Sunday, 15 November 2015


            He was a Soviet Yiddish literary critic and political writer, who came from Byelorussia.  In his youth, soon after the revolution, he was an important member of the Jewish section of the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, and in the early 1930s he served as an aide to the People’s Commissar for Education in the Byelorussian government.  He began writing in the mid-1920s.  He published literary critical treatises and articles on political topics in: Shtern (Star) and Oktyabr (October) in Minsk, and from time to time also in Soviet Jewish periodicals in Kiev and Kharkov.  Around 1928 he was editor of the daily newspaper Oktyabr in Minsk.  Among his books: Vegn der masn-arbet af yidish (On mass labor in Yiddish) (Minsk: State Publ., 1929), 44 pp., with Galbraykh; Dergreykhungen fun der natsyonaler politik in f. s. s. r. (Accomplishments in national politics of the USSR) (Moscow, 1930), 82 pp.; In kamf af tsvey frontn (In a struggle on two fronts) (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1932), 16, 106 pp.; Kegn sotsyal-fashistishn “bund” (Against the social-fascist Bund) (Minsk: State Publ., 1932), 94 pp.; Far marksistisher historiyografye (For Marxist historiography) (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1932), 38 pp.; Tezisn tsum alfarbandishn tsuzamenfor fun di yidishe proletarishe shrayber (Theses at the All-Soviet Conference of Proletarian Yiddish Writers) (Minsk, 1932), with Y. Bronshteyn; In shlakhtn (In battle) (Moscow, 1932), 278 pp.; Di iberdikhtung-teorye fun kh. litvakov (The poetic theory of Comrade Litvakov) (Minsk, 1932), 127 pp.; Far magnitboyen fun der literatur (On the great works of literature) (Minsk, 1932), 80 pp.; Vegn shrayber un verk (On writers and [their] works) (Minsk, 1933), 126 pp.; Af literarishe temes (On literary themes) (Minsk: State Publ., 1934), 140 pp.  He also contributed to: Fashizirter yidishizm un zayn visnshaft (Fascist Yiddishism and its scholarship) (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1930), 23, 121 pp.  He also translated into Yiddish works by the Byelorussian writer Źmitrok Biadula, among others.  Over the course of several years he was the person of authority in Soviet Jewish literature.  His career ended tragically in 1935, when the NKVD unexpectedly arrested him and “liquidated” him in the same period that the following Yiddish writers met their end: Ziskind Lev, Moyshe Kulbak, and Maks Erik.  In Shtern of October 1936, Dunyets was labelled a “counter-revolutionary Trotskyist who furtively passed off theories averse to class.”

Sources: Kalmen Marmor, in Morgn frayhayt (New York) (March 16, 1931); Kh. Brogin (Froym Oyerbakh), in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 13, 1932); M. Damesek and Tsiving, in Shtern (Minsk) (January-February 1932); A. Dameshek, in Shtern 10 (1936); A. Gurshteyn, Problemen fun kritik (Problems of criticism) (Moscow, 1933); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1934); B. Ts. Goldberg, in Tog (New York) (December 30, 1934); A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (April 3, 1935); Kh. Bernshteyn (A. Glants), in Tog (March 22, 1935); H. Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (New York, 1950), p. 63.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 194.]

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