Monday 27 July 2015


SHIRE GORSHMAN (April 10, 1906-April 4, 2001)

            She was prose author, born in Krok (Krakės), a town near Kovno, Lithuania, to a poor family.  Her father died when she was still a child; her mother remarried, and her stepfather caused her great suffering. Her grandparents raised her more than her own parents—on this see her “Elehey an oytobyograye” (As if an autobiography) which appeared in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) 9 (1968). During WWI she was evacuated with her family to Vilna. In 1924 she moved to Palestine to find a better future. She worked hard there on a kibbutz, and later with a group of communards she emigrated to Crimea in 1928 and worked on an agricultural commune. She described this harsh labor in her books which were effectively autobiographical. In Crimea she became acquainted with the painter Mendl Gorshman who had come there to paint. They married and then moved to Moscow. She began her literary activities in the 1930s with stories for the newspapers Der shtern (The star) in Kiev and Der emes (The truth) in Moscow. In 1940s she published in the Moscow newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity) and in anthologies. She published some of her stories under the name “Shirke Goman” or “Shire Goman.” She was extremely successful in developing her talents, beginning in the 1960s, when she took to publishing in the journal Sovetish heymland. She was an author of short novellas, in which she depicted masterly the deep psychological experiences, rich in characterization of human features. The hero throughout her entire oeuvre is the woman as a popular image in this chaotic and stormy historical epoch. One critic noted that “this image of the woman in Shire Gorshman’s work emerges complete at a time when the secrets of the old order were exposed and new relations and interrelations in social life and in the family were being created. Through this image of the woman, Gorshman embodied the most important problems of reality.” (Hirsh Remenik) In 1989 she made aliya to Israel, where she died in Ashkelon.

Among her books: Der koyekh fun lebn, noveln un dertseylungen (The power of life, novellas and stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 206 pp.; 33 noveln (33 short stories) (Warsaw: Yidish bukh, 1961), 179 pp.; Lebn un likht, dertseylungen un noveln (Life and light, stories and novellas) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1974), 430 pp.; Ikh hob lib arumforn (I enjoy traveling) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1981), 60 pp.; Yontev inmitn vokh, roman, dertseylungen un noveln, rayze bilder (Holiday in the middle of the week: a novel, stories, and novellas, travel images) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1984), 374 pp.; Oysdoyer, dertseylungen, noveln, zikhroynes (Perseverance, stories, novellas, memoirs) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1992), 254 pp.; Khanes shof un rinder (Hannah’s sheep and cattle), novel (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1993), 199 pp.; Vi tsum ershtn mol, novele, dertseylungen, skitsn (Like the first time, novella, stories, sketches) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1995), 320 pp.; On a gal, dertseylungen, skitses, zikhroynes (With no malice, stories, sketches, memoirs) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1996), 196 pp.; In di shpurn fun “Gdud havode” (In the tracks of the “Labor Corps”), stories and memoirs (Tel Aviv: Yisroel bukh, 1998), 80 pp.

Sources: Noyekh Lurye, in Heymland, vol. 6 (Moscow, 1948); Rivke Rubin, in Folksshtime (Lodz) 47 (1947); Y. Yonasovitsh, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) 41 (1948); Yonasovitsh, in Der idisher zhurnal (Toronto) (July 23, 1957); B. Mark, in Folksshtime 40 (1949); N. Meisil, in Yidishe kultur (New York) 11 (1949); Moyshe Kats, in Morgn frayhayt (New York) (May 26, 1957).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 148; 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. 76-77.]


  1. She contributed to Di Yiddishe gas (Еврейская улица=The Jewish street - a new title of Heymland (Homeland)).- Moscow, 1997.- № 2-3.- pp. 5-12
    הױכע שװעלן
    Hoykhe shveln (High thresholds)
    Gorshman, Shire. Hoykhe shveln// Di Yiddishe gas / Hoypt-redaktor: Arn Vergelis.- Moscow, 1997.- № 2-3.- pp. 5-12

  2. SHIRE GORSHMAN also contributed among other Soviet writers to the collection Azoy lebn mir : Dokumentale noveln, fartsaykhenungen, reportazh (The way we live : documentary novels, essays, reportages)/ red. Aron Vergelis.- Moskve : Sovetski pisatel ; Sovetish Heymland, 1964.- 485, [3]
    אזױ לעבן מיר
    דאקומענטאלע נאװעלן, פארצײכענונגען, רעפארטאזש
    רעד. ארן װערגעליס