Wednesday 27 May 2015


LEYB GOLDBERG (1892-1955)

            A writer, translator, and publisher, he was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania, into a family of writers.  He father was a Hebrew teacher and author, and his older brothers were the poet Menakhem Boreysho (1888-1949), and Avrom Goldberg (1881-1933), the editor of the Warsaw newspaper Haynt.  He began his literary activities in Warsaw in 1914 with translations of Leo Tolstoy and Eliza Orzeszkowa and with reviews in Bikher-velt (Book world) and other publications.  He also translated writings by Peretz and Sholem-Aleichem into Russian.  After the October 1917 Revolution in Russia, he settled in Moscow and became an active contributor to the People’s Commissariat for Jewish Affairs in Moscow and to the relief organization Idgezkom (Idishe gezelshaftlekhe komitet = Jewish Social Committee), and other groups.  In the 1920s, he was secretary and later editorial representative of the newspaper Der emes (The truth) in Moscow.  From 1930 until the Nazi invasion of Soviet Russia, he served as the manager of the Emes Publishing House in Moscow.  Goldberg also translated works from the classical Marxist writers and theorists, edited a number of books—among them, two volumes of Lenin’s writings which appeared in Yiddish—and published articles on the Yiddish press, publishers’ work, literature, and culture in Emes, and in the anthology Yidn in f.s.s.r. (Jews in the USSR) (Moscow: Emes, 1935), among other works.  Later he was an active leader in the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and a regular contributor to Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow.  Shortly before his death, his Russian translation of Sholem-Aleykhem’s Motl peysi dem khazns (Motl the cantor’s son) appeared from Melukhe Publishers for Children’s Literature in Moscow. He died in Moscow.

            Among his books (translations): Leo N. Tolstoy, Der tayvl (The devil [original: D’yavol]) (Warsaw: Univerzal, 1914), 86 pp.; Eliza Orzeszkowa, Ringen, gedalye (Cells, Gedalya [original: Ogniwa, Gedalya], with a biography and introduction by Zalmen Reyzen (Warsaw, 1914), 82 pp.; Janusz Korczak, Minyaturn (Miniatures), with a foreword by Bal-Makhshoves (Warsaw: Univerzal, 1914), 73 pp.; Arthur Arnould, Di meysim fun der komune (The dead of the Commune) (Moscow-Kiev: Arbeter-heym, 1917), 21 pp.; Paul Lafargue, Vegn religye (On religion) (Moscow-Kiev: Der hamer, 1919), 66 pp.; Pavel Blonskii, Di shul un der arbeter-klas (The school and the working class [original: Shkola i rabochii klass]) (Moscow: Jewish division of the central Commissariat for Education, 1919), 29 pp.; Joseph Stalin, Di yesoydes fun leninizm (The foundations of Leninism [original: Ob osnovakh leninizma]) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1924), 115 pp.; Nikolai Bukharin, Di internatsyonale burzhuazye un karl kautski, ir apostol (The international bourgeoisie and Karl Kautsky, its apostle [original: Międzynarodowa burzuazja i Karol Kautsky, jej apostoł]) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1925), 163 pp.; Vladimir Lenin, Fun fevral biz oktyabr (From February to October [original: Ot fevralia︡ k oktya︡briu]), in Lenin’s selected writings, vol. 5 (Moscow: Central Publisher for Peoples of the USSR, 1925), 155 pp.; B. Zhukov, Di opshtamung funem mentshn (The origins of men [original: Proiskhozhdenie cheloveka]) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1925), 182 pp.; Nikolai Bukharin, Di khinezishe revolutsye, problemen un perspektivn (The Chinese revolution, problems and perspective [original: Problemy kitaiskoi revoliutsii]) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1927), 63 pp.; Emelian Yaroslavskii, Kurtse etyudn iber der geshikhte fun der aikp(b) (Short studies from the history of the Russian Communist Party [original: Kratkie ocherki po istorii VKP(b)]) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1927); Dr. M. Dobin, Vos iz azoyns sap un vi darf men kegn im kemfn (What’s glanders and how ought one to fight it) (Simferopol, 1932), 20 pp.; Lenin, Oysgeveylte verk af yidish (Selected writings in Yiddish) (Simferopol, 1933); Karl Marx, Di klasnkamfn in frankraykh (The class struggles in France [original: Klassenkämpfe in Frankreich 1848 bis 1850]) (Simferopol, 1933), 161 pp.; Guy de Maupassant, Tsvey fraynd un andere dertseylungen (Two friends and other stories [original: Deux amis et autres contes]) (Simferopol, 1935), 40 pp.; Stalin, Fragn fun leninizm (Problems of Leninism [original: Voprosy leninizma] (Moscow: Emes, 1936), 858 pp. (first printing was in 1926); and Sholem-Alekhem, from Yiddish to Russian, Mal’chik motl (Motl, a lad) (Moscow, 1954), 100 pp., with a preface by Viktor Fink and illustrations by V. Losin.  Goldberg also contributed, together with Yekhezkl Dobrushin and Y. Rabin, to the compilation of Der deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Declaimer of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow: Emes, 1934), 410 pp. 

