Tuesday 31 January 2017


YITSKHOK KHARLASH (July 13, 1892-February 18, 1973)
            He was born in Brisk (Brest), Lithuania.  He studied in religious elementary schools, with private tutors, and at the Mishmar Bet Hamidrash (Guardian of the Temple), under the chief supervision of Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, while at the same time he was studying Tanakh and Hebrew with a private tutor—he began writing in Hebrew, and his first correspondence pieces were at age twelve in Hatsofe (The spectator) in Warsaw (1904).  At age sixteen he turned his attention to secular subject matter and foreign languages.  He graduated in 1914 from the Brisk commercial school.  He went to study at the polytechnical school in Ekaterinoslav (1916), the Moscow commercial institute (1917-1919), and the University of Berlin (1924-1925).  Over the years 1910-1911, he started to become active in working for the illegal organization of the Bund in Brisk.  He contributed to the pro-Bundist, Russian language Nash krai (Our part) in 1912-1913.  In 1915 he served as night editor in Vitebsk for the Russian daily newspaper Vitebskaia gazeta kopeika (Vitebsk gazette for a kopeck), for which he wrote on literature and theater under the pen name Yitskhaki.  In 1917 he took an active role in the revolutionary work of the Moscow-region committee of the Bund and the general social democratic (Menshevik) campaigning circle in Moscow.  He gave speeches in public (in both Russian and Yiddish) in Moscow and other cities of central Russia.  In August 1917 he was summoned by the central committee of the Bund to Minsk to work for the daily organ of the party, Der veker (The alarm).  He returned to Moscow, co-edited the collection Tsun ondenk fun karl marks (To the memory of Karl Marx) (Moscow, 1918, 115 pp.—again using the pen name Yitskhaki), wrote for Di tsukunft (The future) in Moscow (1918), translated (from German and Russian) work by Kautsky, Plekhanov, and others for a socialist publishing house.  He was secretary of the instructors’ committee for trade union statistics at the All-Russian Council of Trade Unions.  In 1919 he moved to Minsk and served as secretary of the instructors’ committee of the “Association of Workers’ Cooperatives of the Western District” (centered in Smolensk).  He wrote for Veker (March 1919), and he was a delegate to the eleventh conference of the Bund in Minsk.  Under occupation by the Polish army in 1920, he moved to Vilna, worked as an instructor in the credit cooperative for Yekopo (Yevreyskiy komitet pomoshchi zhertvam voyny—“Jewish Relief Committee for War Victims”), and wrote for the journal Unzer hilf (Our relief), edited by M. Shalit, in which among other items he published (November 1921) a long piece on the “cooperative movement among Jews in Vilna and environs” (which also appeared later in an offprint version).  After the split in the Vilna Bundist organization, he was a cofounder of the social-democratic Bund and co-editor of its newspaper organs: Dos fraye vort (The free word) (1921); Unzer tsayt (Our time) (1922); and Unzer gedank (Our idea) (1922-1923).  In Berlin (1923-1925), he wrote (using the pen name Y. Borukhov) in the Russian Menshevik journal Sotsialisticheskii vestnik (Socialist herald).  He corresponded (under the pen name Ben-Borekh) for the Forverts (Forward) in New York, also wrote for the Warsaw-based Folkstsaytung (People’s newspaper), and translated from German and Russian into Yiddish for a number of presses—among other items, he translated (as Ben-Borekh) B. Aronson’s book on Marc Chagall (Berlin: Yidisher literarisher farlag, Petropolis, 1924).  In August 1925, he moved to Riga, Latvia, as an internal editor joined the staff of the daily Dos folk (The people)—the political editor of the newspaper was the well-known Bundist leader Sergei Braun—experienced the strike and the intervention of the contributors at the newspaper; and because of the political instability of the publishers, he published the sole edition to appear of Unzer folk (Our people), assisted in the founding of the major Yiddish daily Frimorgn (Morning), put together the program for its direction to head, was the style editor of the newspaper until the arrival of Sh. Y. Stupnitski, and soon left the newspaper over differences of political opinion.  In 1926 he became a lecturer on Yiddish literature in the pedagogical course of the Yiddish department at the general education ministry and a teacher of Yiddish and Yiddish literature at the city’s Jewish high school.  Over the years 1929-1930, he lectured on Yiddish literature at the Jewish teachers’ course at Dorpat (Tartu) University in Estonia.  He wrote journalistic pieces, features, and literary essays for the Riga publications of the Bund and for the Latvian school organization, for the literary weekly journal Di vokh (The week) (1927-1928), and for the monthly of the school organization Naye vegn (New ways) (1927-1929).  He edited the Bundist weekly newspaper Naye tsayt (New times) (1937-1938), as well as a Russian-language publication of the Latvian trade unions.  Together with Yudl Mark, he published—in brochure format—subject program for Yiddish and Yiddish literature for a teachers’ course of study (Riga, 1928), 32 pp.  All these years he was a member of the central bureau of the Bund in Latvia.  At the time of the semi-fascist coup of Kārlis Ulmanis in 1934, he was arrested, and after being freed from Riga’s central prison, departed for Poland; in May 1935 he left for South Africa on assignment for the Vilna “Tsebek” (Tsentraler bildungs komitet, or Central educational committee) and Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization).  After completing his school business, he remained in Johannesburg, aided with directing the work of the Jewish cultural association, founded a Yiddish public school with a high school attached, administered the Humanities College (a school of humanities fields for adults), and edited the monthly Foroys (Onward) from June 1937 until January 1940.  Over the years 1941-1946, he contributed to the weekly newspaper Afrikaner idishe tsaytung (African Jewish newspaper), in which aside from other items he wrote (using the pen name “Observator”) a weekly report on international politics.  In the summer of 1948 he moved to New York.  In 1949 he became a teacher of Yiddish and lecturer on Jewish and general European literature at the Jewish teachers’ seminary and People’s University in New York.  He made a lecture tour through the United States, Canada, and South America.  In New York, he wrote for: Forverts, Der veker, the monthly Gerekhtikeyt (Justice) mostly using the pen name Y. Borukhov, Tsukunft (Future), Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), the Bundist monthly Unzer tsayt (a standing contributor, also using the pen name Y. Borukhov); the anthology Vitebsk amol (Vitebsk in the past) (1956); an essay on Mikhl Gordon in Shmuel niger bukh (Volume for Shmuel Niger) (1958), which also appeared in a separate offprint (14 pp.); and Doyres bundistn (Generations of Bundists) (New York, 1956).  He published a great number of literary critical essays and treatments of dozens of Jewish and non-Jewish writers.  He was a co-editor of the Leksikon fun der nayer yidisher literatur (Biographical dictionary of modern Yiddish literature), for which he wrote a considerable number of entries.  He died in New York.  The original spelling of his name was: חרל״ש, the initial letters of “Khosn Rabbi Leyb Shamesh.”

Sources: Pinkes fun gegnt komitet yekopo in vilne, 1919-1931 (Records of the district committee of Yekopo in Vilna, 1919-1931), ed. M. Shalit (Vilna, 1931), pp. 345, 348, 570, 765-66 (biography); M. Gerts-Movshovitsh, 25 yor yidishe prese in letland (25 years of the Yiddish press in Latvia) (Riga, 1933), pp. 43f; Y. M. Sherman, “Af alte literarishe shlakhtn” (About old literary battles), Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (June 1952); conversations with Y. Kharlash in Der idisher ekspres (Johannesburg) (July 1935), in Afrikaner yidishe tsaytung (Johannesburg) (July 12, 1935), in Di idishe tsaytung and Di prese (both in Buenos Aires) (both June 2, 1953); Yahadut latviya (Judaism in Latvia) (Tel Aviv, 1953), p. 172.
Moyshe Shtarkman


IZI KHARIK (YITSKHOK) (November 17, 1898-October 29, 1937)

            He was a poet, born in Zembin (Zyembin), Borisov (Horad Barysaw) district, Byelorussia. He was the son of a cobbler and the grandson (on his mother’s side) of Leyzer Sheynman, the well-known wedding entertainer from Zembin. Until age twelve he studied in religious primary school and a Russian public school in Zembin; he later worked in Minsk, Borisov, Homel, and Vitebsk, as an unskilled laborer in a bakery and an assistant to a druggist. From 1917 until 1919, he was the administrator of a school, a leader in the trade union movement, and a librarian in Minsk. In 1919 he became a Communist, volunteered to join the Red Army, and took part in battles against the White Guard in Byelorussia and against the Poles. He spent the years 1921-1923 studying at the V. I. Briusov Institute for Literature and Art in Moscow, and in Moscow he graduated from a senior literary school in 1924. He subsequently returned to Minsk (1928 to the summer of 1937), where he graduated from the philological institute and took up leading positions in the general and Jewish life of Byelorussia. He also became editor-in-chief of the literary-artistic and sociopolitical journal Shtern (Star), served as one of the directors of the People’s Commissariat for Education in Byelorussia, and stood at the head of all Yiddish cultural work in Byelorussia until the end of his life. He was selected as a corresponding member of the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, and he was a member of the presidium of the central executive committee of the Byelorussian Communist Party. He was also a delegate and one of the main speakers at the All-Soviet Writers’ Conference. Kharik distinguished himself in Yiddish literature in Soviet Russia as the poet of “Minsker blotes” (Minsk mud).

