Monday 5 October 2015


BERL GRINBERG (GRYNBERG) (December 4, 1906-September 18, 1961)
            He was born in Warsaw.  Until age twelve he studied in religious elementary school and one year in the assimilationist school “Wiedza-daat.”  At age thirteen he was turned over to an apprenticeship in boot-making and a year later to hat-making.  During the years of WWI, he suffered hunger and want with his family.  At age sixteen he was already a member of a trade union, was involved in politics, and was even arrested for a short time.  In 1923 he emigrated to Argentina, to an uncle in Córdoba, with whom he spent two years, supported himself as a peddler, worked carrying parcels, and as an apprentice in a furniture factory.  In late 1925 he moved to Buenos Aires, where he worked in various trades, among them: sixteen years as a linotypist for the publisher of the daily Yiddish newspaper Di prese (The press).  Most recently, he was a collector for the Buenos Aires Jewish community council.  In December 1926 his published his story “Ikh un mayn feter” (Me and my uncle) in Di prese, where he would later publish the largest number of his stories.  He also placed pieces in other Argentinian publications, such as: Penemer un penemlekh (Appearances, big and small), Der shpigl (The mirror), Almanakh fun poylish-yidishn farband (Almanac of the Polish Jewish association), Oyfsnay (Afresh), Argentiner tsiko-bleter (Argentinian leaves from Tsiko [Tsentrale yidishe kultur-organizatsye (Central Yiddish Cultural Organization)], Davke (Necessarily), Unzer tsayt (Our time), Poylishe yidn in dorem-amerike (Polish Jews in South America), Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Anthology of Yiddish literature in Argentina), and the like in Buenos Aires; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) in Warsaw; Dos idishe vort (The Yiddish word) in Winnipeg; Der veg (The way) in Mexico; Undzer lebn (Our life) in Montevideo; Di yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York, and more.  Grinberg’s stories were also translated into Spanish and English.  One of them appears in A Treasury of Yiddish Stories (New York, 1954) brought out by Viking Publishers.  Among his books: Morgnvint (Morning wind), stories (Buenos Aires, 1934), 96 pp.; Di eybike vokh (The eternal week), with “a word in advance from an old friend” (Melekh Ravitsh) (Buenos Aires, 1938), 160 pp.; Blut un vayn (Blood and wine) (Buenos Aires, 1944), 160 pp.; Dos bloye shifele (The little blue boat) (Buenos Aires, 1948), 160 pp.; Libshaft (Love) (Buenos Aires, 1952), 160 pp., which in 1953 received the Argentinian Hofer-Leyb Prize for literature; Dos goldene feygele (The little golden bird) (Buenos Aires, 1955), 75 pp.  He was one of the most talented Yiddish prose writers in Argentina.  His stories excelled in their originality, with often even bizarre but never sensationalist themes.  His style was lightly lyrical, full of sound.  The background to his stories was the Argentine landscape.  The characters were on the whole Jewish immigrants to Argentina, long already integrated into the country.  He died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Sh. Zaromb, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 3 (1934); Sh. Suskovitsh, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (April 28, 1935; Dr. L. Zhitnitski, in Di prese (November 23, 1938); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 19, 1939); Kh. Tiktiner, in Moment (Warsaw) (August 11, 1939); M. Ravitsh, in Der veg (Mexico) (September 21, 1940); M. D. Giser, Dos idishe vort (Santiago, Chile) (December 22, 1944); Pinye Kats, in Di prese (June 16, 1948); Y. Botoshanski, in Davke (Buenos Aires) 1 (1949); B. Viner, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (January 2, 1950); Shloyme Bikl, in Tsukunft (New York) (April 1953); Di prese (August 15, 1953); M. Koyfman, in Undzer gedank (Buenos Aires) (September 15, 1955); Argentiner lebn (Buenos Aires) (October 20, 1955); M. Sana, Undzer veg (New York) (February 1956); Sh. Slutski, Avrom reyzen biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen’s bibliography) (New York, 1956), nos., 4849, 4964; 5213, 5296; Botoshanski, in Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia) (New York, 1957), “Yidn H,” p. 882; Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine (Buenois Aires, 1944), p. 239; V. Bresler, “Bibliografishe reshime” (Bibliographic listing), in Antologye fun der yidisher literatur in argentine, p. 921.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I'm Berl's grandson. Thanks for sharing my grandpa's story!