Monday, 20 June 2016


            He was born in the town of Babyak (Babiak), Kalish (Kalisz) district, Poland.  He came from a Hassidic family.  His father was a ritual slaughterer and his younger brother the Yiddish writer and journalist, Volf Vevyorke.  Avrom received a strongly religious Jewish education and prepared to become a rabbi.  In his youth he was drawn to the Labor Zionist Party.  He began writing while still young, publishing his first stories and poems in the daily newspaper Der veg (The way) in Warsaw in 1906 and in the weekly Romantsaytung (Fiction newspaper) in Warsaw in 1907.  He moved to Galicia in 1908, and there he devoted himself thoroughly to his literary pursuits, took part in a competition in Idisher vokhnblat (Jewish weekly newspaper) in New York, won the prize for his story “Der bal-tshuve” (The penitent), and from that point forward frequently published his work in a variety of American periodicals.  From 1911 he was a contributor to and for a time literary editor as well of Tog (Day) in Cracow, edited by Yoyne Krepl.  In 1912 he published and edited in Berlin Dos bukh (The book), a “monthly periodical for art and criticism,” in which he published the first chapters of his novel “Der misboyded” (The eremite), also poems and (using the pen names: A. Byelko and Ab״g) current events articles, reviews, notices, and the like.  He later lived in Antwerp and London, where in 1912 he edited a Shvues-blat (Shavuot sheet) and the weekly Dos yudishe vort (The Jewish word).  He placed work in Avrom Reyzen’s Der nayer zhurnal (The new journal) in Paris in 1913, Di tsayt (The times) in London (edited by Morris Meyer), and Dos naye lebn (The new life), “an anthology of literature, art, and criticism” (London, 1916).  That year, 1916, he left for Russia, where in 1917, after the October uprising, he stood with the Bolsheviks.  He worked for a time as a letter censor in the Jewish Commissariat.  In 1920 he moved to Moscow, and there he was a close contributor to Emes (Truth) until 1930.  He also contributed to the collection Shtrom (Current) and other periodicals, and he wrote several plays, such as: Honenkrey, a misterye in tsvey aktn (Cock’s crow, a mystery in two acts), written in verse, in which he depicted the Bolshevik Revolution in the environs of a petit bourgeois Jewish town; 137 kinder heyzer (137 children’s homes), later published in book form with the title Af der grenets (At the border); Naftoli botvin (Naftaly Botvin) of 1929, staged by the Jewish state theater in Moscow and other cities in Russia.  He would later write other plays: Drayendike fligl (The twisted wing), Der step brent (The steppe is burning), A patsh (A slap), Mayn soyne (My enemy), and Di mishpokhe maymon (The family Maymon), among others.  His effort to rehabilitate Shomer’s (Nokhum-Meyer Shaykevitsh) name in Yiddish literature aroused considerable attention and a variety of opinions to his journalistic writings—in connection with Sholem-Aleykhem’s “Shomers mishpet” (Shomer’s trial) of 1888; this effort of his was expressed in a series of articles published in the Soviet and American Yiddish press and later in his book Revizye (Revision) of 1931.
            His books include: Himl un erd (Heaven and earth), Hassidic tales, monologues, and sketches (Lemberg: Kh. Itskovitsh, 1909), 78 pp.; Libshaft (Love), poetry (Cracow: Shulamis, 1911), 80 pp.—in Zalmen Reyzen’s Leksikon, this is listed as Benkshaft (Longing) (Lemberg: Shulamis, 1909), 80 pp.; Baladn (Ballads) (Cracow: Dos bukh, 1912), 49 pp.—including “Di sreyfe” (The blaze), “Der tsadek in tol” (The pious man in the valley), and “Bay di toyern fun roym” (At the gates of Rome); Farloshene likht (Light extinguished), stories of Hassidic life (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1923), 222 pp.; Af a vaysn boym (On a white tree), a play in four acts (Vilna: B. Kletskin, 1923); Honenkrey, a misterye in tsvey aktn (Moscow, 1923), 63 pp.; Der oysleg fun yidish (The spelling of Yiddish) (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1926), 45 pp.; Af der grenets, a comedy in four acts (Moscow, 1928), 69 pp.—staged initially by the Moscow state Yiddish theater on June 8, 1936, as a musical comedy with the title 137 kinder-heyzer; Naftoli botvin, a drama in four acts (Minsk, 1929), 80 pp.