Wednesday 14 October 2015


            She was born in Siad (Seda), near Telshe (Telts, Telz), Lithuania.  She graduated from a Jewish public school, and later studied in the Vilkomir (Ukmergė) Jewish high school.  From her youth, she was active in Jewish community life.  She took part in drama studies, choirs, and in the Judaic cultural movement.  Until 1941 she worked as a nurse in the Kovno hospital.  She was the wife of the writer Yisroel Kaplan.  She began writing poetry when quite young and first published in 1928 under the pseudonym Leye Brasleyever.  She placed poems in the Kovno Yiddish newspapers: Folksblat (People’s newspaper) and Idishe shtime (Jewish voice).  She contributed to virtually all of the literary publications in Lithuania, such as: Shlyakhn (Unpaved roads) (Kovno, 1932); Toyern (Gates) (1937); Bleter (Leaves) (1938); Kveytn (Blossoms); Emes (Truth) (Kovno, 1940-1941), in which she published lyrical and children’s poems which were permeated with profoundly human exaltation, maternal love, and joyousness in childhood and youth.  Her last poem—“A tsigeynerin in kimpet” (A gypsy woman in childbirth), Emes in Kovno (March 18, 1941)—was full of the emotions and elation of one mother to another, witnessing the arrival of a new life into the world.  During WWII she was in the Kovno ghetto.  After the Germans deported her husband to Riga, she and her two children suffered from hunger and want.  In July 1944, during the liquidation of the Kovno ghetto, she and her sister hid in a bunker, and when the Nazis set fire to the discovered bunkers of Kovno Jews, she was burned to death alive there.

Sources: Dr. Y. Shatski, ed., Zamlbukh, lekoved dem tsvey hundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936); N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 10, 1944); Gotlib, in Lite (Lithuania) (New York, 1951), p. 1106; Yoysef Gar, Umkum fun der yidisher kovne (The destruction of Jewish Kovno) (Munich, 1948); Y. Kaplan, in Der veg (Mexico) (February 8, 1958); M. Ravitsh in Der veg (February 8, 1958).

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