Tuesday 15 March 2016


PERETS HIRSHBEYN (PERETZ HIRSCHBEIN) (November 7, 1880-August 16, 1948)
            He was born at a water mill (Lipe’s Mill) about three kilometers from the small town of Kleszczele, between Bielsk and Visoko-Litovsk, in Grodno Province of what had been Russia.  His father Lipe the Milner was a reticent man; growing up, he had been told numerous frightful stories, which had turned him into a very quiet man.  Hirshbeyn’s mother Sheyne was a patient woman and was forever anxious about her four children.  She gave birth in her life to eleven children, four of them with her first husband, all of whom died, and for that reason she was compelled to demand a divorce, and seven with Lipe the Milner, three of whom also died.  In his sixth year they turned Perets over to a teacher of young children in Kleszczele, whence someone from the household would take him on foot.  He walked to his Torah teacher twice each day on his own amid “the town marketplace and the rabbi’s street” to the elementary school.  He studied with various teachers in Kleszczele and Brisk (Brest) until his bar-mitzvah, and afterward he went with his mother on foot (over twelve versts [about thirteen kilometers]) to the town of her birth Milejczyce, where he began to study “away from home,” eat at others’ homes, and sleep on a hard bench.  That summer there arrived in Milejczyce a wandering book salesman from whom Hirshbeyn saw for the first time in his life among the Pentateuchs, holiday prayer books, and prayer books for women written in “zhargonish” (Yiddish), storybooks by Shomer (Nokhum Meyer Shaykevitsh), Ozer Bloshteyn, Ayzik-Meyer Dik, Shiye Mezakh, and others.  With his few saved pennies, he bought a small book of poems by Elyokim Tsunzer, read through his “Di sokhe” (The hook plough) and “Shivas tsien” (Return to Zion), and surreptitiously attempted to sing them to melodies he devised.  From the bookseller he learned for the first time that, outside this small town, there lay a great world, and he set out wandering from town to town until he arrived in Orle (Orlova), where he came to a synagogue study hall and soon befriended another zealot, a child prodigy, somewhat older than he was.  This was “Yitskhok, the rabbi’s son”—Yitskhok Pribulski, author of poetry in Yiddish—the son of the now deceased rabbi.  Thanks to Yitskhok, Hirshbeyn became acquainted with Hebrew literature, turned against speculative religious texts, and on his own began to write poetry in Hebrew.  From Orle, Hirshbeyn left for Brisk where he continued his studies in a minor synagogue study hall and in the evenings quietly read books in Yiddish.  A bit later he left for Grodno and from there to the town of Kuznitse (Kurenets) to see Yitskhok who was now married, and with him he spent a long period of time and with his help mastered the Russian language.  At age eighteen he moved on to Vilna, slept in a synagogue there, suffered pangs of hunger, assembled in the cobblers’ synagogue a group of yeshiva students (dubbed “Tora mitsiyon” [Torah from Mt. Zion]), and with them studied Tanakh, Hebrew grammar, and Jewish history—and wrote Hebrew poetry.  One of the members of the group, Eltshik, both a prodigy and a follower of the Jewish Enlightenment, introduced him to the Vilna writers in Hamelits (The advocate) and Hatsfira (The siren), who praised Hirshbeyn’s poems and encouraged him to write and send his poetry somewhere to be published.  This, he did.  Meanwhile, he became ill and returned home to the mill to recover somewhat.  When he returned to Vilna, he discovered in Dovid Frishman’s Hador (The generation)—Cracow, issue 20 (May 16, 1901)—his first published poem, “Gaguim” (Yearning) which he signed “Perets Hirshenbeyn.”  This poem made him well-known among Jewish youth in Vilna.
