish poet and journalist, born in the town of Khoshchevatoye, Ukraine, into the family of a locksmith.  Orphaned in his youth, he was raised in a children’s home in the city of Haysyn. He worked as a machinist in a locomotive depot.  He began writing poetry in Haysyn, and his first poem, “Mayn khaver” (My friend), was published by the Kharkov newspaper for youth, Yunge gvardye (Young guard), on July 25, 1930. He went on to graduate from the Haysyn Industrial Technicum, and in 1931 the young poet moved to Birobidzhan. There he worked as a tractor driver and published poetry in the local newspaper, Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star). He left Birobidzhan to join the army and took part in fighting against the fascists. In 1946 he returned to Birobidzhan and started working in the local press; from 1946 through 1972, he managed the industrial section of Birobidzhaner shtern. He wrote correspondence pieces, essays, reportage, and poetry. His work also appeared in Birobidzhaner alamankh (Birobidzhan almanac).  In 1948 his volume of poems which included Far Eastern motifs and lyrics about the war front was published. He was a member of the All-Russian Writers Union. He died in Khabarovsk where he had settled after going on his pension.

Among his books: Af likhtike vegn (Along lighted roads), poems and ballads (Birobidzhan, 1948), published by the Jewish Autonomous Region of Birobidzhan.  His poetry cycle appeared in the anthology Horizontn (Horizons) (Moscow, 1965). His writing was also included in the collection Yidishe avtonome gegnt (The Jewish Autonomous Region) (Khabarovsk, 1960).

Sources: Y. Dobrushin, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (November 18, 1948); N. Fridman, in Eynikeyt (May 17, 1947); Keneder odler (November 4, 1946).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 116; 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. 59.]

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