—staged first by the Yiddish state theater of Byelorussia on December 12, 1927; Der step brent, a play in three acts (Kiev, 1930), 86 pp.; Revizye (Kharkov-Kiev, 1931), 222 pp.; Unzer yat naftole (Our guy Naftole), “A drama for youngsters, Communist youth, and pioneers,” a reworking of the play Naftoli botvin (Kharkov, 1932), 66 pp.; Yidsektsye mapp (The Jewish section of MAPP [Moskovskaia assotsiatsiia proletarskikh pisatelei, or Moscow association of proletarian writers]), a drama (Kharkov, 1932), 103 pp.; In shturem (Under assault), articles on literature and theater (Kharkov-Kiev, Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1932), 148 pp.; Der stil fun der proletarisher literatur (The style of Proletarian literature) (Kharkov, 1932), 63 pp.; Dramatishe shriftn (Dramatic writings) (Kharkov: Literatur un kunst, 1933), 404 pp.; A kholem in a zumer-nakht (A dram on a summer’s night), a comedy in three acts (Kharkov, 1934), 80 pp.  He also compiled: In shotn fun tlies, almanakh fun der yidisher proletarisher literatur in di kapitalistishe lender (In the shadow of the gallows, an almanac of Yiddish proletarian literature in the capitalist countries) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 347 pp; Der shlogler hot dos vort (The shock troop has the word) (Kharkov-Kiev: Literatur un kunst, 1932), 236 pp.  He translated Upton Sinclair’s Kenig koyl (King coal) (Moscow, 1925), 389 pp.; and Johannes R. Becher’s Maysim maskarad (Tales of masquerade) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1931), 45 pp.; among others.  His work was included in: Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932); Almanakh, fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac, from Soviet Jewish writers to the all-Soviet conference of writers) (Kharkov, 1934); and Der veg fun farat, kamf kegn bundizm un menshevizm in der yidisher proletarisher literatur (The way of betrayal, the struggle against Bundism and Menshevism in Jewish proletarian literature) (Moscow, 1932).  He died of a heart ailment in Kiev.
            His wife ESTHER VEVYORKE, sister of the Soviet Yiddish writer Noyekh Lurye, translated from German into Yiddish: In shotn fun elektrishn shtul (In the shadow of the electric chair [original: Im Schatten des elektrischen Stuhls]) by Hermynia Zur Mühlen (Kiev, 1932), 62 pp., and carried on other literary work in Riga.  Her fate remains unknown after 1948.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 1 (under “Vyevyorka”); Shmuel Niger, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (April 29, 1927); Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (November 1934; January 1947); Niger, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (March 23, 1956); Y. Bronshteyn, in Prolit (Kharkov) (March-April 1930); Avrom Reyzen, in Tsukunft (August 1930; February 1931); M. Khashtshevatski, in Di royte velt (Kharkov) (August 1931); A. Glants, in Tog (New York) (May 17, 1932); M. Viner, in Farn leninishn etap in der literatur-kritik (For the Leninist stage in literary criticism) (Kiev, 1932); Viner, in Shtern (Minsk) (April-May 1932); Viner and A. Gurshteyn, in Problemen fun kritik (Issues in criticism) (Moscow, 1933); M. Olgin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (February 11, 1933); N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband in 1932 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1934) (Minsk, 1933), p. 91 (concerning Esther Vevyorke); Avrom Abtshuk, Etyudn un materialn tsu der geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur bavegung in FSRR (Studies and material for the history of the Yiddish literature movement in the Soviet Union) (Kharkov, 1934), pp. 25, 27-29, 50-51, 66; B. Glozman, in Idisher kemfer (October 4, 1940); D. Tsharni (Charney), A yortsendlik aza, 1914-1924, memuarn (Such a decade, 1914-1924, memoirs) (New York, 1943); E. Almi, Momentn fun a lebn (Moments in a life) (Buenos Aires, 1948), pp. 103-53; H. Vaynroykh, Blut af der zun, yidn in sovet-farband (Blood on the sun, Jews in the Soviet Union) (Brooklyn, 1950), p. 49; Al, Pomerants, in Dovid edelshtat gedenk-bukh (Dovid Edelshtot memory book) (New York, 1952), pp. 535-40, 543, 546; Pomerants, in Literarishe bleter (January 3, 1936); Pomerants, in Signal (New York) (January 1936); Pomerants, in Forverts (New York) (March 1, 1959); Ts. Kahan, in Tshenstokhov (Częstochowa), ed. Sh. D. Zinger (New York, 1958), with a bibliography prepared by Yefim Yeshurin, pp. 121-24; 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; A. A. Roback. The Story of Jewish Literature (New York, 1940).
Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 249.]


  1. "Johannes R. Becher’s Maysim maskarad (Tales of masquerade) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1931), 45 pp." is rather Meysim-maskarad (Masquerade of the dead) = Маскарад мёртвых. Hebrew word "metim" is written in Yiddish pronunciation "meysim".
    יאהאנעס בעכער; פונ דײטש - א. װעװיארקא