            He became a Hebrew teacher, gave private lessons, and also taught “Hebrew in Hebrew” with groups of girls in the Yehudiya schools which the “daughters of Zion” managed in various parts of the city.  He also ran an illegal circle for working boys and girls in a basement lodging in Zarechie.  In 1902 he published in the literary supplement put out by Hamelits, second section, his poem “Bakatsir” (At the harvest).  At that time he also composed stories in Yiddish which were, however, not published.  One winter’s evening, a fortuitous meeting with a young, female, Jewish street urchin made such a huge impression on him that he decided on his own to descend from the lyrical poetry pathway and begin to write about real life.  Thus was born in Hebrew his first three-act drama, Miriam, which when it was staged several years later in Yiddish translation in a Yiddish theater in Buenos Aires, a hysterical lament erupted among the unhappy, deluded young women who filled the theater at that time.  That same winter, Hirshbeyn also wrote (again in Hebrew) a four-act drama Shevarim (Pieces), which depicted the inner tragedy of the intellectual who cannot win the trust of the masses—translated into Yiddish under the title Der inteligent (The intellectual), three acts, published in 1907 by the publishing house of Yavneh and in 1914 by Gitlin; in 1919 it was brought out by Meyer Goldfayn publishers; and there was a Russian translation as well.  In the summer of 1904, Hirshbeyn came to Warsaw for the first time, where Y. L. Perets closely befriended him and brought him together with Khayim Nakhmen Bialik.  He also at this time became acquainted in Warsaw with the Hebrew novelist Y. Bershadski.  Back in Vilna, he wrote the drama Holkhim vekavim (Slowing going out), which together with Miriam was published in 1905 in the Vilna monthly Hazman (The time) whose literary editor at the time was Y. D. Berkovitsh.  In 1906 Miriam was also published in Yiddish in Idisher kemfer [Jewish fighter] in New York; later, Hirshbeyn himself translated it into Yiddish with the title Barg arop (Downhill).  Holkhim vekavim was translated into Yiddish by A. A. Ben Gur—Arn Hurvits—under the title Vayte un noente (Far and near), and it was published by the Bundist publisher “Di velt” (The world), Vilna, 1906, 69 pp.  Later, Hirshbeyn translated it himself with the title Vu dos lebn fargeyt (Where life passes by).  In the summer of 1905, Hirshbeyn wrote the four-act play Nevela (Carcass)—published in Hazman, then under the editorship of Dovid Frishman.  Realistic, with strong dramatic action, Nevela in its Yiddish translation [Di neveyle] had a powerful, persistent success on the stage.  Over the 1905-1906 winter, he wrote a one-act play, Olamot bodedim (Lonely worlds)—in Yiddish: Eynzame veltn (Vilna: Di velt, 1906), 16 pp.—the last work that he would initially write in Hebrew and the first of a new genre in his oeuvre.  In the spring of 1906 he wrote his first drama from the start in Yiddish: Af yener zayt taykh (On the other side of the river), which was published in Dos yidishe folk (The Jewish people) (Vilna, 1906)—a three-act symbolist play.  In 1906 Hirshbeyn published in the Territorialist weekly Der nayer veg (The new road) his own translation of Nevela and his symbolist one-act play Kvorim-blumen (Grave flowers).  At that time he also composed the three-act dramatic poem Demerung (Twilight)—he later changed its title to Tsvishn tog un nakht (Between day and night)—a symbolist allusion to international catastrophe and world revolution.  At Perets’s suggestion, Hirshbeyn once again made his way to Warsaw and from there to Berlin, where he spent several months (1907) and wrote the three-act drama Di erd (The earth).  Back in Vilna, he composed the dramatic study In der fintster (In the dark) (Vilna: Di velt, 1907), 20 pp.  That same year he traveled to St. Petersburg, where they were at the time publishing a volume of his plays in Russian with the title Odinokie miry (Lonely worlds), 197 pp.—in addition to Eynzame veltn, it also included In der fintster, Krovim-blumen, and Af yener zayt taykh—in an authorized translation by Anna Brumberg and L. Trivush, published by the organization “Izdatel′skoie byuro” in 1908.  While in St. Petersburg, he wrote his popular drama Der tkies-kaf (The handshake), a theme similar to An-sky’s Dibek (Dybbuk) which had a major impact on local writers, and people compared it with L. Andreev’s collection Shipovnik (Dog rose) (1909).  He also began to write some poetry and prose there—Vanderer-troymer (Wanderer-dreamer), published in Literarishe monatshriftn (Literary monthly) (Vilna, 1908).