            He began writing poetry in his early years, but due to his reticence he sent them nowhere to be published. By chance two of his poems reached Shmuel Agurski who was then editor of the Moscow-based, Yiddish-language, Bolshevik newspaper Di komunistishe velt (The Communist world), and he published these two poems—“Mir un zey” (Us and them) and “In shturm” (In the storm)—under the name A. Z. Zembin in issue 14-15 (April 1920). From that point he published his poetry, both originals and translations from Russian poetry, in: Di komunistishe velt, Der emes (The truth), Nayerd (New earth), Yungvald (Young forest), Pyoner (Pioneer), and Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature) in Yiddish, and Krasnaia Nov (Red soil), Tribuna (Tribune), Pravda (Truth), and Ogonyok (Light) in Russian—all in Moscow; Oktyabr (October), Yunger leninyets (Young Leninist), Yunger pyoner (Young pioneer), Atake (Attack), Shtrom (Current), Shtern, Ruf (Call), Tsaytshrift (Periodical) in which he published in its very first number (1925) a piece about his grandfather, Leyzer Sheynman, and Sovetishe vaysrusland (Soviet Byelorussia)—in Minsk; Farmest (Challenge), Shtern, and Di royte velt (The red world)—in Kharkov; Prolit (Proletarian literature) and Afn shprakh-front (On the language front), among others, in Kiev; Khvalyes (Waves) in Vitebsk; and Der odeser arbeter (The Odessa worker) in Odessa; among others. Abroad he contributed work to: Der hamer (The hammer), Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom), Signal (Signal), Yung kuzhnye (Young smithy), Yugnt (Youth), Studyo (Studio), Ikor (Yidishe kolonizatsye organizatsye in rusland [Jewish colonization organization in Russia]), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Zamlungen (Collections)—in New York; Kultur (Culture) in Chicago; Literarishe bleter (literary leaves), Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Fraye yugnt (Free youth), Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings), and Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw; Literarishe tribune (Literary tribune) and Parizer tsaytshrift (Parisian periodical) in Paris; Erd un arbet (Land and labor) in Kishinev; Di prese (The press) and Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper) in Buenos Aires.

            Kharik was one of the people who laid the groundwork for Soviet Yiddish literature. One finds in his work artistically laid out the foundational stages and significant phenomena that transpired in Jewish life in the Soviet Union, especially in Byelorussia, at a time when the process of industrialization and collectivization were running at full blast there. Creative intelligence was “attached” to industrial undertakings and collective farms, provided that one created work in which “the enthusiasm of workers and peasants” played its part. Kharik was “attached” to the greatest construction at that time in Byelorussia: the electrical station “Osintorf,” located deep in Polesia (where were immense reserves of peat, which had to serve as heating for the station). Kharik stayed there for a considerable period of time, and it appears as such in his poem “Kaylekhdike vokhn” (Circular weeks). It was promptly included in the teaching programs for Jewish schools, and extracts from it were read aloud in literary evenings in clubs and recited at conferences. The poem was, in truth, a significant event in Yiddish literature. Kharik’s poetry—“Minsker blotes,” “Mit layb un lebn” (Body and soul), “Kaylekhdike vokhn,” and “Af a fremde khasene” (At a strange wedding), among others—were popular and beloved by Yiddish readers. His poetry excelled with its fine craftsmanship, with flaming revolutionary pathos, and with authentic spirit of the people. An innovative poet and a master of modern creativity, he forged new paths for the subsequent generations of Soviet Yiddish poets. His contemporaries explained that young writers from Minsk were simply in love with him, a word from him was holy in their eyes.

It was an unexpected blow and puzzle for everyone when in June 1937 he was arrested in Minsk. No one could understand what crimes could be laid before this prominent activist for Yiddish culture and fiery patriot. Shortly before this event, with great enthusiasm the fifteen-year anniversary of his literary activity was celebrated. At this jubilee the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences published a collection of articles by the best-known authorities of Yiddish literary criticism. The central Moscow newspaper Der emes had dedicated an entire page to the honoree on November 15, 1935 with warm, praiseworthy articles and a large portrait of the poet, painted by the famous artist M. Rabitshev. That year a special plenum of the Byelorussian Writers’ Association dealt with the question of “On the nationalist and Trotskyist contraband in Byelorussian and Yiddish literature.” Kharik’s name was mentioned only in passing—just the editor of the journal Shtern, who did not realize the “actual face” of a series of writers and critics and who willingly published their work. In late May-early June 1937, a series of writers’ conferences took place in Minsk, at which was raised the then widespread issue of the “struggle against Trotskyist Averbakhist diversion in literature,” and Kharik was directly accused of the “idiotic illness of carefreeness” embodied in his publishing the work of the “long unmasked enemies of the people, of the counter-revolutionary bandits”—men like Khatskl Dunets, Yashe Bronshteyn, Ziskind Lev, Arn Yudelson, and others (they had all by then been purged). But they had, in fact, “discovered” guilt—for he had ostensibly taken part “in the attack on Kirov and was in the group which prepared an attempted assassination on the then People’s Commissar for Defense Voroshilov.” He was dragged through a number of Russian prisons, where they ferociously tortured him. He went insane and was brought in September to the labor camp at Sukhobenzvodny in northern Russia. On October 28, 1937 he was brought to court for a trial that lasted fifteen minutes. He was sentenced to the highest punishment, and the next morning the sentence of the court was carried out: he was shot. That same day the poet Moyshe Kulbak and the literary critics Yashe Bronshteyn and Khatskl Dunets were also shot.

            “His was a profoundly ethnic form, as he drew his poetic nourishment from popular Jewish sources,” wrote Moyshe Litvakov. “His landscape,” noted Leyb Tsart, “was Byelorussian Jewish folklore.” “He was the heart of the company of Yiddish writers in Byelorussia,” wrote Uri Finkl, “…while his Af a fremder khasene is rife with an artistic sense of completion and his figure of the wedding entertainer is a protesting lamedvovnik, through whom the simple man of the people speaks.” Kharik was one of the Soviet Yiddish writers who were murdered by the brutal sword of Stalin and who would not be rehabilitated for many years. In the new edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1957), it simply states that he “died in 1937,” and in the literary biographical dictionary of Soviet writers from Byelorussia (Minsk, 1957), it states: “He died somewhere in 1937.” It would be some time before his poems appeared again in the Soviet Union. His poems in Byelorussian (Minsk, 1958) and in Russian—with an introduction by Arn Vergelis (Moscow, 1958)—were all that appeared. Of his literary heritage, a few poems have been preserved, and they were published in Folks-shtime in Warsaw (April 13, 1957) and in Parizer tsaytshrift 15 (1957).

            Although he has never been fully rehabiltitated, things began to change slowly in the early 1960s with the following publications: Dovid hofshteyn, izi kharik, itsik fefer, oysgeklibene shriftn (Dovid Hofshteyn, Izi Kharik, Itsik Fefer, selected writings), ed. Shmuel Rozhanski (Buenos Aires: Lifshits Fund, 1962); and Mit layb un lebn (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1970), 286 pp. Several volumes of his work in Russian and Byelorussian have also appeared in print.

