Monday 9 January 2017


DOVID (DAVID) COHEN (October 1894-August 18, 1976)
            He was born in a village near Navaredok (Novogrudok), Byelorussia.  He spent his childhood years in the town of Kamay, Lithuania, where his father served as rabbi.  At age twelve he left home, and at age fourteen he became a village elementary school teacher.  He was later a student in the Navaredok Musar yeshiva, later still at the Volozhin Yeshiva, from which he was expelled for the role he played in preparing an illegal piece of writing.  He debuted in print in 1920 in Leben (Life), M. Shalit’s notebooks for literature, art, and journalism with a piece on Lithuanian Hassidim and with a story.  He contributed as well to Idishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), edited by Sh. L. Tsitron, in Vilna.  In 1920 he was the agent for Haḥaluts (The pioneer) in Kovno and there he contributed to Di idishe shtime (The Jewish voice) stories and feature pieces.  In 1924 he moved to the land of Israel, where he was a cofounder of the Hanoar Haoved (Working youth) movement and co-editor of the biweekly journal for the Workmen’s Circle, Bemaala (On the way up).  He wrote Hassidic tales and folk legends for Davar (Word), Lemerḥav (Into the open), Al hamishmar (On guard), Letste nayes (Latest news), and Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper [a biweekly])—all in Tel Aviv.  In book form in Hebrew: Asher shamati vesiparti (Which I heard and recounted) (Tel Aviv, 1952), 327 pp.; Agadot kineret (Tales of the Galilee) (Tel Aviv, 1949), 67 pp.; Agadot mitnagnot (Tales played melodiously) (Tel Aviv, 1955), 290 pp.; Ḥesed neurim (Innocence of youth) (Tel Aviv, 1955/1956), 227 pp.  In the survivors’ camps in Germany, a collection of his legends in Yiddish was published.  He also prepared by himself for publication (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ.) a fictional collection in Yiddish.  Among his pen names: Nitsuts, Uri, Shmuel, Arye, and Ben Haḥolot.  He died at Kibbutz Alonim.

Source: D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopediya leḥalutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1949), p. 1416.
Yankev Cohen

[Addition information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 309.]

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