            In the spring of 1908, Hirshbeyn came to Odessa, settled by the sea, and wrote his play Yoyel (Joel).  Meanwhile, the director Dovid Herman summoned him to Lodz where he was staging Der tkies-kaf and wanted Hirshbeyn to be nearby and help with the play.  In Lodz he and Herman came up with the idea of creating their own theater, but he was called back to Odessa where the Russian director Konstantin Mardzhanov was staging in Russian at the state theater Hirshbeyn’s play Af yener zayt taykh.  At the initiative of Kh. N. Bialik, B. Shafir, the student Vaysblat (later, known as the poetic reciter and writer “Verite”), and a group of Jewish students from the Odessa drama conservatory, that fall they founded the “Drama Troupe under the Direction of Perets Hirshbeyn”—the Hirshbeyn Troupe—with the aim of literary plays and raising the artistic level of Yiddish theater.  The troupe consisted of a couple of amateurs, several students from the Russian conservatory (among them later to become distinguished were Leye Nomi-Kugel, Sonya Orlovskaia, and others), and some professional actors (Yankev Shchirin and later: Yankev Ben-Ami, Lazar Frid, Volf Zilberberg, and later still was added Sh. Kutner, among others).  Among the plays in the troupe’s repertoire were: Hirshbeyn’s Di neveyle, Yoyel, and Der tkies-kaf; B. Shafir’s Avroml der shuster (Little Abraham the cobbler); Sholem Asch’s Mitn shtrom (With the stream), Got fun nekome (God of vengeance), and Yikhes (Pedigree); Sholem-Aleykhem’s Tseteyt un tseshpreyt (Scattered far and wide) and Mentshn (People); Dovid Pinski’s Yankl der shmid (Yankl the smith) and Ayzik sheftl (Isaac Sheftel); Yankev Gordin’s Got, mentsh un tayvl (God, man, and devil); and several translations, including Semyon Yushkevich’s In shtot (In the city [original: V gorode]) and Heiermann’s Geto (Ghetto).  Over the course of just two years, the troupe traveled in turn through various cities in southern Russia, Byelorussia, and Lithuania, and everywhere they were received with great enthusiasm.  The troupe had particularly bad fortune, against all expectations, at their ten performances in Warsaw in February 1910.  Hirshbeyn felt spiritually incapable of continuing with the troupe, and it lasted a brief time without him, before they soon called him back.  He came and joined in, but in Dvinsk the troupe fell apart (July 10, 1910).
            In late summer 1910, Hirshbeyn was in Bobruisk and began writing his three-act play Bam breg (At the shore), and under the influence of Tolstoy’s dramatic flight from Yasnaia Polyana, he did a series of translations from “Prince Nekhlyudov’s diaries”[1] (Warsaw: Shreberk Publ., 1912).  From winter to fall, 1911, Hirshbeyn wore high waterproof boots as he set out with Mendl Elkin (his friend of many years) to raft across the Dnieper River from Bykhov, Mogilev district, to Ekaterinoslav.  He spent eight weeks on this semi-fantastic trip traveling on in a canoe to Kiev where he met with Yiddish writers (Dovid Bergelson, M. Litvakov, N. Mayzil, and Volf Latsky-Bertoldi).  From Ekaterinoslav, he went to Odessa, from there to Warsaw, and then on to Vienna, Paris, London, and Liverpool to New York where he arrived for the first time in November 1911.  In January 1912 in New York, he wrote Di puste kretshme (The haunted Inn), a popular drama in four acts, which later became one of the most popular and most successful works on the Yiddish stage in Europe and America.  Personally, nothing went well for him in this “new home”—he simply had nothing to live on, and in the summer of 1912 he went to work on a farm in the Catskill Mountains where he wrote Dos kind fun der velt (The child of the world), a symbolist drama about the double life that men lead in our society.  Back in New York, that year he wrote A farvorfn vinkl (A forgotten corner), a play in four acts, once again with the same realism, mixed with hidden popular mysticism.  In autumn 1913 he returned to Europe, and Mendl Elkin established for him in Vilna the publishing house of Menakhem and brought out Hirshbeyn’s Mayn bukh (My book).  The anxiety and desire to continue his wandering got the better of him, and in the fall of 1914 he left for Argentina and traveled there over land until the outbreak of WWI; he was then on a British vessel on its way back to North America.  En route the German battleship Karlsruhe sank the British ship, and Hirshbeyn and other passengers were held captive.  After lying around for ten days on a transport vessel loaded with coal, ultimately in November 1914 he was returned to New York once again.
