Sunday 25 October 2015


TSODEK DOLGOPOLSKI (July 30, 1879-1959)

            He was a prose author, playwright, and poet, born in Horodok (Haradok), a town near Vitebsk, Byelorussia, to poor parents.  He studied in religious primary school, but at a young age he went to work as a brush maker.  In his early youth he joined the Bund.  He read a great deal and studied autodidactically.  In the late 1890s, he took a prominent position in the illegal Bundist organization.  In 1901 he passed the examination to be a teacher, founded a Jewish school in his hometown, which became an educational center for local working youth.  He began writing in 1898.  At the time he published correspondence and reportage pieces on workers’ lives in the Yiddish press, such as the illegal trade organ of the brush makers, Der veker (The alarm).  He later contributed to: Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), Der shtral (The ray [of light]), Lebn un visnshaft (Life and science), and other periodicals.  After the Revolution he placed written work in the Soviet Yiddish periodical press in Minsk, Kharkov, and Kiev, under the pseudonym A. Horodoker. He published stories, novels, and plays. He dedicated his books and plays to the rise of a new Soviet state of affairs. At the end of the 1930s, he was sent to the Gulag. After being freed, he lived in Byelorussia and Leningrad.

           “Dolgopolski was from beginning to end a writer of manners,” wrote B. Orshanski.  “In his stories and humorous sketches, as well as his plays and novels, everywhere the best and strongest places and chapters were those in which he depicted customs.”

Among his books: Bilder fun shtetl (Portraits of the shtetl), a collection of plays (Vilna: B. A. Kletskin, 1913), 111 pp.; Dem zeydns kloles (Grandfather’s curses), a children’s comedy in one act (Moscow: Central Jewish Commissariat, 1919), 31 pp.; Ba geefnte toyern (By open gates), a novel (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1928), 191 pp.; Af der linker zayt, funem nayem lebns-shteyger (On the left side, from the new way of life) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1928; Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk, 1931, 66 pp.; Mashines gerangl (Machines battle), a play in five acts (Minsk: Central People’s Publishers, 1930), 99 pp.; Biz dem letstn (Till the last one), a play in eight scenes (Minsk:, Byelorussian division, 1931), 42 pp.; Af sovetisher erd (On Soviet soil), stories (Moscow-Kharkov-Minsk: Central People's Publishers, 1931), 127 pp.; Mit mayn pen in hant (With my pen in hand), poetry (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1932), 112 pp.; Zayd (Silk), a novel (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1933), 244 pp.; Kolvirtisher trivaks (Collective farm’s sealing wax), a one-act play (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1933), 19 pp.; Agit-poyezd (Agit-procession), a story (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935), 162 pp.; Geklibene noveln (Collected fiction) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1936), 256 pp.

He translated Aleksey Arbuzov, Zeks gelibte, komedye in dray aktn (Six beloved, a comedy in three acts) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1936), 66 pp.  His work was included in: Atake, literarishe-kritishe artiklen (Attack, literary critical articles) (Minsk); Der veg fun farat, kamf kegn bundizm un menshevizm in der yidisher proletarisher literatur (The way of betrayal, the struggle against Bundism and Menshevism in Jew proletarian literature) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1932); Sovetishe vaysrusland, literarishe zamlung (Soviet Byelorussia, literary collection) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935); Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Declaimer of Soviet Jewish literature) (Moscow, 1934).

Sources: B. Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye (Yiddish literature in Byelorussia after the revolution) (Moscow, 1931), p. 207; M. Vitkin, Af sovetisher erd (On Soviet soil); Shtern (Minsk) (September 1933); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (Brooklyn, 1950), p. 64; M. Mizheritski, in Di royte velt (September-October 1931).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 187; 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), p. 96.]


  1. Additional information :
    TSODEK DOLGOPOLSKI published the collection of humorous poems Mit mayn pen in hant (By my pen in hand = Моим пером в руках (Russian) = Маiм пяром у руках (Belorussian)).- Minsk : Melukhe-farlag fun Vaysrusland. Yidsekter, 1932.- 111, [1] pp. under the nickname/pseudonym HORODOKER.
    מיט מײנ פענ אינ האנט

  2. Additional information :
    Ba geefnte toyern (By open gates) had the 2nd edition in 1931 :
    בא געעפנטע טױערן :
    ראמאן אין 2 טײלן
    צ. דאלגאפאלסקי
    צװײטע אופלאגע
    מאסקװע ;כארקאװ ;מינסק : צענטראלער פעלקער-פארלאג פון פססר
    Ba geefnte toyern : roman in 2 teyln
    Ts. Dolgopolski
    Tsveyte uflage
    Moskve; Kharkov; Minsk : Tsentraler felker-farlag fun F.S.S.R.

  3. Correction in the English translation of :
    "Poyezd" means train.
    Russian - Агитпоезд ; Belorussian - Агітцягнік

  4. Correction in the title :
    He translated Aleksey Arbuzov, Zeks gelibte : komedie in 3 aktn (Six beloved : comedy in 3 acts = orig.: Шестеро любимых) (Minsk, 1936), 66, [2] pp.