            Kharik published in book form: Tsiter (Shiver), poems from his early period (Minsk: Kultur-lige, 1922), 64 pp.; Af der erd (On the ground), including as well his poem about the Civil War in Byelorussia, “Minsker blotes” (Moscow: Shul un bukh, 1926), 112 pp.; Mit layb un lebn, poem about the heroic work of young Soviet teachers in rebuilding Jewish towns (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1928), 79 pp., rpt. 1970; Lider un poemes (Poetry) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 206 pp., second printing (Minsk, 1930); Broyt (Bread), a poem (Minsk, 1930), 16 pp.; Kaylekhdike vokhn (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1932), 157 pp., newer edition (Moscow: Emes, 1935), also appearing in an abbreviated form for the Jewish school (Minsk, 1933), 50 pp.; Fun polyus tsu polyus (From pole to pole), youth and children’s poetry (Minsk: M.F.V. Yungsektor, 1934), 61 pp., which won an award in the All-Russian Competition for Youth Literature in Moscow, 1934; Undzer munterkeyt, lider un poemes (Our cheerfulness, poetry) (Kharkov: Molodoy bolshevik, 1935), 130 pp., second edition (Moscow, 1936); Finf poemes (Five poems) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1936), 260 pp.; Af a fremder khasene (Minsk: M.F.V., 1936), 117 pp., in which he depicts in a nostalgic tenor the life of his grandfather, the old Zembin wedding entertainer, who devoted his career to strangers’ weddings. He coedited: Atake in Minsk (Byelorussian State Publishers, 1934); Pyonerishe lider (Pioneering poetry) in Minsk (1934); and the literary almanac Sovetishe vaysrusland (Soviet Byelorussia) in Minsk (Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935). His work was also represented in: Birebidzhan (Birobidzhan), anthology (Moscow, 1936); Shlakhtn, fuftsn yor oktyaber in der kinstlerisher literatur (Battles, fifteen years of October in artistic literature), compiled together with Hershl Orland and B. Kahan (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932); Af barikadn, revolyutsyonere shlakhtn in der opshpiglung fun der kinstlerisher literatur (At the barricades, revolutionary battles in the lens of artistic literature) (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1930); Far der bine: dertseylungen, pyeses, lider (For the stage: stories, plays, poems), with musical notation (together with Yekhezkl Dobrushin and Elye Gordon) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, 1929); Der arbeter in der yidisher literatur, fargesene lider (The worker in Yiddish literature, forgotten poems) (Moscow: Emes, 1939); Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Reciter of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow: Emes, 1934). He compiled: the poetry collection Ruf in Minsk (Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935), with Yasha Bronshteyn; a play based on Sholem-Aleykhem’s A yontef in kasrilovke (A holiday in Kasrilovke), with Yekhezkl Dobrushin, staged at the Moscow Yiddish state theater with Kharik’s poetry in the text. Among other items, he translated into Yiddish the poem Di kretshme (The tavern) by Moris Tsharat. In 1936 there was published in Minsk: Izi kharik, tsu zayn 15-yorikn dikhterishn veg (Izi Kharik, for his fifteen-year poetic path) (Moscow?: USSR Academy of Sciences, 136 pp., with appreciations and critical articles by Shmuel Agurski, Eli Osherovitsh, Moyshe Litvakov, Yashe Bronshteyn, Meyer Viner, Aleksander Khashin, Uri Finkl, Leyb Tsart, and Yisroel Serebryani.

Sources: Information concerning his death from M. Lubling (Tel Aviv-Jaffa); Bolshaia Sovietskaia entsiklopediya (Great Soviet Encyclopedia), vol. 46 (Moscow, 1957), p. 74; Pis’menniki savetskai belarusi (Writers of Soviet Byelorussia) (Minsk, 1959), pp. 437-38; H. Leivick, Afn rand (On the edge) (Kiev, 1925); Leivick, in Zamlbikher 8 (New York, 1952), pp. 27-50; Leivick, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 6, 1954); A. Vevyorke, in Oktraber-zamlbukh (Moscow) 1 (1925), p. 72; Vevyorke, Der stiln-kamf fun der proletarisher literatur (The struggle over style in proletarian literature) (Kharkov, 1932), pp. 17-18; N. Mayzil, Noente un vayte (Near and far), vol. 2 (Warsaw, 1926), pp. 252-59; Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index; A. Kushnirov, in Yungvald (Moscow) 4 (1926); M. Litvakov, In umru (Disquiet), vol. 2 (Moscow, 1926), pp. 189-219; Y. Bronshteyn, in Shtern (Minsk) 6 (1926); Bronshteyn, in Der hamer (New York) (1929), pp. 60-64; Bronshteyn, in Atake (Moscow-Minsk) (1930), pp. 112-35; Bronshteyn, Sheferishe problemen fun der yidisher sovetisher poezye (Creative problems in Soviet Yiddish poetry) (Minsk, 1935); D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (January 21, 1927); Charney, in Der veker (New York) (November 1, 1954); Y. Dobrushin, in Di royte velt (Kharkov) 7-8 (1926), pp. 130-40; Dobrushin, In iberboy, literarish-kritishe artiklen (Under reconstruction, literary-critical articles) (Moscow, 1932), pp. 13-38, 125, 139; Avrom Reyzen, in Oyfkum (New York) (May 1929), p. 11; H. D. Nomberg, Mentsh un verk, yidishe shrayber (Man and work, Yiddish writers) (Warsaw, 1930), pp. 237-40; B. 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), see index; G. Yabrov, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 5 (1931), p. 3; Yankev Leshtshinski, in Forverts (new York) (March 9, 1931); Kh. Dunyets, Far magnitboyen in der literatur (For the great works of literature) (Minsk, 1932), pp. 18-19; Dunyets, Fir tezisn vegn kaylevdike vokhn (Four theses on Circular Weeks) (Minsk, 1933), pp. 3-9; Sh. Klitenik, in Emes (Moscow) 207 (1932); B. Y. Byalostotski, Eseyen (Essays) (New York, 1932), pp. 126-28; M. Viner, Problemes fun kritik (Problems of criticism), co-authored with A. Gurshteyn (Moscow, 1933), p. 183; A. Abtshuk, Etyudn (Studies) (Kharkov, 1934), pp. 36, 67; Leyzer Grinberg, in Studyo (New York) (October-December 1934); N. Y. Gotlib, in Montreal 6 (1934); Y. Rapoport, in Tsukunft (New York) (February 1935); Rapoport, Tsvishn yo un neyn (Between yes and no) (Warsaw, 1937), pp. 176-202; Y. Nusinov, in Yidn in f. s. s. r. (Jewish in the USSR) (Moscow, 1935), pp. 138, 142, 147; Itsik Manger, in Folkstsaytung (Warsaw) (September 11, 1936); E. Korman, in Heft (Montreal) (January-February 1936; May-June 1936); Shmuel Niger, in Der tog (New York) (October 24, 1937); Y. Glants, in Der veg (Mexico City) (October 16, 1937); B. Glazman, in Idishe kemfer (New York) (October 4, 1940); Leo Finkelshteyn, in Yidishe shriftn (Lodz) (January 1947); Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (January 24, 1949); H. Vaynraykh, in Forverts (January 2, 1949); Vaynraykh, Blut af der zun (Blood on the sun) (New York, 1950), pp. 48-65; Y. Botoshanski, Mame yidish (Mother Yiddish) (Buenos Aires, 1949), p. 212; A. Tabatshnik, in Davke (Buenos Aires) (July-September 1951); Elye Shulman, in Fraye arbeter shtime (New York) (July 18, 1952); Shulman, in Unzer tsayt (November 1953; September 1956); Dr. L. Zhitnitski, A halb yorhundert idishe literatur (A half century of Yiddish literature), vol. 1 (Buenos Aires, 1952), p. 53; A. Leyeles, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (September 26, 1953); Yankev Pat, in Der veker (October 1, 1954); Khayim Leyb Fuks, in Der veker (November 15, 1954); H. Berger, in Oystralishe yidishe nayes (Melbourne) (July 6, 1956); Al. Pomerants, in Tsukunft (July-August 1956); A. Zak, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (August 19, 1957); M. Shlyar, in Folksshtime (November 7, 1957); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, Shrayber fun mayn dor (Writers of my generation) (New York, 1958), pp. 287-304; Y. Gilboa, Al ḥorvot hatarbut hayehudit biverit hamoatsot (On the destruction of Jewish culture in the Soviet Union) (Tel Aviv, 1959), pp. 125-26; P. Shteynvaks, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (December 31, 1959); A. Vergelis, in Morgn-frayhayt (new York) (March 24, 1960); G. Aronson, in Forverts (July 31, 1960); N. Mayzil, preface to Z. Akselrod, Lider zamlung (Poetry collection) (New York, 1961), pp. 8, 9, 11, 18, 20, 24, 34; Pervyi Bsesoyuznyi C״ezd Sovetskikh Pisatelei (First all-Soviet congress of Soviet writers) (Moscow, 1934), p. 690; Joseph Milbauer, comp., Poètes yiddish d’aujourhui (Contemporary Yiddish poets) (Paris, 1936); Joseph Leftwich, The Golden Peacock: An Anthology of Yiddish Poetry (Cambridge, Mass., 1939).

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 315; and 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. 185-87.]

Sunday 29 January 2017


BERL KHARITONSKI (1879-November 5, 1952)
            He was born in Braslav (Brasław), Ukraine.  He studied in religious primary school, synagogue study hall, and in a Russian public school.  He later became a carpenter.  In 1908 he moved to Argentina.  He was among the active fighters for secluding the ritually impure from Jewish life.  He was a cofounder of the first burial society and author of its statutes, from which later developed the democratic Jewish community in Argentina.  He published correspondence pieces and seasonal articles about Jewish community life in Di idishe tsaytung (The Jewish newspaper) and Di prese (The press), among others, in Buenos Aires.  He served as editor of the humorous monthly Der kantshik (The whip) in Buenos Aires (1942-1952).  He died in Buenos Aires.

