Sunday 18 December 2016


LEON YURMAN (b. January 22, 1906)
            He was born in Horodenko, eastern Galicia, to a father who was a wine merchant.  He studied in religious primary school, in a German school, and in a Ukrainian high school.  In late 1923 he moved to the United States.  He settled in New York and became a furrier.  Until 1939 he was active in the leftist trade unions.  He was also a member of the Proletpen writers’ group.  He began writing in 1924 in German, publishing stories and poems in New York’s German-language: Die Volkszeitung (The people’s newspaper) and Der Arbeiter (The worker).  In 1926 he switched to Yiddish and published his first story in Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor) in New York.  From 1927 he was a contributor to Di frayhayt (The freedom), in which he published poems, stories, a series of travel descriptions entitled “Afn amerikaner shlyakh” (On the unpaved American road), the novel Bumtsye reznik (Bumtsye Resnick), and portions of a novel entitled A hoyz baym ist river (A house on the East River), among other items.  He was also a contributor (1926-1938) to the Communist magazine Der hamer (The hammer) and the almanac Yunyon-skver (Union Square) of 1930.  Over the years 1933-1935, he edited the monthly Signal (Signal), in which he published chapters of his novel Foryer (Furrier).  Among his books: Tsurik tsum lebn (Back to life), stories (New York, 1927), 93 pp.  His work was also represented in: In shotn fun tlies, almanakh fun der yidisher proletarisher literatur in di kapitalistishe lender (In the shadow of the gallows, an almanac of Yiddish proletarian literature in the capitalist countries) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932).

Sources: M. Olgin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (February 12, 1929; March 21, 1931); L. Ziskind, in Morgn-frayhayt (September 7, 1931); B. Fenster, in Morgn-frayhayt (July 11, 1932); A. Pomerants, in Proletpen (Kiev) (1935), p. 208; Zalmen Reyzen, in Yoyvl-bukh keneder odler (Jubilee volume of Canada Eagle) (Montreal, 1938).

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 303.]

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