Sunday 13 November 2016


FREYDL TSHARNI (April 1891-July 4, 1938)
            Her maiden name was Sosonkin, and she was born in Ihumen (Igumen, Chervyen’), Byelorussia.  Until age ten she studied with itinerant elementary school teachers; she was knowledgeable of the Hebrew Bible, and she read the modern Hebrew writers.  As an external student, she sat for the examinations of the eighth class in high school.  For a short time she was a teacher in Ihumen.  During WWI she moved to Vilna.  In 1926 she spent a short period of time in the United States, later settling in France.  She began writing poetry in Hebrew and Russian.  In 1923 she published for the first time a poem in Yiddish which appeared in Vilner tog (Vilna day).  She later placed poems in: Tsukunft (Future), Gerekhtikeyt (Justice), and Naye velt (New world) in New York, as well as in various publications in France.  In book form: Freydls lider (Freydl’s poetry), with a foreword by H. Leivick and an afterword by Ayde Maze (New York: 1942), 352 pp.  She died of tuberculosis in Menton, southern France.  “Freydl saw well and brightly,” wrote H. Leivick, “because she looked with her heart and with love.  And the reader, who will read Freydl’s poetry with a full heart, will also see well and brightly.”

Sources: Ezra Korman, Yidishe dikhterins (Jewish women poets) (Chicago, 1928), pp. 260-65, 343; Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (October 1928); Moyshe Shtarkman, in Tog (New York) (August 13, 1938); L. Berkovitsh, in Literarishe heftn (Los Angeles) (January-April 1949).
Borekh Tshubinski


  1. In 2001, I helped a young poet, Mara Simmons (gifted student at Naropa University) translate a poem of Freydl's and translated one myself. I am amazed that I can't put my hands on *Freyd'ls Lider* book but I will keep looking for it. I recall being so moved by the story of her life and her work. I searched the Web to try to find her family but was unable to do so, to share our translations with them. **Most touching was the reason (missing from the bio note above) for her 'short time' in the US: She was ill and could not stay, due to the immigration restrictions for people who were not well. I cannot recall whether she had the eye condition that rejected so many others, but perhaps Mr. Tshubinski knows? She had beloved family (a sister, in particular, I believe) in the US and her life and suffering at a distance from her I felt was tragic.

  2. Many thanks for your note. The author of this entry is undoubtedly no longer with us, as this was published over 50 years ago. I wonder if she was related to the famous Charney (Tsharni) family.