KHAYIM GUREVITSH (b. 1916)
He was a poet and prose author, born in Starobin, Byelorussia, into the family of a wagon driver. He graduated from the local Jewish school and later from a medical practicum but showed no interest in working in that line. He went to serve in the military and took part in WWII. In the 1950s he lived and worked in Birobidzhan, later moving to Novosibirsk. His first poems were published in 1934 in the journal Shtern (Star) in Minsk, in the newspapers Oktyabr (October) and Der yunger arbeter (The young laborer), and later in Birebidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star). In 1940, he and the poets Itshe Borukhovitsh, Shimen Leltshuk, and Pinye Plotkin published with the Byelorussian State Publishers “Literatura i mastetstvo” (Literature and art) a collection entitled Lirik (Lyric), which received a good response. The subsequent poetic pathway for the young poet was for a long period of time cut short, and his poems and stories again emerged in the 1960s in the Moscow journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland). The main theme of his later poetry was the life and conditions of Siberian Jewry, who remained living in that region ever since the evacuation of western districts and the war years, as well as their memories linking them to Byelorussia. In 1993 he made aliya to Israel and settled in the city of Beersheva.
His books include: Lider-zamlung (Poetry collection) (Minsk: State Publ., 1940), 91 pp., with Itshe Borukhovitsh, Shimen Leltshuk, and Pinye Plotkin; Af sibirer erd (On Siberian soil) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1980), 59 pp.; Noente vaytn lider (Poems far and near) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1986), 140 pp.; A blits a tsetsvaygter (A flash, a divergence), poetry (Tel Aviv, 1997). His work was also included in: Kinder-shafung (Children’s creation) (Odessa: Kinder farlag, 1935); Horizontn (Horizons) (Moscow, 1965).
Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 155; additional information from: 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), pp. 80-81.