MOYSHE TAYKHMAN (MOJSZE TAJCHMAN) (1890s-1940s)
He was born in Radom, Poland. He initially received a traditional Jewish education, later graduating from a Polish high school in Radom and studying for a year at Warsaw University. He studied history and pedagogy, as well as foreign languages (Russian, German, and English, with a specialization in Yiddish). He was also politically active—with the left Labor Zionists, later growing closer to the Bund. In the early 1920s he became a teacher in the Yiddish schools of Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) and soon distinguished himself with his talent in this field. He taught at the Jewish secular school in Volkovisk (Wołkowysk), later serving as a school administrator in Bielsk (1925-1927 approximately), before moving to Warsaw where he worked as manager of a number of schools, among them the large Y. Khmurner school on Krochmalne Street. He appeared at Jewish teachers’ conferences and reported on the topic of history in Jewish schools. In the 1930s, aside from his school work, he developed intensive activity in Warsaw. He often wrote for Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) on books and authors, language and school matters, and he was one of the initiators of the journal Shul-vegn (School ways), which commenced publication in March 1934; he also wrote for the biweekly Foroys (Onward) (1937-1939) and, mainly, for the journal designed for children and young people, Kinder-fraynd (Children’s friend) (1936-1939), for which he served as editor and principal writer. In addition, the “Kinder-fraynd” publishers, under Taykhman’s management, published the exceedingly popular “Bikher-biblyotek” (Book library)—sections “alef” and “beys” for children and young people. For this “Book library,” he translated a long list of works from Russian, German, French, and English [and Polish], including: Halina Górska, Yinglekh fun shtotishe gasn (Boys from the city streets [original: Chłopcy z ulic miasta]) (1935), 48 pp.; Sergei Rozanov, Grezls pasirungen (Grass’s adventures [original: Prikli︠u︡chenii︠a︡ travki]) (1939), 78 pp., which was reprinted several times that same year as well as in subsequent years; Sergei M. Tretiakov, A khinezish yingl, den shi-khua (A Chinese boy, Dan Xihua [original: Detstvo Dan Shi-khua]) (1935), 183 pp.; Samuil Marshak, Di post (The mail [original: Pochta]) (1935), 15 pp.; Rudyard Kipling, Vegn kleynem helfant (About a small elephant [original: “The elephant’s child”]) (1935), 16 pp., and Mayselekh (original: “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin”) (1936), 16 pp.; Aleksandr Neverov, Dertseylungen far kinder (Stories for children) (1935), 16 pp.; M. Il’in, Vi shpet iz? Shmuesn vegn tsayt (How late is it? Chats about time [original: Kotoryi chas (What time is it?)]) (1936), 94 pp.; Jakob Waasermann, Peruaner gold (Peruvian gold [original: (The gold of Caxamalca)]) (1936), 48 pp.; Yakov Perel’man, Mit a rakete tsu der levone (With a rocket to the moon [original: Raketoi na Lunu]) (1936), 96 pp.; Guy de Maupassant, Dos shtrikl un andere dertseylung (The string [original: La Ficelle] and other stories) (1938), 46 pp.; Samuil Marshak, A bikhl vegn bikhlekh (A booklet about booklets) (1938), 15 pp.; Benjamin George Hardingham, Anula fun zunikn tseylon (Anula from sunny Ceylon) (1938), 15 pp.; Erich Kästner, Emil un di dray tsvilingen (Émile and the three pairs of twins [original: Emil und die drei Zwillinge]) (1938), 192 pp.; Der gayst fun koylngrub un printsesin fun england (The spirit of coal mining and the princess from England), French folktales (1938), 16 pp.; Sadriddin Ayni, Der alter shteyger, dertseylung fun tadzhikishn lebn (The old condition, a story from Tadzhik life) (1938), 46 pp.; O. Kuznetsova, Der faynt untern mikroskop (Enemy under the microscope [original: Vrag pod mikroskopom, povest’ o Lui Pastere (Enemy under the microscope, the story of Louis Pasteur)]) (1939), 240 pp.; Jonathan Swift, Guliver bay di liliputn (Gulliver with the Lilliputians [original: part of Gulliver’s Travels]) (1939). One further translation by Taykhman, an earlier one from French, was: Romain Rolland, Pyer un lutsye (Pierre et Luce) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1926), 95 pp. Aside from translations, he adapted fictional writings for children and teenagers, and he himself wrote stories for young people and adults. The latter included: Noent fun vaytns, far undzere kinder (Close from afar, for our children) (Warsaw: Kinder-fraynd, 1938), 15 pp., which appeared in numerous editions; Tevye der milkhiker far yugnt (Tevye the dairyman for children), adapted from Sholem-Aleykhem, with a foreword by Sh. Mendelson (Warsaw: Kinder-fraynd, 1936), 64 pp.; Mayn yor, dertseylt fun a shilerin fun a yidish veltlekher shul (My year, recounted by a female student in a secular Jewish school), a comparison between the images of poverty and oppression in the home and the holiday atmosphere at school (Warsaw: Kinder-fraynd, 1938), 168 pp.; Mentshn un yorn, dertseylungen (People and years, stories)—including: “Reb shaye levin gust” (Mr. Shaye Levin Gusst), “Koykhes” (Forces), and “Tsvishn brider” (Among brothers)—(Warsaw: Literarishe bleter, 1939), 168 pp. He also published under the pen name of “M. Man.” With the outbreak of WWII, he and his wife Khane (née Levintan), who was also a teacher in the secular Jewish schools, left Warsaw for Bialystok with their nine-year-old son to his wife’s relatives. They were all later confined in the Bialystok ghetto and killed there.
Sources: Ber Mark, Der oyfshtand in byalistoker geto (The uprising in the Bialystok ghetto) (Warsaw, 1950), pp. 141-45, 152; Mark, Umgekumene shrayber fun di getos un lagern (Murdered writers from the ghettos and camps) (Warsaw, 1954), p. 198; Y. Rotenberg, in Lerer-yizker-bukh (Teachers’ memory book) (New York, 1954), pp. 175-77.