Wednesday, 14 December 2016


MOYSHE YUDOVIN (1896-1966)
            He was born in Beshenkovitsh (Beshenkovichi, Biešankovičy), Vitebsk district, Byelorussia, into a poor family.  He studied in the Volozhin Yeshiva, but he broke off his studies and returned home.  He then went with his cousin Shloyme Yudovin, later a well-known graphic artist, to the neighboring town of Tshashnik (Čašniki) where he studied watch-making, but due to the severe conditions he again returned home; there he began an intensive study of literature, history, philosophy, mathematics and physics, German and French.  He debuted in print in 1913 with poems in the newspaper Di tsayt (The times) in St. Petersburg.  After the October Revolution, he worked with the publishing association in Beshenkovitsh (October 1918-April 1919); he then moved to the Lepel division of the Commissariat for Education (April 1919-March 1920).  He went on to work for over two years on the editorial board of Royter shtern (Red star) in Vitebsk.  On May 1, 1921 the Vitebsk Jewish division (Yevsektsye) published a pamphlet by him and L. Abram, entitled Zalbetsveyt (Two together), 8 pp.  His poetry appeared in such journals as: Komunistishe velt (Communist world), Khvalyes (Waves), and Royter shtern.  His one and only book was Knoyln, lider (Clusters, poetry) (Vitebsk, 1922), 64 pp., which caused a sensation.  Together with M. Mogilnitski, A. Rozentsvayg, and N. Solovey, he compiled Arbet un shaf, lernbukh farn tsveytn klas (Work and workshop, textbook for the second school year) (Minsk, 1928), 232 pp.; its second edition was entitled Oyfboy, arbet un shaf (Construction, work and workshop), revised by Yudovin and Solovey, part 1 (Minsk, 1930), 132 pp.  A lengthy interruption in his work ensued, both due to dire material conditions and to his disappointment in the ideals in which he had naively placed such trust.  An honest and upright man, he simply could not falsify his poetic voice, as so many other poets had done, so as to adapt to the Bolshevik order.  Further information remains unknown.  He graduated in absentia from the Jewish section of the pedagogical institute in Moscow.  (His cousin Shloyme Yudovin carved a piece of linoleum for an engraving that appears in the volume Idisher folks-ornament (Jewish folk ornaments) (Vitebsk, 1920).

Sources: Ber Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye, pruvn fun an oysforshung (Yiddish literature in Byelorussia after the revolution, attempt at an inquiry) (Minsk, 1931), pp. 68-71; Orshanski, “Idgezkom—fir naye shtimen (yudovin, hofshteyn, kushnirov, rosin)” (Jewish Social Committee, four new voices: Yudovin, Hofshteyn, Kushnirov, Rosin), Di tsayt (New York) (January 22, 1921); Elye Shulman, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (July 18, 1952).
Leyzer Ran

[Additional information from: 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. 178-79.]

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