Tuesday 27 September 2016


KHATSKL TABATSHNIKOV (June 26, 1913-1988)

            He was a prose writer, born in Boslev (Bohuslav), Ukraine, into a laboring family. Orphaned as a youth, he wandered through towns during the years of the civil war, and the environment in which he grew up appears in his autobiographical novel Barshever motivn (Barshev motifs) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1975), 412 pp. From his early youth, he was involved in various trades, later working in a factory. He debuted in print with a story—“Tsvishn barzhes” (Among barges)—in the sixth issue of the Kharkov journal Yunger boyklang (Sounds of construction for youth), the literary supplement to the newspaper Yunge gvardye (Young guard), in 1928. Thereafter he published stories and novellas in Yiddish-language newspapers and other Soviet Yiddish journals. Prior to WWII, he published four books (see below), mainly stories of ordinary life, in which the protagonists were simple workers, laborers, and youngsters looking for and finding a way forward in life. He fought at the front during WWII; afterward, there was a sharp disruption in his work, as generally in Yiddish literature, with the Stalinist persecutions. In the early 1960s he returned to writing, and his work appeared in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow. In the 1970s he published in this journal his novel Barshever motivn which then appeared as a separate volume. In the early 1980s, he published his stories “Di shvester dvorkin” (The sisters Dvorkin) and “Leyzer barkus, der elektriker” (Leyzer Barkus, the electrician) in this same journal. He died in Kiev.

His books include: Afn front, dertseylungen (On the front, stories) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932), 138 pp.; Donye (Donye) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 78 pp.; A shtetl bam dnyeper (A town on the Dnieper), stories (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 207 pp.; Der ershter shney (The first snow), stories (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1939), 292 pp., also published in Russian translation (in Kiev) in 1939.

Sources: Y. Vorhaft, in Yunger boyklang (Kharkov) 7 (1928); A. Holdes, in Farmest (Kharkov) (May-June 1934); M. Mizhiritski, in Farmest (October 1934).

Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 274; 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), p. 157.]

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