Sunday 19 April 2015


NISN BRUSILOV (NATHAN BRUSILOW) (August 19, 1889-January 1977)
He was born in Ovruch, Volhynia, Ukraine, into a well-to-do family.  At age ten he moved with his family to Kiev and survived the pogrom there in 1905.  He received both a traditional Jewish and a modern secular education.  His parents several times changed their address, and therefore he had occasion to go through primary school in Chernihiv (Chernigov) district, high school in Pinsk and Grodno, and university in Prague.  When WWI broke out, he was interned for three years in a concentration camp.  After the war, he continued his studies (medicine) in Prague, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris.  In 1924 he emigrated to the United States and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where he practiced as a doctor.  He started writing in his student years (1918-1923).  He published essays, feature pieces, and short stories in the Prague weekly newspaper Zelbstver (Self-worth).  At that time he wrote Noyekhs kastn (Noah’s chest), images and experiences from the Austrian concentration camp during WWI, published in installments in a Judeo-German newspaper in Merish-Ostrau, Czechoslovakia.  For full thirty years thereafter, he literally did not take a pen in hand.  Then, in 1953 there appeared in New York his novel Bay di taykhn fun polesye (By the rivers of Polesia), “a novel of a world gone by” (322 pp.).  For this book he received the Louis Lamed Prize for 1953.  He also published: Di shtile erd, roman (The quiet earth, a novel) (New York: CYCO, 1957), 365 pp.  It proved extremely interesting to the Yiddish literary world, due primarily to his rich folkloristic (both Jewish and Slavic) material and the peculiarity of its structure.

Sources: Yankev Glatshteyn, in Idisher kemfer (December 4, 1953); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1952); Mukdoni, in Di goldene keyt 19 (Tel Aviv); M. Osherovitsh, in Forverts (New York) (January 10, 1954); A. Almi, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (March 12, 1954); Shmuel Niger, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (March 28 and December 5, 1954); Dr. Y. Shatski, in Jewish Bookland (January 1954); D. Tsharni, in Byalistoker shtime (New York) (April 1954); A. Lev, in Lebns-fragn (Tel Aviv) (September-October 1954); G. Mayzel, in Al hamushmad (Tel Aviv) (December 3, 1954); Mayzel, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (February 1955); A. Shures, in Dos vort (Montreal) (January 1, 1954); A. Cohen, in Foroys (Mexico) (April 15, 1953).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 118.]

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