Sources: Sh. Rozhanski, Dos yidishe gedrukte vort in argentine (The published Yiddish word in Argentina) (Buenos Aires, 1941), p. 116; Di prese (Buenos Aires) (November 6, 1952; November 9, 1952).
Khayim Leyb Fuks


GOSYE KHARASH (GOSIE JARASCH) (b. October 12, 1909)
            He was born in Vishnyevits, Volhynia.  In 1932 he emigrated to Argentina.  In 1955 he debuted in print with a story in Ilustrirte literarishe bleter (Illustrated literary news) in Buenos Aires.  In book form: Tvishn tsvey emesn, dertseylungen, minyaturn, lider, poemes, film-stsenar (Between two truths, stories, miniatures, song, poems, film script) (Buenos Aires, 1971), 176 pp.
Yoysef Horn

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 315.


MEYER KHARATS (September 23, 1912-1993)

            He was a poet, born in the village of Shuri (Zgurița), Bessarabia, and grew up in the Jewish colony of Markulesh (Mărculești), near Belz, in Bessarabia. In 1934 he moved to Czernowitz, where he worked in a variety of trades, while at the same time continuing his education. There he graduated from a teachers’ seminary for Yiddish literature and linguistics. At the start of the Nazi occupation (July 1941), he fled to Central Asia, and from there at the end of 1945 he traveled to Moscow. He spent the years 1946-1948 back in Czernowitz, and then together with other Jewish writers was arrested by the Soviet authorities and sent to a Soviet camp in the Gulag from 1949 through 1955; after Stalin’s death, when he returned once more to Czernowitz and began an intensive period of composing poetry and writing literary critical essays especially for Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw. From 1972 he was living in Jerusalem after making aliya.

He began writing poetry in his school years, and he debuted in print in 1934 in Yiddish periodicals in Bessarabia. His poems, “Don kishot” (Don Quixote) and “A yidene afn osyen-mark” (A Jewess at the autumn market), which he published in Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz leaves) in 1935, made an impression for their quiet tone and authentic sadness, and they afforded him a place of honor among the young group of Moldovan Jewish writers (Motl Saktsyer, Yankl Yakir, Herts Rivkin, and others). From that point in time he published poems in: Shoybn (Glass panes) in Bucharest; Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Naye folkstsaytung (New people’s newspaper), and Foroys (Onward) in Warsaw; and other literary journals in Romania, Poland, and the United States. From 1940 he contributed poetry and reportage pieces to: Eynikeyt (Unity) and the almanac Heymland (Homeland) in Moscow; Der shtern (The star) in Kiev; Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star); Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) and Folks-shtime in Warsaw; Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York; Parizer shriftn (Parisian writings); and other serials.

Later an agitation along the old Soviet lines was directed at him. In the Ukrainian-language newspaper in Czernowitz, Radianska Bukovina (Red Bukovina) of March 3, 1961, there was an article written by the Soviet Jewish writers Hirsh Bloshteyn and Khayim Melamud accusing Kharats of “bourgeois nationalism” which they detected in his poems “Der vanderer” (The wanderer), published in Yidishe shriftn (December 1960), and “Friling” (Spring) and “Leyendik sholem-aleykhem” (Reading Sholem-Aleichem), published in Folks-shtime (April 1957 and February 1959). The poet sings in these works about the old Jewish religious texts which he took out of a book chest, about the joy of reading Sholem-Aleichem in our soft language; about his wish that his spring song in Yiddish might also be sung by children with all the hundreds of songs in other languages. He published numerous poems in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) (1961-1970). He wrote for numerous Yiddish publications in Israel, as well as in: Tsukunft (Future) and Afn shvel (At the threshold) in New York; Kheshbn (Accounting) in Los Angeles; and others. From 1973 he edited (with Yoysef Kerler) Yisroel-almanakh (Israel almanac). He published twelve collections of poetry. His literary activity was noted by the Manger Prize, the Artur Award in 1975, and the Fikhman Prize in 1976.

His published books would include: In fremdn gan-eyden (In a foreign Garden of Eden) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1974), 335 pp.; Himl un erd, lider (Heaven and earth, poetry) (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1974), 283 pp.; Lider tsu eygene (Poems for myself) (Tel Aviv: Yisroel-bukh, 1975), 212 pp.; Shtern afn himl (Stars in the sky (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1977), 239 pp.; Dos finfte rod, lider (The fifth wheel, poetry) (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1978), 192 pp.; Griner vinter, lider; Markulesht (Green winter, poetry; Mărculești, poem) (Jerusalem: Yiddish Cultural Association, 1982), 263 pp. which includes Griner vinter on pp. 227-63; Geklibene lider un getseylte poemes (Selected and numbered poems) (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1983), 474 pp.; Nokhn sakhakl (After a summing up), vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1987), 159 pp., vol. 2 (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1990), 127 pp., vol. 3 (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1992), 256 pp., vol. 4 (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1993), 272 pp.; Anfas un profil un hinter di pleytses (Full face and profile and behind the back) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1994).

Sources: Y. Yonasovitsh, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) (January 28, 1954); M. Izraelis, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (August 26, 1960), concerning the article in Radianska Bukovina; Y. G., in Der veg (Mexico City) (February 11, 1961); Elye Shulman, in Der veker (New York) (August 1, 1961).

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 314-15; and 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. 184-85.]

Saturday 28 January 2017


DVOYRE (VERA) KHOROL (1898-mid-1982)

            She was a poet and the wife of the historian Avrom Yuditski, born in the town of Okhrimov (Okhrimivka), Kiev district, Ukraine, into the home of her grandfather, the wealthy timber merchant Rifoel Bergelson. She was the niece of the writer Dovid Bergelson. In her home Yiddish literature was a familiar item, and she recalled that people read Sholem-Aleichem stories and that her uncle read aloud the Y. L. Perets’s stories: “Oyb nit nokh hekher” (If not even higher) and “Tsvishn tsvey berg” (Between two mountains). At age fourteen she was taken to Kiev, where she completed high school and went on to study natural science at university. In 1919 she was enrolled in a higher pedagogical institution. From 1920 she was working in a variety of children’s institutions. In 1928 she was a teacher in a Jewish school in Podil, a suburb of Kiev. She published her first poems in the third issue of the monthly Shtrom (Tide) in Moscow (1922). Later, she published in various Yiddish-language pedagogical publications: Komunistishe fon (Communist banner) in Kiev (1923); Royte velt (Red world) in Kharkov; the almanac Ukraine (Ukraine) in Kiev (1926); the anthology Barg-aruf (Uphill) in Kiev (1927); and elsewhere. Her first collection of poetry appeared in 1928: Lider (Poetry) (Kharkov: Gezkult), 65 pp., and that same year her poems appeared in Ezra Korman’s anthology, Yidishe dikhterins (Jewish women poets) (Chicago: L. M. Shteyn). She was especially successful with her booklets of children’s poetry, and her poems were often selected for readers for elementary schools. As a teacher of children, she understood their psychology very well, and she continued to write such poetry until the last day of her life. Many of her Yiddish children’s poems were translated into Russian. She succeeded in surviving the liquidation of the Yiddish writers in the Stalin years; her name was among the signatures of the surviving writers in greetings on the occasion of the eightieth birthday of Zalmen Vendrof in 1956. She was among the contributors to Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow (July-October 1961), and a poetry cycle of hers appeared in Horizontn (Horizons) in Moscow (Sovetski pisatel) in 1965. She died in Kiev.

Her subsequent books include: Undzere shkheynim (Our neighbors), poems for children (Moscow: Emes, 1934), 16 pp.; Friling (Spring), for children (Moscow: Emes, 1935), 15 pp.; Gortnvarg (Vegetables) (Moscow: Emes, 1936), 13 pp.; Der komer (The mosquito) (Moscow: Emes, 1937), 14 pp.; Di bin un der hon (The bee and the rooster), poetry (Moscow: Emes, 1937), 16 pp.; Harbst (Autumn), children’s poetry (Moscow: Emes, 1938), 12 pp.; Aeroplaner (Airplanes), poems (Moscow: Emes, 1938), 11 pp.; Vinter (Winter) (Moscow: Emes, 1938), 10 pp.; Yolke (Little fir tree), a poem (Moscow: Emes, 1938), 14 pp.; Avtomobil (Automobile), poems (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 14 pp.; In kinder-kolonye (In the children’s colony) (Moscow: Emes, 1939), 15 pp.; In vald (In the woods) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 11 pp. Her work was also represented in Lomir zingen (Let’s sing) (Moscow: Emes, 1940).