            In 1914 the daily Yiddish newspaper, Der tog (The day), was founded in New York; Hirshbeyn soon became a regular contributor and published in it the majority of what he would write over the rest of his life.  He began with the impressions from his travels in South America—which later appeared in book form as Fun vayte lender (From distant countries)—which with its exceeding freshness and poetic charm made an enormous impression on readers.  In the summer of 1915 Der tog sent him to the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco.  That summer he also wrote the dramatic village tale, Elyohu hanovi (Elijah the prophet)—published in Tsukunft (Future) in New York (1915)—the idyll Bebele in Tsukunft (September 1915), the one-act popular idyll Roshinkes mit mandlen (Raisins and almonds) in Tsukunft (November 1915), and the three-act play A lebn far a lebn (A life for a life), also concerned with the village environment.  He traveled a great deal in those days through the United States and was well received by audiences for his original lectures (the descriptions of his travels were later, 1918, published in his volume, Iber amerike [Across America]).  At the time he also wrote the one-act plays: Afn shvel (At the threshold), A zaverukhe (A blizzard), and Ven es falt der toy (When the dew falls), as well as his celebrated works for the stage Dem shmids tekhter (The smith’s daughters) and Grine felder (Green fields), which (together with Di puste kretshme and A farvorfn vinkl) introduced a fresh current into Yiddish dramatic literature and established Yiddish theatrical art at a high level.  At the end of 1918 Maurice Schwartz staged with great success A farforfn vinkl and Dem shmids tekhter, and this launched the Yiddish Art Theater in America.  In 1921 Rudolph Schildkraut staged Hirshbeyn’s A lebn far a lebn, and in 1922 Bertha Kalish enacted his symbolist play Dos kind fun der velt.  The Vilna Troupe (founded in Vilna in 1916 during the German occupation) performed with extraordinary success his popular plays in Europe.  In 1918 during a trip through western Canada, Hirshbeyn met his destined beloved in the town of Calgary, the poetess Esther Shumiatcher, and in late 1920 he and his wife set off on a lengthy voyage through Australia and South Africa.  The trip took about two years, and his descriptions of the trip were included in his Iber der velt (Across the world)—Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.  Meanwhile he published: A kholem fun der tsayt (A dream of the times) (New York: Idishe literatur farlag, 1919); Tsvey shtet (Two cities), Tsukunft (October-December 1919); and the three-act play In shotn fun doyres (In the shadow of generations), in the collection Shriftn (Writings) (New York, Autumn 1921).  After he returned from this voyage, he published, in Tsukunft 6-8 (1923), his “Epilogue in Three Acts”—Leyvi Yitskhok, the last part of his Grine felder trilogy; and the “Story in Six Scenes”—Sheydim veysn vos (Demons know what), in Tsukunft 3-5 (1924), which was staged in November 1924 at the Yiddish Art Theater (directed by Maurice Schwartz).  He was a member that year of the organization committee of the “Yiddish Theater Society” in New York and thereafter of the Arts Council of the troupe “Unzer teater” (Our theater) created by the Society; and he co-directed An-sky’s Tog un nakht (Day and night), adapted by Dovid Pinski and Mendl Lefin, according to fragments left by the author.  Hirshbeyn also helped with the staging of A. Raboy’s Shtekhik drot (Barbed wire) with the same troupe.  In January 1925 Tsukunft carried his dramatic poem Di moyz mitn glekl (The mouse with a bell), and in May 1925 he and his wife set off on their second lengthy voyage, this time truly a world tour which lasted about five years and included South Africa (a second time), Japan, China, India, Israel, Soviet Russia, and various countries in Europe.  