Sunday 26 June 2016


SHMUEL VERITE (b. January 10, 1901)

            A prose author and writer on current events, he was born in the colony of Dombraveni, Bessarabia (Moldova), into a family of tobacco planters. Although some believe “Shmuel Verite” to be a pen name for S. Vaysblat, Khone Shmeruk (in a letter of March 11, 1982, to Berl Kagan), had a letter from “S. Verite” himself (dated 1977). In 1920 he graduated from a Romanian middle school, and one year later entered university in the city of Jassy (Iași). Soon thereafter, the university was closed down, and he chose to emigrate to the Soviet Union. In 1923 he crossed the border river Dniester and reached Kharkov. The Commissariat of Education in Ukraine sent him to work in Kremenchuk, Poltava district, where he became director of the Yiddish Club and began contributing in the press. He was active among Jewish Communist youth and in the anti-religious movement in Soviet Russia. In 1924 he published in the Moscow newspaper Emes (Truth) a series of jottings about Bessarabia. That same year, in the Kharkov newspaper Der shtern (The star), he published a cycle of notes about Jewish life in Kishenev (Chisinau). From that point in time forward, he was a regular correspondent for an array of publications. In 1929 he became a member of the editorial board of Der shtern in Kharkov. Over the years 1933-1935, he lived in Odessa where he worked as a special correspondent for Odeser arbeter (Odessa laborer). From 1936 to 1939, he was the secretary of account for the urban newspaper Krementshuger arbeter (Kremenchuk laborer). On the eve of WWII, he was living in the Jewish ethnic district in Nay-Zlatopol (Zlatopil'), Zaporiz'ka, Ukraine. He was at the front during the war. After the war, he settled in Zaporizhzhya and published work in Moscow’s newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity). Perets Markish included a story of his in the anthology Heymland (Homeland) (Moscow: Emes, 1943) which he compiled and edited. When the journal Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) commenced publication in Moscow in 1961, he composed a series of new stories and placed them there.

            He authored the booklets: Unter der boyarisher hershaft (Under the rule of the Boyars) (Kharkov: State Publ., 1930), 51 pp., in which he depicted the economic condition of Jewish laborers, farmers, office workers, and craftsmen under the Tsarist regime in Bessarabia; Mir, ḳrigerishe apiḳoṛsim, anṭireligyeze shmuesn (We pugnacious heretics, anti-religious discussions) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932), 73 pp.; Pravozhitelstvo (The right [in Tsarist times] to live outside the Pale of Settlement), a play (Kiev, 1939); Besaraber erd (Bessarabian soil), stories (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1941), 58 pp.; and Ven di erd hot gebrent (When the earth burned), from the life of the tobacco planters in a Bessarabian Jewish colony (Moscow: Emes, 1946), 70 pp. He translated from Russian into Yiddish several books of Communist Party materials, among them: 17tn konferents (Seventeenth conference), together with Kh. Futman and Y. Shapiro (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 208 pp.  The journal Nay-lebn (New Life) in 1949 reissued several items by Verite, such as: “Di brokhe fun der erd” (The blessing of the earth) and “Broyt” (Bread).

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928), p. 238; N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband in 1934 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1932) (Minsk, 1935), pp. 11, 328; M. L. in Oyfboy (Riga) 10 (May 1941); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), p. 128.

Khayim Leb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 252; 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. 146-47.]

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