Tuesday 29 November 2016


YANKEV YOSADE (JOKŪBAS JOSADĖ) (August 15, 1911-November 9, 1995)

            He was a playwright and prose author, born in Kalvarye (Kalvarija), near Mariampol (Marijampolis), in Lithuania, into a family of free thinkers. His father owned a small textile factory. He attended a Hebrew high school in Mariampol, and in 1931 graduated from a progressive Yiddishist high school in Vilkomir (Ukmergė). He went on to studied humanities at Kovno University. Until WWII he was active in leftist Jewish circles in Kovno. When the Bolsheviks later occupied Lithuania, he became an active contributor to their institutions. When the Germans entered Kovno, he escaped into Russia, served in for three years in the 16th Lithuanian division of the Red Army, and published stories from the front in Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow. He debuted in print with stories in Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno (1930) and later contributed to: the Kovno anthology Glokn (Bells), Oyfgang (Arise) of 1933, Brikn (Bridges) of 1937, Zamlbukh far literatur (Collection for literature), and Bleter (Leaves) of 1938, among others. He served on the editorial boards of the journals Shtraln (Beams [of light]) and Kovner emes (Kovno truth), when Lithuania was Soviet. He was also a contributor, 1940-1941, to Shtern (Star) and Emes in Vilna. After WWII he began to write in Lithuanian (criticism, stories, and plays). He began writing his three-act play Itsik vitenberg (Itsik Vitenberg) about the first commander of the Jewish fighting organization in the Vilna ghetto, which he prepared for the publisher in 1947, but it was never published because of the liquidation of Yiddish culture in Russia. In the 1980s he reworked the original version of this play thoroughly and published it in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) 8 (1989) in Moscow. He was living in Vilna from 1958.

Sources: Shtraln (Kovno) 20 (1941); H. Osh(erovitsh), in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (July 3, 1945); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 10, 1944); Gotlib, in the anthology Lite (Lithuania), vol. 1 (New York, 1951), p. 1106.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 295; 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. 174-75.]

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