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.]

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