Sources: Y. Dobrushin, in Nayerd (New earth), anthology 1 (Moscow, 1925); literary supplement to the daily newspaper Kamfer (Kiev) (1923); E. Korman, Yidishe dikhterins (Jewish women poets) (Chicago, 1928); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.

Mortkhe Yofe

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 314; and 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), p. 184.]

Friday 27 January 2017


HELENA KHATSKELS (July 25, 1882-January 26, 1973)
            She was born in Kovno, Lithuania, where she graduated from high school and went on to study history in the Bestuzhev Women’s Courses in St. Petersburg.  After completing these courses, she lived abroad for a time, took an active part in the Jewish labor movement, returned to Russia and worked illegally (using the name Rokhl) for the Bund, was a member of the Bundist committee in Kovno (1904), contributed to the illegal transport of literature from abroad, and worked for the Bund in Vilna, Odessa, and other cities in the Pale of Settlement.  She was arrested by the Tsarist authorities.  After the failed Russian Revolution of 1905, she completely dedicated herself to educational activities.  She worked as a teacher of history in Sofia Gurevich’s high school and in the Russian Jewish public schools of Vilna.  She developed a considerable area of activity in the realm of public education under the German occupation during WWI (1916-1918), and she was one of the most important builders of the Jewish school system, from which later developed the modern Jewish secular school curriculum in Lithuania, Poland, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.  A gifted speaker, she gave lectures in the “pedagogical course of the Vilna Yiddishist faculty” at the evening classes for adults, in children’s auditoriums, as well as at public cultural undertakings.  For a time she administered the women’s school of the “Society for Child Welfare in Vilna.”  Over the years 1918-1920, she lived in Moscow, where she studied methods for use in what was termed at the time the “Labor School.”  She then returned to Kovno, where until 1940 she played a leading role in the Jewish school and cultural movement in Lithuania, was a teacher in a Yiddish middle school in Kovno and other Yiddish schools in Lithuania, and at the same time was one of the principal leaders in the leftwing-oriented “Kultur-lige” (Culture League), as well as in the Jewish Communist movement in Kovno.  When the Kultur-lige closed (1925), she was arrested for a time and after being freed, she founded (with Dr. Shmuel Levin) a secret order to support a secular Jewish school curriculum via the “Society to Support the Physical and Mental Well-being of the Jewish Child,” which was the legal name of a segment of the activities of the Jewish Communists in Lithuania.  Over the course of many years, she traveled around the world and, in addition to Western Europe, also visited Israel (1929) and Romania (1934).  When the Soviets occupied Lithuania in 1940, Khatskels left for Moscow—in connection with efforts to renew the Yiddish school curriculum in Lithuania—but after the German attack on Russia, she was unable to return and was thus evacuated to Central Asia, where she lived until the end of 1944.  At the start of 1945, she returned to Kovno and was the renovator, builder, and teacher in the only Jewish public school that existed in the Jewish children’s home (in 1948 it was dissolved by the Soviets).  In connection with her fifty years of work in pedagogy, in 1947 she was honored by the Soviet regime with the title “meritorious teacher” and with the “Order of Lenin.”
            Her pedagogical activities were directly linked to her literary work which concentrated on the new Yiddish school.  Her first publication was Program fun naturvisnshaft mit metodishe onvayzungen, program fun geografye mit metodishe onvayzungen (Natural science curriculum with methodological instructions, geography curriculum with methodological instructions) (Vilna: 1918), 64 pp.—with the supplements: “Musterheft fun naturvisnshaft” (Models for natural science) and Zalmen Reyzen’s “Terminologye far geografye” (Terminology for geography), republished in the journal Kultur un bildung (Culture and education) in Moscow (1918).  She was regular contributor to the pedagogical journal Di naye shul (The new school) (Vilna-Warsaw) (1920-1930); Shul-bletl (School leaflet) in Kovno; and others.  She edited Kinderblat (Children’s newspaper), the children’s supplement to Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno (1931-1939), and there she published a great number of children’s stories, travel narratives, and translations from non-Jewish children’s literature.  In book form, she published: Di natur arum undz, a lernbukh far folksshuln (Nature around us, a textbook for public schools), with an afterword to the teachers (Berlin, 1922), 117 pp.; Di natur arum undz un mir aleyn, a lernbukh far folksshuln (Nature around us and us alone, a textbook for public schools), with illustrations (Berlin, 1922), 160 pp.; Di erd un di velt, a geografishe leyenbukh far shuln un aleynbildung (The earth and the world, a geography textbook for schools and self-education), part 1 (Berlin, 1924), 133 pp.; Shmuesn far di ershte tsvey lernyorn folksshul (Chats for the first two school years in public school) (Kovno, 1924), 12 pp.; Groyse dergraykhungen un derfindungen, populere shmuesn ṿegn fizik (major accomplishments and inventions, popular conversations on physics), part 1 (Moscow, 1927), 127 pp., with a foreword by the author and a word by Y. Zhiv (Moscow, 1927), 110 pp.; Finland (Finland) (Vilna, 1931), 40 pp.; Fun oslo biz bergen, a rayze iber norvegye (From Oslo to Bergen, a trip through Norway) (Vilna, 1931), 59 pp.  Her translations include: Lucy Fitch Perkins, Di kleyne holender (The little Dutchmen [original: The Dutch Twins]) (Vilna: 1938), 37 pp.; Perkins, Mini un moni, der eskimosisher tsviling (Mini and Moni, the Eskimo twins [original: The Eskimo Twins]), with drawings by the author (Vilna, 1938), 55 pp.; Perkins, Di gevagte, kinder fun di shteyntsayt (The brave ones, children of the Stone Age [original: The Cave Twins]) (Vilna, 1939), 51 pp.; George Sand, Di fliglen fun mut (Wings of courage [original: Les ailes du courage]) (Vilna, 1939), 52 pp.; Mary Mapes Dodge, Di zilberne glitshers (The silver skates [original: Hans Brinker or the Silver Skaters]) (Vilna, 1939), 48 pp.; V. Irvin and V. Stifenson, Kek, der kleyner eskimos (Kek, the little Eskimo) (Vilna, 1939), 131 pp.; Vos mit a kleynem yingl hot pasirt (What happened to the small boy) (Vilna, 1939), 40 pp.; F. Bernet, Der kleyner land (The small country) (Vilna, 1940), 52 pp.; Hector Malot, On a heym (Without a home [original: Sans famille]) (Vilna, 1940), 151 pp.; Der nayer alef-beys (The new ABC), with Meyer Yelin (Moscow, 1948), 64 pp.  Her work, “Analiz fun leyen-materyal” (Analysis of reading material), was republished in Dertsiungs-entsiklopedye (Education encyclopedia), vol. 1 (New York, 1957), pp. 295-306.  She worked as a teacher in the Lithuanian public schools in Kovno.  Her writings were to be published in the children’s supplement to Folksshtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw.  She died in Kovno.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; M. Anilovitsh and M. Yofe, in Shriftn far psikhologye un pedagogik (Writings on psychology and pedagogy) 1 (Vilna: YIVO, 1933), col. 499; Y. Mark, in Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), p, 258; Kh. L. Poznanski, Memuarn fun a bundist (Memoirs of a Bundist) (Warsaw, 1938), pp. 121-24; Eynikeyt (Moscow) (March 22, 1945; September 20, 1945; November 2, 1948); Litvisher yid (New York) (January 1947); M. Yelin, in Eynikeyt (November 29, 1947); N. Y. Gotlib, in  Lite (Lithuania), anthology (New York, 1951), pp. 1110-11; H. Bloshteyn, in Folksshtime (Warsaw) (December 1, 1959); Sh. L. Shneyderman, in Forverts (New York) (December 2, 1959); Y. Gar, Viderklangen, oytobyografishe fartseykhenungen (Echoes, autobiographical jottings) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1961), pp. 144-58.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


RIFOEL KHASMAN (RAPHAEL CHASMAN) (October 27, 1895-January 21, 1972)
            He was born in Kelm (Kelmė), Lithuania.  He was the son of the Shchuchiner rebbe.  He studied in religious elementary school and yeshiva, and he acquired secular subjects on his own.  For a time he studied natural science and philosophy at Yur’yev (Dorpat) University.  Until 1935 he was a lecturer in journalism at the Kovno public university, before he later settled in Israel.  He wrote articles for Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice) in Kovno (he was also its editorial secretary) and later Israeli correspondent for the newspaper; for many years he was correspondent from Lithuania for Forverts Forward) and Tog (Day) in New York and for Haarets (The land) in Tel Aviv, where he would later be a member of the editorial board.  He became a contributor and from 1955 editorial secretary of Hatsofe (The spectator) in Tel Aviv.  He published editorial articles, feature pieces, critical bibliographical essays, and translations.  He was the principal contributor to the periodical Velt-shpigl (World mirror) in Kovno (1927-1928).  He edited the Mizrachi weekly newspaper Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word) in Kovno (1931-1935).  He co-edited the publication Yahadut lita (Jews of Lithuania) (Jerusalem, 1958/1959), 256 pp.