The literary products from this trip were two volumes of travel narratives—Erets-yisroel (The land of Israel) and Indye (India)—as well as the book Shvartsbrukh (Black ploughed earth) which included descriptions, stories, and monologues from life amid the Soviet Jewish colonization of southern Russia.  This new life of these Jewish migrants in Soviet Russia also served as artistic material for his subsequent novel Royte felder (Red fields).  In November 1929 he returned to the United States and took up a new realm of writing—artistic memoirs and great prose novels.  He was almost completely done with the writing of plays; his last dramatic works were: Hent (Hands), “a play in three acts and seven scenes” (published in Yidishe velt [Jewish world] in 1928); Afn letstn yarid (At the last fair), “from the life and struggle of Jewish migrants in the Soviet Union” (included in the repertoire of the Yiddish State Theater in Ukraine); and a series of plays, dramatic poems, and a Biblical tragedy, Der ershter meylekh fun yisroel (The first king of Israel)—all of which remain in manuscript.  In 1932 he opened a new road of artistic memoirs with the book, Mayne kinder-yorn (My childhood years) which described his youth through the beginning of his life as a writer; his subsequent memoirs may be found in his In gang fun lebn (In the course of life), one part of which appeared in 1948 and a second part, fully prepared for the publisher, remains in manuscript.  In 1935 his two-volume novel Royte felder and in 1942 his trilogy Bovl (Babylonia), a challenge to describe the multiform life of a Jewish family from the survival of the Jewish people (in 1882) on the East Side of New York through the beginning of WWII, were published.  From 1934 when the Hirshbeyns’ son Omus (Amos) was born until 1940, he was regular resident of New York City.  Thereafter he started on another trip across the states and Canada, and at the end of 1940 he made his permanent home in Los Angeles.  In September 1941 the “Oyfboy-grupe” (Construction group) in Los Angeles celebrated Hirshbeyn’s sixtieth birthday at the Wilshire Avenue Theater, and for the celebration they brought out two special publications dedicated to the honoree—see bibliography below concerning these works.  Beginning on November 23, 1947, he began to serially publish in Tog in New York his novel Af fremde vegn (On foreign roads), “a novel of Jewish life in America” (publication of the novel was completed on September 26, 1948, after the author’s death).  During his last three years, Hirshbeyn suffered from a severe illness in his spinal cord.  He died in Los Angeles.
            Hirshbeyn’s writings were published and republished in a variety of newspapers and by various publishing houses.  Some of them were also translated into several languages.  A bibliography of the different editions of his thirty-eight plays in Yiddish, as well as the translations into Hebrew, Russian, German, and English (Lupus Blumenfeld translated his Tsum breytn veg [Toward a wide road] into French in Anthologie des conteurs yidisch [Paris, 1922]), can be found in Z. Zilbertsvayg’s Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1 (New York, 1931), pp. 613-28.  In book form, there are collections of his plays as well as his prose writings published in the following editions: Fun veg tsu veg (From road to road) (Warsaw: Progres, 1911), 122 pp.—including the plays Afn sheydveg (At a crossroads), Bam breg, and Der letster (The last one), all later reprinted in his Gezamlte dramen (Collected plays); Leo Tolstoy, Geklibene shriftn (Selected writings), translated into Yiddish by Hirshbeyn, with a foreword by Sh. Gorelik, “from Prince Nekhlyudov’s diary—‘Lyutsern’ (Lucerne), ‘Korney Vasiliev,’ ‘Shvester’ (Sister), ‘Dray toytn’ (Three deaths [original: ‘Tri smerti’]), ‘Di muter’ (The mother [original: ‘Mat′’]), ‘Molitva’ (Prayer), ‘Albert’ (original: ‘Al′bert’), and ‘A shneyshturm’ (A snowstorm [original: ‘Metel′’])” (Vilna: Sh. Shreberk, 1912), 215 pp.; Dramen (Dramas)—Yoyel, Di erd, and Di tkies-kaf—(Vilna: Progres, 1913), 176 pp.; Mayn bukhVanderer-troymer, Tsvishn tog un nakht, Farlangen (Desires), and the dramatic dialogue Tsum breytn veg—(Vilna: Menakhem, 