BOREKH GLAZMAN (BARUCH GLASMAN) (January 12, 1893-June 1, 1945)
He was born in the small town of Kapitkevitsh (Kapatkevičy), near Mazyr, Byelorussia, into a family of tradesmen: cobblers, carpenters, and glaziers. When he was several months old, his parents took him with them to Mazyr. At age thirteen he moved with his family to settle in Kiev. He studied in religious primary school, later in yeshivas, among them the yeshiva of R. Reines in Lida (1908), while at the same time he turned his attention to secular subject matter. He studied in a Russian high school and also took technical courses in Kiev. In late 1911 he emigrated to the United States. He worked at various trades and ultimately came to be a house painter. In the evenings, though, he continued his studies. He graduated from secondary school in 1915 and in 1918 received his B. A. in from Ohio State University. He served in the American army, 1918-1919, and afterward began intensively to devote himself to writing, though he was not as yet done with physical labor. By this point in time, he was already fully immersed in the spirit and character of American life. He wrote for the most part in English and published stories in the English-language Jewish magazine, Menorah (1921). His first story in Yiddish—“Arum der driter ashmoyre” (About the third night watch)—appeared in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in 1913. In 1914 he wrote the story “Moyshele” (Little Moyshe); around 1915 the story “Tsum nayem hafn” (To the new port); in 1917 “Fun di opgruntn” (From the abyss); and in 1918 and 1919 the stories “Baynakht” (At night) and “Kores” (Premature death). For several years after this, he stopped writing in Yiddish, and then in 1922 he wrote the story “Tants fun di negers” (Dance of the Negroes); and in 1923 he brought out “Far undzere oreme brider” (For our poor brethren), “Shtile verter” (Quiet words), and “Okean” (Ocean). From that point he published in such journals as: Tsukunft (Future), Shriftn (Writings), Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), Der hamer (The hammer), Der nayer gedank (The new thought), Der amerikaner (The American), Kinder-velt (Children’s world), Tealit (Theater-literature), Epokhe (Epoch), and Zamlbikher (Anthologies)—in New York; Kritik (Critic) in Vienna; Renesans (Renaissance) in London; Epokhe in Montreal; and Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw). Also, in such newspapers as: Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Forverts (Forward), Frayhayt (Freedom), and Di tsayt (The times)—in New York; Moment (Moment) and Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Warsaw; Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires; Naye prese (New press) in Paris; Emes (Truth) in Moscow; Shtern (Star) in Kharkov; and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk. In Hebrew he published in: Haivri (The Jew) in New York and in Iyim (Islands) in London. In English: a journal in Columbia, Ohio (1916-1917), the aforementioned Menorah in New York (1921), Jewish Sentinel in Chicago (1931), and Jewish Spectator in New York (1936-1937), among others. Glazman also wrote articles on issues concerning Yiddish language and literature and Yiddish theater, as well as concerning the Jewish community in general in over sixty Yiddish newspapers and magazines from various countries. For a time he ran the information department of Yidgezkom (Jewish Social Committee [for the Relief of Victims of War, Pogroms, and Natural Disasters]) in the United States. In 1924 he made a trip through Poland and Soviet Russia, and afterward stayed for several years in Poland, where he produced reports in a number of cities on Yiddish literature in America. During these years he spent in Europe, he wrote a great number of novels and prepared for publication his Geklibene verk (Collected works) in eight volumes, which the Vilna publishing house of B. Kletskin brought out in 1927 and 1937. His works appeared at various times in New York, Warsaw, Vilna, Moscow, and Kiev, and certain of his stories appeared more than once due to varying editions of his writings. In 1930 he returned to the United States, where he wrote and prepared for publication his last novels and stories. His final story, “Shimer sheyres yisroel” (Preserving the remnant of Israel), was published in issue no. 4 of Zamlbikher (New York, 1945). He brought the manuscript to the editorial offices several days prior to his death.