Sources: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 4 (Tel Aviv, 1950), pp. 1734-35; Y. Mark, in Zamlbukh lekoved dem tsveyhundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese, 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936), ed. Dr. Y. Shatski (New York, 1937), pp. 253, 287; N. Y. Gotlib, in Lite (Lithuania), anthology (New York, 1951), vol. 1, pp. 1106, 1111; Sefer hashana shel haitonaim (The annual of newspapers) (Tel Aviv, 1947/1948), p. 248.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


AVROM KHASIN (1899-September 16, 1955)
            He was born in Mezhibizh, Podolia.  He was a choirboy under his father, the cantor in Mezhibizh, and later he became a Hebrew teacher.  He published children’s poetry in Bostomski’s Grininke boymelekh (Little green trees) in Vilna.  In the 1920s he emigrated to Brazil, became a teacher in the Hebrew Brazilian high school in Rio de Janeiro.  For many years he served as secretary of the editorial board of Idishe folkstsaytung (Jewish people’s newspaper) in Rio and published his poetry there.  He also translated Portuguese poetry into Yiddish.  For a time he worked as a teacher in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where he won a great payoff in the lottery, returned to Rio, took up business, and became a wealthy man.  In 1955 he was a member of the editorial group responsible for the anthology Undzer baytrog (Our contribution), which appeared (with five children’s poems by Khasin included) after his sudden passing from a heart attack.

Sources: Notice in Undzer baytrog (Our contribution) (Rio de Janeiro, 1956), pp. 94-98; obituary notices in the Brazilian Yiddish press; written information from Rosa Palantik in Rio de Janeiro.
Zaynvl Diamant


NOKHUM KHANIN (NATHAN CHANIN) (December 6, 1885 [or January 29, 1886]-August 8, 1965)
            He was born in Kholopenitsh (Kholopenichi), Minsk district, Byelorussia.  Until age eleven he studied in religious elementary school and for secular subject matter with the town teacher from a state school; later, his parents sent him to Borisov to study at a Talmud Torah.  In 1898 he became an apprentice to a tailor for women’s clothing, and later he went on to apprentice with a furrier.  In 1900 he moved to Orshe (Orshi), and there he worked in the furrier business and joined the Bund.  After a strike of Orshe furriers that was won in 1901, he moved on to Minsk and from there to Borisov, where he played an important role in the revival of the Bundist movement after a lost strike in the local match factory.  He was arrested and, after a year in prison in Borisov, he was sent to his parents in Krupke (Krupka) and placed under the supervision of the local police.  In 1904 he left for Kiev, from whence the Bundist leader Isay Yudin-Ayzenshtadt sent him to Ekaterinoslav on Bundist work.  After returning to Minsk, he worked in a tobacco factory, was known and beloved as a mass orator, and became a member of the “central organization” of the Bund, contributing to armed actions and attempted assassinations by the Minsk fighting division (among others, against Minsk Governor Krilov on June 28, 1905); he was also active in Smilevitsh (Smilavichy), Pukhovitsh (Pukhovichi), Smolevitsh (Smolevichi), Ihumen (Igumen), and Berezin (Berezina).  (In Igumen he became acquainted at the time with the young Leyvik Halpern [H. Leivik], who was then active in the Bund.)  He was involved in the attempted assassination of August 2, 1905 against the soldiers in Borisov.  Using the party name Samuil, he took part in Lublin in seizing a print shop so as to publish revolutionary proclamations.  He was later active in Warsaw, organizing the “gegrivete” cobblers (who used the shoemaker’s iron last and pins), and he was again arrested and taken from the Warsaw Citadel to prison in Lublin.  There he participated in a bitter hunger strike of the political prisoners, and during the disturbances in the cells, when the soldiers pointed their rifles and set to fire on the rebellious inmates, Khanin in a dramatic speech influenced the troops, and they did not fire their guns.  As a result Khanin received a severe punishment: he was deprived of all rights and sentenced to perpetual exile in Siberia.  A military court at the Warsaw Citadel added four years of penal servitude, and shackled in chains he was taken to a prison for convict labor in Oriol.  After spending two years there, he was transferred to the convict prison in Aleksandrovsk, Siberia.  After the four years of penal servitude, Khanin was sent to “perpetual” exile in the village of Nizhny-Ilimsk, Yakutsk district, Siberia.  From there he was able to keep in contact with his brothers and sister, as well as with comrades in the United States, and their assistance enabled him to successfully escape from Siberia.  After a long period of illegal wandering through Russia, “Nokhum the furrier” arrived in New York in September of 1912.  In New York he worked in a sweatshop in his trade and was a member of the cap-makers’ union.  During WWI he was active in People’s Relief, stood with the pacifists in connection with the war, and was active in the Jewish Socialist Federation.  With the split between the American Socialist Party and the Jewish Socialist Federation in 1921, Khanin stood with the opponents of the Comintern and together with the splintered minority proclaimed the founding of the Jewish Socialist Farband (Union) of the Socialist Party in America.  He became general secretary of the Socialist Farband, remaining in this position for fifteen years, and over the course of this time he traveled through the Jewish communities of America and tilled the earth on behalf of the socialist movement.  He strengthened the Workmen’s Circle, which in the 1920s was in danger of being taken over by Communist ideology, and he organized the anti-Communist opposition, initially in the Cap and Millinery Union, of which he was vice-president, and later in the Cloakmakers’ Union, furriers, the housepainters, the leather haberdashers, and other unions.  In 1928 he was a delegate to the International Socialist Congress in Brussels, Belgium.  He was also actively involved in the founding of the first Jewish socialist school in the then heavily Jewish residential area in New York of Harlem, and at the conference of the Workmen’s Circle and the Socialist Federation, he led a fierce fight with the opponents of Yiddish and Yiddish education; from 1936 (until 1952) he served as the educational director of the Workmen’s Circle.  Under Khanin’s influence the Forverts (Forward) chose to support the Yiddish school and instituted the weekly rubric: “Kultur un shul-tetikeyt in arbeter-ring” (Culture and school activities in the Workmen’s Circle).
           Khanin published his first correspondence piece in Folkstsaytung (People newspaper) in Vilna (November 15, 1906), which he signed “N.”  With the emergence of the weekly of the Jewish Socialist Farband, Der veker (The alarm), in New York (1921), Khanin wrote on a variety of political and cultural-community issues, and over the course of several decades, he published there his permanent series: “A brivele tsu a fraynd” (A short letter to a friend).  He also often wrote for the Forverts and for Fraynd (Friend), the monthly organ of the Workmen’s Circle.  In addition, he placed work in the monthly journal Unzer shul (Our school), published by the national education committee of the Workmen’s Circle (9131-1937); later, this journal was transformed into Kultur un dertsiung (Culture and education), of which Khanin was editor and ran the column entitled “Fun mayn shraybtish” (From my writing table).  He also had pieces appear in Tsukunft (Future) and other publications in New York.  He was as well a member of the editorial board of Kinder-tsaytung (Children’s newspaper), where he often published his beloved “Brivele tsu a kind” (Short letter to a child) which he signed “Feter nokhum” (Uncle Nokhum).  In book form he published: Sovyet-rusland, vi ikh hob ir gezen (Soviet Russia, as I see it) (New York: Veker, 1929), 254 pp.; A rayze iber tsentral un dorem-amerike (A voyage through Central and South America), descriptions of Jewish life in Santo Domingo, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay (New York: Workmen’s Circle, 1942), 284 pp.; Berele (Berele), “a story of a poor boy who grows up to be a fighter,” with drawings by Note Kozlovski (New York: Kinder ring, 1938), 128 pp., also published in a Hebrew translation by Shlomo Shenhod in Tel Aviv.  When the Forward Association discontinued Tsukunft, Khanin took the initiative to strengthen the journal which would continue to be published by the World Jewish Culture Congress—linked to Tsiko (Tsentrale yidishe kultur-organizatsye, or Central Yiddish Cultural Organization), of which he was one of the founders and then chairman; he was also chair of the Tsukunft management.  He also did a great deal so that new volumes on “Jews” in the Algemeyne entsiklopedye (General encyclopedia) would appear in America in Yiddish.  Through the Jewish Labor Committee of which he was one of the founders and for many years was one of the administrators, as well as through the Workmen’s Circle and other organizations, he did a great deal to save the writers and communities leaders from the perils of Hitler in Europe at the time of WWII.  On the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, there appeared in New York a collection entitled N. khanin, “published by the N. Khanin Jubilee Committee” (1946), 434 pp., with the participation of the most important Jewish writers, labor leaders, and cultural activists.  Shortly after the war and the Holocaust of European Jewry, Khanin made a trip to Western Europe and brought material support from American organized labor to the relief organizations in Europe.  In Paris he, together with local community and labor leaders, helped to settle the remaining Holocaust orphans among the survivors.  In 1951 he made his first trip to the state of Israel.  He was selected to be secretary general in 1952 of the Workmen’s Circle.  In 1956 his seventieth birthday was celebrated, and in 1961 he made another trip to Israel.  He died in New York.