1913), 168 pp., reissued (Vilna: Kletskin, 1914); Farn morgnshtern (For the morning star) (New York, 1918), 98 pp., reissued (Vilna: Kletskin, 1923), 98 pp.; Fun vayte lender—argentine, brazil, yuni-november, 1914 (From distant countries—Argentina, Brazil, June-November 1914) New York, 1956), 256 pp.; Gezamlte dramen (Collected dramas) (New York: Literary-dramatic societies of America, 1916), five volumes: (1) Rozhinkes mit mandlen, Afn shvel, Bebele, A zaverukhe, Eynzame veltn, Elyohu hanovi, Ven es falt der toy, In der fintster, Funken (Sparks), and Kvorim-blumen—all one act plays—and A lebn far a lebn in three acts; (2) Di puste kretshme, Dem shmids tekhter, and A farvorfn vinkl; (3) Der letster, Bam breg, Der tkies-kaf, and Dos kind fun der velt; (4) Khave (Eve [Yoyel]), Di neveyle, Di erd, Tsvishn tog un nakh, and Afn sheydveg; (5) Barg arop (Miriam), Vu dos lebn fargeyt (Where life ends), Vayte un noente (Far and near), Af yener zayt taykh, and Grine felder; Iber amerike (New York: Literarisher Farlag, 1918), 237 pp.; Mayselekh (Stories), earlier published in Yiddish children’s magazines in New York, with drawings by Z. Moud (New York: Yidish, 1919), 32 pp.; Eynakters (One-act plays) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1922), 311 pp.—including the same one-act plays as in volume 1 of Gezamlte dramen, plus the one-act play Frost-blumen (Frost flowers); Elnt un noyt (Lonesome and in need) (Vilna: Kletskin, 1923), 306 pp.—including Miriam, Vu dos lebn fargeyt, An iberiker mentsh (An eternal person), Eynzame veltn, and In der fintster; A mayse mit a ber (A story with a bear) (New York: Matones, 1925), 40 cols., drawings by B. Aronson, cover by A. Gudlman; A mayse mit a kamilyon (A story with a chameleon) (New York: Matones, 1925), 24 cols., drawings and cover by A. Gudlman; Arum der velt, rayze-ayndrukn, 1920-1922 (Around the world, travel impressions, 1920-1922), “from Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa” (New York: Literatur, 1927), 240 pp.; Ale verk fun perets hirshbeyn (Collected works of Perets Hirshbeyn) (Vilna: Kletskin, 1929-1930): (vol. 1) Vintmiln (Windmills), Di puste kretshme, A lebn far a lebn, and Der tkies-kaf; (2) Erets-yisroel, travel descriptions), 237 pp.; (3) Indye, 292 pp.—published in Moscow by Central Publishers under the title Garbn fun shtilshvaygn (Sheaves of silence), 279 pp., in Hebrew under the title Hodu (India), translated by Uri Zvi Grinberg (Tel Aviv: Mitspe, 1931), 216 pp.; (4) Felker un lender, new edition of Arum der velt; (5) Grine felder trilogye (Green fields trilogy)—Grine felder, Tsvey shtet, and Leyvi yitskhok—285 pp.; (6) A farvorfn vinkl—including Dos shmids tekhter, A farvorfn vinkl, and Sheydim veysn vos—319 pp.; (7) Shvartsbrukh, tsen khadoshim mit yidishe ibervanderer in ratn-farband, agai, krim, 1928-1929 (Black ploughed earth, ten months with Jewish migrants in the Soviet Union, the Aegean, and Crimea, 1928-1929), 330 pp.; Mayne kinder-yorn (Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, 1932), 356 pp.; Royte felder (New York, 1935), vol. 1 Baginen (Dawn), 415 pp., vol. 2 Erd un heym (Earth and home), 447 pp.; Dales, bild (Poverty, a scene) (Vilna: Naye yidishe shul, 1938), 7 pp.; Monologn (Monologues) (Chicago: M. Stein, 1939), 136 pp.; Bovl, a trilogy (New York, 1942), vol. 1 Goles (Exile), 436 pp., vol. 2 Tserisene vortslen (Shredded roots), 446 pp.; vol. 3 Bovl, 468 pp.; In gang fun lebn (New York: CYCO, 1948), 448 pp.; “New edition of Hirshbeyn’s works” published by “Perets Hirshbeyn book committee” (New York-Los Angeles, 1951): (1) Mayne kinder-yorn (a reissue of the Warsaw edition of 1923); (2) Eynakters (reissue of the Kultur-lige edition of 1922 in Warsaw); (3) Grine felder trilogy (Vilna edition of 1929); (4) Dramen (vol. 2 of his Gezamlte shriftn); (5) Erets-yisroel Vilna edition of 1929).  In addition to their appearance in Tog, Hirshbeyn published his travel writings in Fraye arbeter shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York, Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, and elsewhere.


