Tuesday, 17 May 2016


            He was born in Lugyn, Ukraine.  He grew up in the atmosphere of war, revolution, and civil war.  Early on he had to worry about earning a living, and he tried a variety of trades and occupations.  In the early 1920s, when Jewish Communists in Soviet Russia called upon Jews to settle the land, Vaynerman moved to the Jewish colonies in the Kherson district, where he worked in agriculture.  He graduated from the Odessa Pedagogical Institute.  He debuted in print in 1925 with a poem in Der yunger arbeter (The young laborer) in Minsk.  From that point in time, he published poems in Soviet Yiddish periodicals.  His books include: In baheftung, 1925-1928 (United, 1925-1928), poems from the village (Kharkov-Odessa, 1930), 112 pp.; Fishke (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1931), 16 pp.; Erd baneyte (Land renewed) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1932), 32 pp.; Far broyte, lazungen, lider tsum zingen, kolektive deklamatsyes (For bread, slogans, songs to sing, collective declamations) (Kharkov, 1932), 37 pp. Kleyn brigade (Little brigade), children’s stories in verse (Odessa, 1932), 64 pp.; Nakht (Night) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1933), 32 pp.; Goldene tsaygn, poeme (Golden boughs, a poem) (Berdichev, 1935), 236 pp.; In lebn farlibt (In love with the land) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1940), 80 pp.  His work was also included in: Far der bine: dertseylungen, pyeses, lider (For the stage: stories, plays, poems), with musical notation (together with Y. Dobrushin and E. Gordon) (Moscow, 1929); Komyug, literarish-kinstlerisher zamlbukh ([Jewish] Communist Youth, literary-artistic anthology) (Moscow, 1938); Komsomolye (Communist Youth) (Kiev, 1938); and Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932).  From the mid-1930s he was living in Birobidzhan.  With the outbreak of the Soviet-Nazi war, he was mobilized and experienced the war in the army at the front.  After the war he was a correspondent for Eynikeyt (Unity).  In 1950 he was arrested and tried for “economic espionage” on behalf of the United States and sentenced to fifteen years in prison and the Gulag.  He returned to Odessa in 1956, a much disturbed man from these harsh experiences.

Sources: Sh. Epshteyn, in Di royte velt (Kiev) (March 1930); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (September 1930); R. Kahir, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (February 9, 1931); S. Zhukovski, in Pruvn (Attempts) (Kharkov, 1934), p. 210; N. Y. Gotlib, Sovetishe yidishe shrayber (Soviet Yiddish writers) (Montreal, 1934), pp. 42-43; Y. Katsenelson, in Morgn-fraythayt (March 11, 1956); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher shrayber in sovetnfarband (Jewish creation and the Yiddish writer in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 239-40; 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. 139.]

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