His books include the following: Baginen, noveln (At dawn, short stories) (New York, 1921), 224 pp.; Oyf a hor, noveln (By a thread, short stories) (New York, 1923), 248 pp.; Di mishpokhe pikuda (The family Pikuda) (Warsaw, 1923), 82 pp.; Kholem-dertseylungen (Dream stories) (Warsaw, 1925), 91 pp.; Ver hot gezindikt? (Who has sinned?) (Warsaw, 1925); Shteynvebs, noveln (Stone webs, short story) (Moscow, 1925), 317 pp.; Fananderfal (Worn out) (Kiev, 1926), 140 pp.; Inem rod (In the wheel) (Vilna, 1927), 271 pp. (including his novella A trep [A stair], written in 1917); Af an inzl, roman (On an island, a novel) (Vilna, 1927), 435 pp.; Af di felder fun dzhordzhya (In the fields of Georgia) (Vilna, 1927), 380 pp. (including the novella Untern tsaykhn fun untergang [Under the sign of decline], written 1915-1919); Fartunklt gold (Blackened gold) (Vilna, 1928), 302 pp.; Af yener zayt okean (On the other said of the ocean) (Vilna, 1928), 278 pp.; Step un yishev, bilder fun a rayze iber di yidishe kolonyes fun sovet-rusland un ukrayne (Steppe and settlement, images from a trip to the Jewish settlements in Soviet Russia and Ukraine) (Warsaw, 1928), 230 pp.; Antrunene, finf dertseylungen (Disappeared, five stories) (Vilna, 1935), 227 pp. (including the story “A shif oyf groyse vasern” [A ship on great waters]); Lender un lebns, di geshikhte fun a mishpokhe in amerike un in sovet-rusland, roman in tsvey bend un fir ṭeyln (Countries and lives: The story of a family in America and in Soviet Russia, a novel in two volumes and four parts) (New York, 1937), vol. 1, 290 pp., vol. 2, 355 pp.; In goldenem zump, novele in tsvey teyln (In a golden swamp, a novel in two parts) (New York, 1940), 210 pp. (written in 1927); Broyt, roman (Bread, a novel) (New York, 1946), 236 pp. (published serially in Der yidisher kemfer in New York in 1942). In the periodical Undzer bukh (Our book) (New York, March-April 1926), he published Af a rog (At a street corner), a shadow play in three acts, with a prelude and an after-piece. He translated from English (using the pen name G. Borekh) Arthur Ransome’s book Six Weeks in Russia in 1919 as In sovetn-rusland in 1919 (In Soviet Russia in 1919) (New York: Naye velt, 1919), 171 pp. And, he edited Unzer zhurnal (Our journal) in New York in 1920.
Borekh Glazman took a prominent place in modern Yiddish fictional writing. He was the most American of the American Yiddish writers. Jews and Gentiles, black and white personages figured in his novels and stories. His Jewish characters were, in the main, wandering, uprooted men. His subject matter was always original and diverse. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1; A. Almi, Kritik un polemik (Critique and polemic) (Warsaw, 1939); Arn Bekerman, Monografye fun borekh glazman mit a biblyografye fun zayne verk (Monograph on Borekh Glazman with a bibliography of his works) (New York, 1944), 160 pp.; Y. Entin, in Der idisher kemfer (New York) (September 14, 21, 28, and October 5, 1945); Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (June 11, 1945); Y. L. Gruzman, in Der shpigl (Buenos Aires) (June 1945); B. Shlevin, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 6, 1945); Sh. Tenenboym, in Proletarishe gedank (New York) (July 1945); A. M. Fuks, in Shtentsl-heftn (London) (July 1945); B. Y. Byalostotski, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (November 23, 1945); A. Y. Rontsh, Amerike in der yidisher literatur (America in Yiddish literature) (New York, 1945); A. Tabatshnik, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1946); A. Beyzer, in Tsukunft (November 1948); B. Rivkin, Grunt-tendentsn fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (Basic tendencies in Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1948); Rivkin, Unzere prozaiker (Our prose writers) (New York, 1951); N. Mayzil, Geven a mol a lebn (There was once a life) (Buenos Aires, 1951); Y. Kisin, Lid un esey (Poem and essay) (New York, 1953), pp. 249-54; Amerike in yidishn vort, antologye (America in the Yiddish word, an anthology) (New York, 1955); Y. Rodak, Kunst un kinstler (Art and artists) (New York, 1955), p. 136; M. Yordani, in Keneder odler (April 4, 1955); Yordani, in Di shtime (Mexico) (July 16, 1955); Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Buenos Aires) (May-June 1955); A. Shniurson, in Yidishe kultur (June-July 1955); Alter Eselin, in Vayter (New York) (January-February 1956); Sh. D. Zinger, in Tsukunft (March 1956); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), nos. 4901, 4902, 5055, 5094; Ezra Korman, in Fraye arbeter shtime (July 13, 1956); Kh. Pet, in Kultur un dertseylung (New York) (February 1958).