Hirshbeyn and his wife

Sources: The literature on Hirshbeyn is rich but scattered, and there is no systematic Hirshbeyn bibliography.  Recently, the following works have appeared: (1) an autobiographical letter from Hirshbeyn to Yokhanen Tverski (a response to a private questionnaire), in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 2 (1949); (2) Hirshbeyn’s letters to Yoysef Opatoshu (written at various times), in Tint un feder (Toronto) (September 1950); (3) his letters to N. Mayzil, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (August-September 1951).  The best material on Hirshbeyn until 1920 or so can be found in his volumes of memoirs (Mayne kinder-yorn and In gang fun lebn).  Many biographical and critical materials on Hirshbeyn may be found in the jubilee volume Perets Hirshbeyn (Perets Hirshbeyn), edited by Shmuel Niger and published in 1941 (328 pp.), and it included biographical, bibliographical, literary critical, and memoiristic articles by: Y. Ofman, Arn Tsaytlin (a poem for Hirshbeyn), Shmuel Niger, B. Rivkin, Osip Dimov, H. Royznblat, Meylekh Ravitsh, Dovid Pinski, H. Leivick, Y. Opatoshu, Menakhem Boreysho, Kadye Molodovski, Dovid Ignatov, Khayim Grinberg, A. Glants-Leyeles, Borekh Glazman, Shloyme Saymon, Danyel Tsharni (Daniel Charney), Dr. Sh. Margoshes, B. Lapin, Avrom Reyzen, Mendl Elkin, Yoyel Entin, Maurice Schwartz, Mark Shveyd, Ludvig Zats, Misha Fishzon, A. Bresler, Lazar Vayner, M. Kastof, and Moyshe Shtarkman.  Aside from the above, see: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (with a bibliography); Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater, vol. 1 (with a longer bibliography); B. Smolyar, “Perets hirshbeyn in moskve” (Perets Hirshbeyn in Moscow), Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 13 (1934); Literarishe bleter 5 (1932), devoted to Hirshbeyn’s fiftieth birthday, with articles by: N. Mayzil, Y. M. Nayman, B. Kletskin, Daniel Charney, Mark Ornshteyn, Shloyme Kutner, Lazar Kahan, Tsili Adler, M. Ravitsh, A. Tsaytlin, and Zigmunt Turkov; Shmuel Niger, in Literarishe bleter 13 (1934); Niger, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (New York) (January 10 and January 17, 1954); K. Molodovski, in Literarishe bleter (November 26, 1937); Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort un teater in argentine (The published Yiddish word and theater in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), pp. 51-54, 152, 160, 207-8, 251; L. Fogelman, in Tsukunft (New York) (December 1941); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, Detaln un sakhaklen, kritishe un polemishe bamerkungen (Details and sum totals, critical and polemical observations) (New York, 1943), pp. 84, 229; Y. Y. Sigal, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (October 24, 1944; August 23, 1948); D. Ignatov, “A kapitl yunge” (A young chapter), Tsukunft (December 1944); N. Mayzil, Forgeyer un mittsayler (Forerunner and contemporary) (New York, 1946), pp. 265-74; Mayzil (concerning Bovl), in Ikuf (Buenos Aires) (September 1948); Yidishe kultur (New York) (September 1948), with articles by: Sholem Asch, Z. Vaynper, N. Mayzil, and Yankev