Sources: B. Vaynshteyn, Di idishe yunyons in amerike, bleter geshikhte un erinerungen (The Jewish unions in America, pages from history and experience) (New York: United Hebrew Trades, 1929), p. 461; Dr. L. Fogelman, in Tsukunft (New York) (July 1930); Ab. Cahan, in Forverts (New York) (April 21, 1931); L. Finkelsteyn, in Tog (New York) (October 24, 1931; January 9, 1932; May 21, 1932; September 17, 1932; October 29, 1932; May 13, 1933; October 27, 1934); Y. Botoshanski, in Portretn fun yidishn shrayber (Portraits of Yiddish writers) (Warsaw, 1933), p. 168; Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (December 31, 1947); H. Rogof, in Forverts (December 27, 1934; September 11, 1952; December 30, 1952; August 1, 1953); Y. M. Budish, Geshikhte fun di kloth het, kep un milineri arbayter (History of the cloth hat, cap, and millinery workers) (New York, 1926), see index; Budish, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (April 29, 1956); E. Almi, in Nyu yorker vokhnblat (New York) (March 25, 1938); Y. Levin-Shatskes, in Der veker (New York) (April 9, 1938; March 1, 1956); Dr. E. Noks, in The Call (New York) (July 1938); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York, 1939); Dr. Chaim Zhitlovsky, in Der veker (November 1942), pp. 7-9; M. Osherovitsh, in Finf un zibetsik yor yidishe prese in amerike (Seventy-five years of the Yiddish press in America) (New York, 1945); Osherovitsh, in Forverts (January 11, 1948); Y. Sh. Herts, in N. khanin (N. Khanin), anthology (New York, 1946), pp. 107-9; Herts, 50 yor arbeter ring in yidishn lebn (Fifty years of the Workmen’s Circle in Jewish life) (New York, 1950); Herts, Di yidishe sotsyalistishe bavegung in amerike (The Jewish socialist movement in America) (New York, 1954); Herts, in Der veker (January 15, 1956; February 15, 1956); F. Kurski, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (November 1946); Kurski, Gezamlte shriftn (Collected works) (New York, 1952), pp. 260-68; Kh. Sh. Kazdan, in Shul-pinkes (Chicago, 1946), pp. 356, 372; Kazdan, in Shul-pinkes (1948), p. 356; Kazdan, in Foroys (Mexico City) (November 1, 1954); N. B. Minkov, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (May 1946); Minkov, in Tsukunft (April 1956), pp. 171-73; M. Elkin, H. Novak, and Sh. Mendelson, in Kultur un dertsiung (May 1946); V. Shulman, in Der veker (May 1, 1947); Y. Khaykin, Yidishe bleter in amerike (Yiddish newspapers in America) (New York, 1946), pp. 361-62; Dr. A. Mukdoni, in Kultur un dertsiung (March 1948); Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (April 14, 1948); D. Naymark, in Der veker (September 15, 1952); ; Naymark, in Fraye arbeter-shtime (New York) (July 13, 1956); P. L. Goldman, in Unzer veg (October 1, 1952); Sh. Rozhanski, in Idishe tsaytung (Buenos Aires) (October 28, 1952); R. Abramovitsh, in Der veker (February 1, 1956); Z. Yefroykin, in Kultur un dertsiung (May 1956); B. Gebiner, in Der fraynd (New York) (May-June 1956; January-February 1957); H. Lang, in Der veker (June 1, 1956); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 5, 1957); G. Aronson, in Tsukunft (May-June 1957), pp. 225-30; D. Aynhorn, in Forverts (January 5, 1958); Osher Pen, Idishkeyt in amerike (Jewishness in America) (New York, 1958), see index; P. Shteynvaks, Siluetn fun a dor (Silhouettes of a generation) (Buenos Aires, 1958), pp. 243-46; L. Blekhman (“Avrom der Tate”), Bleter fun mayn yugnt, zikhroynes fun a bundist (Pages from my youth, memoirs of a Bundist) (New York: Unzer tsayt, 1959), pp. 196ff; B. Goldshteyn, 20 yor in varshever “bund”, 1919-1939 (Twenty years in the Warsaw Bund, 1919-1939) (New York: Unzer tsayt, 1960), pp. 249-51; “Yidn un yidishkeyt in amerike” (Jews and Jewishness in America), Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (September 24, 1961).
Zaynvl Diamant

Thursday 26 January 2017


LEYVIK KHANUKOV (L. CHANUKOFF) (February 3, 1892-September 25, 1958)
            He was born in Gut-Olkhovo, Pskov district, Greater Russia, which his father, a flax merchant, held in lease.  He studied with private tutors in the community, later in a Russian elementary school in the city.  At age eleven or twelve, he left home and lived in Odessa and later in Vitebsk.  He worked for a time as a teacher in Nevel (Vitebsk district).  In 1913 he entered military service in Revel (later in Estonia).  In late 1914 he fled to the United States, settled in Philadelphia, was a peddler of lamps, and worked in sweatshops, shipbuilding, and with locomotives.  His literary work began in Russian, when he was still shy of fifteen years of age.  He contributed poems and stories to the Russian newspapers: Odesskie novosti (Odessa news) and Birzhevie vedomosti (Stockbroker’s gazette), as well as in the journal Solntse rossii (Sunny Russia), among other serials.  He began publishing stories in Yiddish at the end of 1916 in Idishe velt (Jewish world) in Philadelphia, and later he wrote pieces for: Tog (Day), Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Der amerikaner (The American), and Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom)—in New York; Idisher kuryer (Jewish courier) in Chicago; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Idishe shtime (Jewish voice) in California); and in the journals: In zikh (Introspective), Der tsvayg (The branch), Baym fayer (At the fire), Ineynem (Altogether), Kultur (Culture), Oyfkum (Arise), Dos vort (The word), Der hamer (The hammer), Signal (Signal), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Zamlungen (Collections), among others.  Over the course of forty years, he wrote stories, essays, critical treatments of both Jewish and Gentile writers and their work, and articles about pedagogy.  He worked for many years as a teacher in New York schools of the Sholem-aleykhem folk-institut (Sholem Aleichem Institute).  In the 1940s he carried out experiments and later excelled as a wood sculptor.  His books include: Shvere himlen, noveln (Difficult skies, stories) (New York, 1923), 320 pp.; In frume shoen, minyaturn (In pious times, miniatures) (New York, 1925), 192 pp.; Der mentsh, dertseylungen (The man, stories) (New York, 1929), 329 pp.; Di submarin z-1 (Submarine Z-1) (New York, 1932), 230 pp.; In klem fun tsayt, dertseylungen (In the throes of time, stories) (New York: IKUF, 1958), 316 pp.; Literarishe eseyen (Literary essays) (New York: IKUF, 1960), 333 pp.; Krizis, roman (Crisis, a novel) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1963), 350 pp.; Letste shriftn (Latest writings) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1966), 165 pp.  Particular attention was drawn by his novel Di submarin z-1, which was new both in its theme and in its terminology.  In his other fictional work, one senses courage in his depiction of figures.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; M. B., in Di vokh (New York) 4 (1929); Kh. Krul, Arum zikh (Around itself) (Vilna, 1930); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (May 15, 1932); B. Y. Byalostotski, Lider un eseyen (Poems and essays) (New York, 1932), pp. 210-11; N. Mayzil, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 23 (1932); P(erets) Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 22, 1932); Sh. Slutski, Avrom Reyzen-biblyografye (Avrom Reyzen bibliography) (New York, 1956); obituary notices in Forverts, Tog-morgn-zhurnal, Morgn-frayhayt, and New York Times (all New York) (September 26, 1958); M. Gitsis, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (January 1959); M. Mirski and Sh. B., in Yidishe shriftn (Warsaw) (September 1960); Sh. Belis, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (December 1960).
Mortkhe Yofe

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 314.]


            He was born in Plotsk (Płock), Poland.  He studied in a Jewish public school and high school.  In 1947 he emigrated to Paris and in 1953 to the United States.  Over the years 1935-1938, he was a correspondent for Moment (Moment) in Warsaw.  In 1937 he published and edited the weekly newspaper Plotsker lebn (Płock life).  He also wrote for Algemeyne zhurnal (General journal) in New York.  Among his pen names: Yisroel-Gershon, Gershon Batsh, and G. Plotsker.