Sources: A. Brakhman, in Emes (Moscow) 19 (1934); Leyb Goldberg, “A briv in redaktsye” (A letter to the editorial board), Emes 72 (1935); L. Arye, in Yidishe tsaytung (Winnipeg) (April 13, 1949); Ada Boreysha-Fogel, in Tsukunft (New York) (January 1955); Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (January 14, 1955); L. Leneman, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (February 3, 1956); Leneman, in Der amerikaner (New York) (February 17, 1956); Haboker (Tel Aviv) (February 11, 1956); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (January 13, 1957); Sovetish heymland, Materyaln far a leksikon fun der yidisher sovetisher literatur (Materials for a handbook of Soviet Jewish literature) (September 1975).

Aleksander Pomerants

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 135; 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.67-68.]


  1. Leyb Goldberg translated into Yiddish F. Hebbel's tragedy Judith. (Warsaw, 1914), 96 pp.
    יהודית : א טראגעדיע אין פינף אקטען
    פריעדריך העבבעל; יודיש פון ל. גאלדבערג; מיט ביאגראפיע
    װארשא : פערלאג אוניװערזאל

  2. Leyb Goldberg edited the translation of the collection of stories for children from Russian by G. Riklin Dertseylungen vegn grenetsler (orig.: Рассказы о пограничниках = Stories about border guards).- Moskve : Melukhe-farlag Emes, 1938.- 130, [2] pp.
    דערצײלונגענ װעגנ גרענעצלער
    ג. ריקלינ ; רעד. - ל. גאלדבערג
    Author : Рыклин, Григорий Ефимович (1894-1975)

  3. There was one more edition of Guy de Maupassant's Tsvey fraynt; Der portreter (orig.: Deux amis ; Un portrait =Two friends ; The portrait).- Moskve : Farlag Emes, 1937.- 22, [2] pp. Serie : Masn-bibliotek, #59.
    צװײ פרײנט; דער פארטרעטער
    גיוי דע-מאפאסאנ [пер. Л. Гольдберг] Transl. L. Goldberg

  4. More information, explanation and translation of the word "SAP" into English from Russian and Yiddish in Dr. M. Dobin, Vos iz azoyns sap un vi darf men kegn im kemfn : gemel fun a ferd (What’s glanders and how to fight it: disease of a horse) (Simferopol, 1932), 20 pp. ill.
    װאס איז אזױנס סאפ אונ װי דארפ מענ קעגנ אימ קעמפנ : געמעל פונ א פערד
    װעט. דאקטאר מ. דאבינ ; יידיש - גאלדבערג
    Glanders is a contagious zoonotic infectious disease that occurs primarily in horses, mules, and donkeys. It can be contracted by other animals, such as dogs, cats, pigs, goats, and humans. It is caused by infection with the bacterium Burkholderia mallei.