Mestel; A. Zak, in Kiem (Paris) (September-October 1948); Y. Segal, “Perets hirshbeyns ‘grine felder’ in vilner geto” (Perets Hirshbeyn’s Grine felder in the Vilna ghetto), Tsukunft (October 1948); D. Pinski, in Tsukunft (October 1948); M. Knapheys, in Dos naye lebn (Lodz) 64 (233) (1948); Y. M. Sherman, “Perets hirshbeyn in dorem-afrike” (Perets Hirshbeyn in South Africa), Dorem afrike (Johannesburg) (October 1948); Roza Shomer-Batshelis, “Di perets hirshbeyn-geshtalt” (The image of Perets Hirshbeyn), Yidishe kultur (October 1948); P. Kats, in Ikuf (October-November 1948); Y. Ts. Sharger, “Perets hirshbeyn in erets-yisroel” (Perets Hirshbeyn in the land of Israel), Nayvelt (Tel Aviv) 63 (1948); Y. Entin, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (February 11, February 18, and February 25, 1949); Dr. Mikhl (Ernst) Miller, “Mayne zikhroynes vegn perets hirshbeyn” (My memories of Perets Hirshbeyn), Loshn un lebn (London) (February 1949); Kh. Kon, “Zikhroynes vegn perets hirshbeyn” (Memories of Perets Hirshbeyn), Naye prese (Paris) (March 12, 1949); Kon, in Forverts (New York) (September 20, 1956); Moyshe Vaysman, “Zikhroynes vegn perets hirshbeyn” (Memories of Perets Hirshbeyn), in: (1) Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (October 27, 1950); (2) his Fun nekhtn un haynt (From yesterday and today) (Ontario, California, 1956), pp. 121-28; (3) Fraye arbeter shtime (February 1, 1952); and (4) Fraye arbeter shtime (November 15, 1958); B. Rivkin, Undzere prozaiker (Our prose writers) (New York, 1951), see index; M. Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (November 26, 1951; October 30, 1958); Y. Botoshanski, Pshat (Exegesis) (Buenos Aires, 1952); Sh. Perlmuter, Yidishe dramaturgn un teater-kompozitorn (Yiddish playwrights and theatrical composers) (New York, 1952); H. Abramovitsh, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (August 16, 1953); Y. Mestl, 70 yor teater-repertuar (Seventy years of theater repertoire) (New York, 1954), see index; Mestl, in Yidishe kultur (August-September 1958); M. Yardeni, in Keneder odler (February 14, 1954); Yardeni, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (November 5, 1955); Dr. N. Sverdlin, in Tog-morgn zhurnal (April 26, 1956); D. Ignatov, Opgerisene bleter, eseyen, farblibene ksovim un fragmentn (Torn off sheets, essays, extant writings, and fragments) (Buenos Aires: Yidbukh, 1957), pp. 99-106; A. Almi, In gerangl fun ideyen (In the struggle of ideas) (Buenos Aires, 1957), pp.10-21; Tsili Adler, in Forverts (March 30, 1958); S. Kahan, in Di shtime (July 11, 1958); M. Ravina, in Hapoel hatsair (Tel Aviv) (October 8, 1958); Sh. D. Zinger, in Unzer veg (New York) (October 1958); Z. Vaynper, Shrayber un kinstler (Writers and artists) (New York, 1958); Meyer Braun, Mit yidishe oygn (With Jewish eyes) (New York, 1958), see index; L. Feldman, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (April 1959); Tsili adler dertseylt (Celia Adler recounts) (New York, 1959), see index.
Yitskhok Kharlash

[1] Prince Nekhlyudov is the central character in Tolstoy’s great novel, Resurrection. (JAF)

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