MOTL GRUBYAN (1909-February 9, 1972)
He was a Soviet Yiddish poet, born in the town of Sokolivka, Ukraine, into the family of a teacher. He worked in a factory before moving to Minsk where he graduated in 1938 he graduated from the literature faculty at the Pedagogical Institute there. He debuted in print in Zay greyt (Get ready), a children’s newspaper in Kharkov. With the outbreak of the Soviet-Nazi war in 1941, he volunteered for service at the front and took part in the Battle of Stalingrad. He was wounded three times, and after a severe wound in 1943 he was demobilized. He then moved to Moscow and began working as an editor for the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Already in his student days, he brought out his first literary collection in Minsk, which demonstrated his capacity as an original poet with a graphic ability with words and an inclination for philosophical generalizations. These qualities later deepened and broadened in the 1940s and especially in the 1960s, and distinguished him among the foremost tier of Soviet Yiddish lyricists. His style had a characteristically vivid folk quality and innovative search for word and poetic expression. His main poetic genre was the lyrical miniature, through which he embodied both actual problems of the contemporary historical era and individual, subjective experiences. He was living until his death in Moscow.
Among his books: Fun keler af der zun, lider (From the cellar to the sun, poems) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935), 79 pp.; Lirik (Lyric) (Minsk: State Publ., 1940), 60 pp.; Gezang vegn mut (Song for courage) (Moscow: Der emes, 1947), 144 pp. “In Grubyan’s book [Gezang vegn mut],” wrote Rivke Rubin, “there are a fair number of poems with tragic motifs concerning the extermination of the Jewish population during the German occupation…. The largest number of poems are linked by a lyrical image—with the ordinary folk.” He also published: Umruiker vint, geklibene lider (Un settled wind, collected poetry) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1970), 214 pp.; Dos eybike fayer (The eternal fire), his last poems (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1976), 310 pp.; In veg (On the road) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1984), 62 pp. His work was included in: Tsum zig (To victory) (Moscow, 1944); and Bafrayte brider, literarishe zamlung (Liberated brethren, literary anthology) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1939).
Sources: Y. Nusinov, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (August 5, 1942); M. Notovitsh, in Eynikeyt (October 28, 1943); U. P., in Eynikeyt (February 19, 1944); A. Kushnirov, in Eynikeyt (May 26, 1945); Rivke Rubin, in Eynikeyt (June 10, 1948); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (Brooklyn, 1950), pp. 10-11; N. Y. Gotlib, in Tsukunft (New York) (May 1951); 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. 174; 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. 87-88.]