Monday 18 May 2015



            He was a Soviet Yiddish poet, born in Nova-Ukraynka, Ukraine, into a farming family in the Jewish agricultural colony of Sde Menukhe (Field of peace), which after the Russian Revolution became Kalinindorf, in southern Ukraine.  After graduating from the local Jewish school, he studied in the Kharkov Newspaper Technicum and became a journalist.  In 1934 he debuted in print with poems in the Kharkov newspaper Yunge gvardye (Young guard) and later his work appeared in a wide assortment of Yiddish publications.  His first poetry collection came out in Moscow in 1940. He volunteered for service in the army in June 1941. At the front he edited a military division’s newspaper. After demobilization, he worked for the Moscow publisher “Der emes” (The truth) and published in the newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity). He avoided arrest when many coworkers from the committee and from the publisher were purged in late 1948 and early 1949, and he and his family left Moscow and settled in Kirovohrad. He experienced a psychological depression and moved to Simferopol (Crimea), where he lived all alone for the last two decades of his life. He also wrote numerous poems in Russian, but they were never published anywhere. When the journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) began appearing in print in Moscow, he slowly returned to Yiddish poetry and brought out several cycles of poetry, primarily ballads, imbued with romantic vision. He died in Kirovohrad. He works also appeared in: Tsum zig (Toward victory) (Moscow: Emes, 1944); Sovetish heymland, Materyaln far a leksikon fun der yidisher sovetisher literatur (Materials for a handbook of Soviet Jewish literature) (September 1975); Komyug, literarish-kinstlerisher zamlbukh ([Jewish] Communist Youth, literary-artistic anthology) (Moscow: Emes, 1938); Onheyb (Beginning) (Kiev: State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940).

Among his books: Funken (Sparks), poems (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 64 pp.; Mit biks in hant (With gun in hand), poems (Moscow: Emes, 1947), 126 pp.; poetry cycles in the anthology Horizontn (Horizons) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1965). “He recounted in concise lines from his own experiences of harsh battles….” according to N. Y. Gotlib.  “His writing method was the familiar socialist realism.”

Sources: M. Natovitsh, in Eynikeyt (October 28, 1943); Y. Serebryani, in Eynikeyt (April 24, 1947); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); N. Y. Gotlib, in Tsukunft (May 1951).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 129; 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. 66-67.]

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