Friday 20 May 2016


ARYE-LEYB VAYNSHTEYN (d. November 11, 1944)
            He was born in Vilna.  He was a member of Bogrim-gedud (Adult battalion) of the Vilna Hashomer Hatsair (The young guard).  He was a student in the humanities faculty in Vilna University.  He began writing poetry in high school, but he was especially creative during the Holocaust years.  Together with his younger brother, Kopl, he was confined in the Bialystok ghetto and belonged to the fighting group of Hashomer (The guard).  He wrote lyrical poetry about war, struggle, and the sad loss of Jewish power against the merciless enemy, and his brother Kopl composed music for the poems.  He also composed a march for the poem “Stalingrad” which Vaynshteyn wrote during the siege of Stalingrad, and with Kopl’s piano accompaniment, they sang the march at a large children’s concert in the ghetto.  Arye-Leyb also kept a diary and collected materials for an archive of the Nazi occupation of Bialystok.  These materials, together with his poems, were left somewhere buried in the Bialystok ghetto.  Both brothers were successful at making their way into the woods to the partisans.  Arye-Leyb even managed to bring with him his diary and poems.  He was, though, sick, exhausted, and broken.  On November 4, the Germans encircled the partisan dugouts where he and a band of partisans were situated, and they all died in the fighting.  His brother also died in the forest at a later date.  According to the testimony of Moyshe Bukh, who know Vaynshteyn in the ghetto, five poems by Jack Gordon which were published in Sh. Katsherginski’s anthology, Lider fun di getos un lagern (Poems from the ghettos and camps) (New York, 1948), were identical with a number of the poems by the murdered Vaynshteyn.

Sources: Khayke Grosman, Anshe hamaḥteret (People in the underground) (Merḥavya, 1950), pp. 107-8 374, 401; B. Mark, Der oyfshtand in byalistoker geto (The uprising in the Bialystok ghetto) (Warsaw, 1950), pp. 150-51; Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), pp. 198-99, 200.
Leyzer Ran

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