Wednesday 27 January 2016


ALEKSANDER GUBNITSKI (August 22, 1912-1974)

            He was a prose author, born in Monasterishche (Monasteriska), Kiev Province, Ukraine, into the family of a cooper.  In the late 1920s he moved with his parents to Birobidzhan, where he worked as a driver, and in the mid-1930s to Moscow, where he worked in construction of the metropolitan subway. It was at this time that his first literary efforts, which he brought to the editorial offices of the newspaper Der emes (The truth), earned him the encouragement of Dovid Bergelson, and his first stories were published in 1932 in that newspaper as well as in other newspapers. When WWII began, he proceeded to the front. His first book, Shofern (Drivers), was autobiographical and was published in 1960 in Russian as Shoferi. Beginning in 1961, he published his writings in the Moscow journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland)—“Der veg af volgograd” (The road to Volgograd), “A tog in bratsk” (A day in Bratsk), “Shakhtyorn” (Miners), “Der balebos fun yam” (Boss of the sea), “Sumgayit” (Sunqayit), the long autobiographical story “Mayn yikhes” (My pedigree), and others. In his sketches and stories, he provides an artistic embodiment of actual problems with which his protagonists lived at that time—Jews and Gentiles, especially from urban labor circles. His style was characterized by a juicy folk language with a humorous hue. He died in Moscow.

           The majority of his output was published in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland).  In book form: Mayn oytser (My treasure) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1973), 358 pp.; Eygene mentshn (Our own folks) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1983), 62 pp. 

Source: Sovetish heymland, Materyaln far a leksikon fun der yidisher sovetisher literatur (Materials for a handbook of Soviet Jewish literature) (September 1975).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 148; 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. 77.

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