ROKHL OYERBAKH (1903-May 31, 1976)
She was born in Lanovits (Łanowce), Galicia. She graduated from a Polish high school and in 1928 from Lemberg University. She was living with Itzik Manger until the early 1930s. From 1933 she resided in Warsaw, where she survived the ghetto and was saved by living on the Aryan side. In 1950 she made aliya to Israel. She began writing in 1927 in Der morgn (The morning) in Lemberg. She published stories, articles, and essays about literature, as well as on scholarly topics (psychology, anthropology, and the like). Over the years 1927-1931, she edited the literary journal Tsushteyer (Contribution). After WWII, she turned to research on the Holocaust, and she wrote works and treatises on this theme. She preserved her own archives. She influenced Dvoyre Fogel to write her work in Yiddish instead of Polish. She was one of the principal contributors to Dr. Ringelboym’s archive of the Warsaw Ghetto, later to the archives of the Jewish Historical Commission in liberated Poland. Among her books: Af di velder fun treblinke (In the woods of Treblinka), reportage pieces (Warsaw-Lodz, 1947), 109, 19 pp.; Der yidisher oyfshtand varshe 1943 (The Jewish uprising in Warsaw, 1943) (Warsaw, 1948), 95 pp.; Undzer khezhbm mitn daytshn folk (Our accounting with the German people) (Tel Aviv, 1952), 23 pp.; In land yisroel: reportazhn, eseyen, dertseylungen (In the land of Israel: reportage, essays, stories) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1964), 88 pp.; Varshever tsavoes: bagegenishn, aktivitetn, goyroles, 1933-1943 (Warsaw testaments: encounters, activities, fates, 1933-1943) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1974), 364 pp.; Baym letstn veg, in geto varshe un af der arisher zayt (On the final road, in the Warsaw Ghetto and on the Aryan side) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1977), 333 pp. Some of her work that has appeared in Hebrew translation: Beḥutsot varsha, 1939-1943 (In the streets of Warsaw, 1939-1943), trans. Mordekhai Ḥalamish (Tel Aviv: Am oved, 1954), 362 pp.; Mered geto varsha (Warsaw Ghetto uprising), trans. Mordekhai Ḥalamish (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1963), 149 pp. “Oyerbakh’s works on Treblinka and on the tears of Jewish chattels in the ghettoes,” wrote M. Ravitch, “open up new dark abysses in our suffering under the Nazis, which only she has elucidated, although millions have looked in.”
Sources: M. Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon) (Montreal, 1945-1982), vol. 2, p. 3; Dov Sadan, Introduction to Oyerbakh’s Baym letstn veg; Y. Kermish, Baym letstn veg, p. 305; A. Lis, Heym un doyer (Home and duration) (Tel Aviv, 1960), p. 239.