Sunday 19 February 2017


MALKE LOKER (MALKA LOCKER) (November 22, 1887-1990)
            She was born in Kitev (Kuty), eastern Galicia, into a merchant household.  She received a Jewish education and a systematic secular education as well.  She learned foreign languages and read a great deal of literature in German, French, and English.  She began writing poetry in Yiddish first in 1929 and published it in various newspapers and magazines.  Her first volume of poetry was published in 1931, Velt un mentsh, lider (World and man, poems) (Paris: Tryangl), 308 pp., with a foreword by Khayim Liberman: “With Malke Loker a radiant and glowing person had enter Yiddish literature.  Her book is a High Holiday prayer book for our poetry….  She is a poet…with an eye for heaven and earth, with an ear for the deepest impulses and most refined stimulation, a singer of both matter and spirit, of instinct and soul.”  There is as well in this book a section entitled “Verk un kamf” (Work and struggle), in which she celebrates New York with its factories, skyscrapers, subways, and mixtures of different peoples.  In 1932 her book of poems Du, lider (You, poetry) (Tel Aviv: Yam), 90 pp.; in 1938 she published in Vienna a poetry collection in German, entitled Gedichte (Poetry), which drew the attention of important German writers.  In this same years she also wrote the choral works Luekh trts”v (1935-1936 calendar) and Luekh trts”kh (1937-1938 calendar), which were staged in Vienna and London; in 1940 she brought out the poetry collection Shtet (Cities) (London), 82 pp.; later arrived her book Di velt in on a hiter (The world has no guard), “pages from a diary, 1940-1945”) (New York: Idisher kemfer, 1947), 122 pp., which was translated into Hebrew as Haolam lelo shomer, by Avigdor Hameiri (Tel Aviv, 1927), 121 pp.  She also wrote a monograph on the French poet: Zhon artur rembo (Jear Arthur Rimbaud) (New York: Idisher kemfer, 1950), 219 pp., and it appeared as well in French as Le Poète qui s’enfuit, zhon artur rembo (The poet who escapes, Jean Arthur Rimbaud) (Bruxelles, 1960?).  She also brought out a volume of essays, Romantiker, daytshland, frankraykh, england (The Romantics: Germany, France, England) (New York: Brider Shulzinger, 1958), 198 pp.[1]  Subsequent books include: Yerusholayim (Jerusalem) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1967), 68 pp.; Sharl bodler (Charles Baudelaire) (Tel Aviv: Perets Pub;., 1970), 126 pp.; and Pol verlen (Paul Verlaine) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1976), 99 pp.  Her work also appeared in Mortkhe Yofe’s anthology, Erets-yisroel in der yidisher literatur (Israel in Yiddish literature) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1961).  She died in Jerusalem.  She was the wife of Berl Loker.

Malke and Berl Loker

Sources: P. Vyernik, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 8, 1932); Shmuel Niger, in Tsukunft (New York) (September 1932); Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1937); Shloyme Bikl, in Tsukunft (April 1952); A. Lis, in Undzer haynt (Tel Aviv) (August 7, 1954); Lis, Heym un doyer (Home and duration) (Tel Aviv, 1960), pp. 71-76; Y. Botoshanski, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (October 28, 1954); P. Boym, in Der veg (Mexico City) (November 23, 1954); Sh. Meltsar, in Al hanaharot (To the rivers) (Jerusalem, 1956); T. Vinshtuk, in Maariv (Tel Aviv) (June 27, 1958); D. Zakai, in Davar (Tel Aviv) (October 24, 1958); L. Domankevitsh, in Unzer veg (Paris) (November 18, 1958); P. Shteynvaks, Siluetn fun a dor (Silhouettes of a generation) (Buenos Aires, 1958), pp. 184-86; Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958); Y. Gotfarshteyn, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 34 (1959); A. Glants-Leyeles, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (February 20, 1959); Y. A. Liski, in Unzer shtime (Paris) (April 23, 1960); A. A. Roback, The Story of Yiddish Literature (New York, 1940), p. 331; J. Leftwich, The Golden Peacock (London, 1961), p. 656.
Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 322].

[1] Translator’s note.  There is a French translation of this work, Les Romantique: Allemagne, Angleterre, France (Paris, 1964), 308 pp. (JAF)

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