Thursday 1 October 2015


            He was born in a Ukrainian mountain village near Kolomyya, eastern Galicia.  He studied in religious primary school and in a Ukrainian public school.  In the last years before the onset of WWII, he was living in Warsaw.  From November 1939 until 1941, he was in Lemberg under Soviet occupation.  From 1942 he was with his wife, the Polish Jewish writer Khane (Hannah, Helene) Nayman-Grin, in the Nazi’s Janów Concentration Camp, near Lemberg.  Of the young Yiddish prose writers between the two world wars in Poland, he distinguished himself with depictions that conveyed the authentic language and living conditions of Jews in the Carpathian Mountains.  He published his novels and stories in: Haynt (Today), Foroys (Onward), Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), and Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw; Shtern (Stars) in Kiev, and elsewhere.  He authored the novels: Barg-yidn, roman (Mountain Jews, a novel), in the series “Tsvishn velder” (Between the forests) (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, with the assistance of the PEN Club, 1938), 255 pp.; Di veber fun kolomey (The weavers of Kolomyya) (Kiev-Lvov: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1941), 294 pp., a depiction of the life of the prayer-shawl weavers in Kolomyya at the end of the nineteenth century.  This last work was published serially in Haynt, and it was to be published in book form in Kiev in 1940 by the Ukrainian state publishing house.  It won an award from the Jewish PEN club in Warsaw.  He also was writing a novel about the Baal-Shem-Tov (left incomplete) and two comedies: Di velt lokert (The world lurks) and Di khelemer khakhomim (The wise men of Chelm).  According to the account of M. Borvitsh, Literatura w obozie (Literature in the camps), he continued to be creative even in the Janów Concentration Camp and wrote a novel about slave laborers in the Nazi camps.  He and his wife were murdered in the Janów camp.

Sources: M. B. Shteyn, in Arbeter-tsaytung (Warsaw), jubilee issue (March 3, 1939); “Kultur khronik” (Cultural chronicle), Oyfboy (Riga) 6 (March 1941); Dr. M. Borvitsh, Literatura w obozie (Cracow, 1946), pp. 23-24, 27-28; “Yizker” (Remembrance), Yidishe shriftn, anthology (Lodz, 1946); Z. Segalovitsh, Tlomatske draytsn (13 Tłomackie St.) (Buenos Aires, 1946), p. 18; Shmuel Niger, ed., Kidesh hashem (Sanctification of the name) (New York, 1946), pp. 322, 564-65; Dr. H. Zaydman, Notitsn fun varshever geto (Notices from the Warsaw Ghetto) (New York, 1947), p. 210 (confusion here: poems not by Y. Grin but by his wife, Helene Grin-Nayman); B. Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 205, 206; Kh. L. Fuks, in Fun noentn over 3 (New York, 1957), p. 270.

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