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 314.


            He was born in Plotsk (Płock), Poland.  He studied in religious elementary school, yeshivas, and on his own secular subjects and foreign languages.  He was active in “Haḥaluts” (Pioneer) and in “Haḥaluts hatsair” (The young pioneer).  He began writing with an nessay in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw (1928).  He was a contributor and member of the editorial board (together with Dovid Gold and Sh. Grinshpan, among others) of Plotsker lebn (Plotsk life) in 1937.  He later moved to Warsaw, and in early 1938 became an internal contributor to Moment (Moment) and Radyo (Radio), in which he published (also using the pen name Z. Khavitsh), aside from theater and film reviews, also articles, reportage pieces, and translations from French, English, and Polish fiction.  In September 1939, in besieged and burning Warsaw, he was among the editorial group (with Z. Zak, B. Khilinovitsh, B. Mark, and others) that brought out the final issues of Moment.  He was the last secretary of the Jewish journalists’ union in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He died of hunger.

Sources: Dr. R. Feldshuh, Idishe gezelshaftlikher leksikon (Jewish communal handbook), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1939), p. 807; Plotsk (Płock), anthology (Buenos Aires, 1945), p. 219; M. Mozes, in Fun noentn over (New York) 2 (1956), pp. 290-93; Sh. Grinshpan, Yidn in plotsk (Jews in Płock) (New York, 1960), pp. 200-1.
Khayim Leyb Fuks


AVROM KHOMET (ABRAHAM CHOMET) (December 26, 1892-September 25, 1978)
            He was born in Torne (Tarnów), western Galicia.  Until 1923 he was active in the Labor Zionist party, and later he worked with the general Zionist movement.  He was Zionist representative in the city council and (1938-1939) the head of the Jewish community council in Torne.  When the Germans entered the city, he fled to Russia, returning to Poland in 1946.  He later lived for a time in Paris and from 1948 in Israel.  His writing activities began with Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Warsaw, to which he contributed over the years 1919-1921.  Then, after the split among the Labor Zionists in Poland, he founded and edited Dos arbeter-vort (The worker’s word) in Cracow in 1921.  He was later lead contributor and editor of the Polish weekly newspaper Tygodnik żydowski (Jewish weekly) and its Yiddish supplement Yudish vokhnblat (Jewish weekly newspaper) in Torne (1928-1939).  He also placed work in the Zionist daily Nowy Dziennik (New daily) in Cracow (1931-1939).  He edited the jubilee volume (in Polish) commemorating fifty years of Zionism in Torne; and the Yiddish memorial volume, Torne, kiem un khurbn fun a yidisher shtot (Tarnów, the existence and destruction of a Jewish city) (Tel Aviv, 1954), 928 pp., for which he wrote six long works concerning various aspects of the lives of Jews in Torne.  In Israel he lived in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Dr. Sh. Shtendik, in Yudish vokhnblat (Tarnów) (June 1, 1934); D. Leybl, in Nayvelt (Tel Aviv) (November 26, 1954; December 3, 1954); A. V. Yasni, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (December 17, 1954); B. Ts. Tsangen, in Nowiny Poranny (Tel Aviv) (January 20, 1956).
Khayim Leyb Fuks

Wednesday 25 January 2017


            He was born in Ruzhin, Kiev district, Ukraine.  He studied in religious elementary school and in a small synagogue study hall.  At age thirteen he had to go to work to help his family.  Early in the day he would read books in Hebrew and Yiddish, and he wrote poetry and stories in both languages.  At age nineteen he turned to secular subjects, became an external student, and in 1903 set out to pursue his studies in Switzerland, but he got stuck in Chortkov (Chortkiv), eastern Galicia, where he founded one of the first Hebrew-taught-in-Hebrew schools in Galicia.  Fortuitously, he met Leyzer Rokeach, the editor of the weekly Der veker (The alarm) in Buczacz, and in it he published several poems and a story.  He also published a Hebrew story in Rokeach’s monthly Hayarden (The garden).  From that point, he published stories and articles in: Lemberger togblat (Lemberg daily newspaper) and Der yudisher arbayter (The Jewish laborer) in Lemberg; Der tog (The day) in Cracow; Der id (The Jew); Snunit (Swallow), edited by G. Shofman; and Haolam (The world); among others.  In 1910 he published the Hebrew-language monthly Tsafririm (Zephyrs)—only one issue appeared.  In 1911 the publishing house of Hateḥiya (Revival) in Warsaw brought out a collection of his stories and images in Hebrew under the title Pesiya rishona (First step).  He was interned during WWI in Stanislavov as a Russian citizen.  He later lived in the provincial town of Bili (Biel?) in Switzerland.  No further information has been forthcoming about him.

Source: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2.
Borekh Tshubinski


SHIFRE KHOLODENKO (1909-July 1974))

            She a poet, prose author, and the younger sister of the poet Dovid Hofshteyn, born in the village of Bartkova Rudnya, Ukraine. Their father, an employee in the timber business, had settled the family in the late 1890s in Volhynia. On her mother’s side, she descended from the well-known Berdichev folk musician Pedatsur Kholodenko. She initially was studying in a Moscow agronomical school and then went to work on the land in Crimea; she later returned in 1928 to study in the faculty of physics and mathematics at the first state university in Moscow. For a number of years thereafter, she worked as a geodesist, taking part in scientific expeditions to the north, which later was reflected in her creative work. She debuted in print with a poem, entitled “Az mayne frayndn…” (As my friends), in the literary and artistic monthly Shtrom (Current) (Moscow) 3 (1922). Her original poetic voice soon found a distinctive place in the world of Soviet poetry and afforded her a special place therein.

            Her first collection of poems was entitled Lebn (Life) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 62 pp.; the second collection was Lider (Poems) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 119 pp. She later contributed to the Kiev almanac Ukraine (Ukraine) and other Soviet Yiddish periodicals. She also wrote stories, and five of them appeared in 1940 in book form under the title Gantsfri (Completely free) (Moscow: Der Emes), 40 pp. Also, a portion of her poetry appeared as a book entitled Undzer kraft (Our strength) (Moscow: Der Emes, 1947), 128 pp. This volume of poetry had five sections: 1. “Undzer kraft”—“I did not know until now of my strength, / I cannot now weight or measure it, / It has been tested on every grid, / With every struggle I feel it getting steadier”; 2. “Vander” (Migrating); 3. “Gevikst” (Waxed); 4. “Erd” (Earth); and 5. “Lebn” (Life). She placed a poetry cycle in Horizontn (Horizons) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1965); and later in Dos vort (The word) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1974), 163 pp. Her work was represented as well in: Tsum zig (To victory) (Moscow: Emes, 1944); and the poetry collection Yugnt (Youth) (Kharkov: Komyug, 1922). One senses in her poetry the feelings of a woman and a mother. She suffered greatly over the years, and she dedicated many poems to this same theme over the course of a half century of her literary activity. The death of her brother, who was for her a continual support and a consolation throughout her life, was a personal tragedy for her. It was exacerbated by the fact that she could in no way express her feelings publicly—in written or oral form. After her death there was discovered in the drawer of her writing table poems of great pain in which she expressed her feelings: “Your heart yearns for the friend who has been for so long frozen in the solid ground…. And the thought floats out: Can you guess it—who can know (no one was there)—was the thread not torn, I’d like to glimpse him one more time…. Oh, how that would make me happy! I want to embrace him, as we walk along, as we stand still, I want to tell him everything, and with clearly distinct words I want to make him understand how great is my sorrow that I am now alone.” She died in Moscow.

Sources: Y. Nusinov, in Royte velt (Kharkov) 9 (1926); D. Tsharni (Daniel Charney), in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 3 (1927); E. Korman, Yidishe dikhterins (Jewish women poets) (Chicago, 1928), pp. 300, 302, 346; N. Y. Gotlib, in Tsukunft (New York) (1951); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.

Mortkhe Yofe

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 313-14; and 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. 183-84.]


            He was born in Manzir, Romania.  He assisted his father in his blacksmith shop.  He was an autodidact.  Haim Nachman Bialik saw his notebooks of poetry in Odessa and offered him strong encouragement.  He settled in Bender and opened a “cheder metukan” (improved religious elementary school) there.  After WWII he was arrested by the Soviets for “Zionist activities” and dispatched to the Vorkuta labor camp where he died.  He wrote numerous poems, but published few, in the daily newspaper Unzer tsayt (Our time) in Kishinev (1922-1938) and in other Yiddish literary collections.

Source: Y. Urman, in Besaraber yidn (Tel Aviv) (January 1983).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 313.