Sunday 31 January 2016


MOTL GRUVMAN (1916-1988)

            He was a poet, born in Nemirov (Nemyriv), Ukraine. After graduating from the local school, he moved to Kharkov and studied in the Jewish division of the Journalistic Technicum; after subsequently graduating from the Economic Technicum, he went to work as an economist. He was drafted into the military in 1937, where he experienced the path of a soldier through the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1938 he took part in the battle at Lake Khasan. Beginning in 1941, he was at the WWII front, and after demobilization he settled in Leningrad, later moving to Novgorod. Over the course of many years, he worked in the bookselling system. He debuted in literature in 1930 in the Kharkov Yiddish newspaper Yung gvardye (Young guard). He was later a regular author for Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow. The main motifs of his poetry were war-related themes, philosophical thoughts, and love miniatures. He also penned essays for journals as well as for the newspaper Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star).

            His work includes: a cycle of poetry in Horizontn, fun der haynt-tsaytiker sovetisher yidisher dikhtung (Horizons, from contemporary Soviet Yiddish poetry) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1965); Yorn fun geviter, lider (Years of tempest, poems) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1983), 141 pp. His work also appeared in: Osher shvartsman, zamlung gevidmet dem tsvantsik yortog fun zayn heldishn toyt (Osher Shvartsman, collection dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of his heroic death) (Moscow: Emes, 1940).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 175; 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), pp. 88-89.

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