Thursday 16 February 2017


SHLOYME LOPATIN (LOPATE) (1907-December 1941)

            He was a poet, born in the town of Belinovke (Bilynivka), near Berdichev, Ukraine. He studied in religious primary school and in a Russian public school. At age sixteen he became a leather worker. During the Russian Civil War, he served in the Red Army. Together with a group of wanderers, in 1924 he settled on the land in one of the Jewish colonies in Kherson district and became a farmer. In 1929 he moved to Odessa where he studied at the Jewish rabfak (workers’ faculty), which prepared one to enter senior high school. He debuted in print with a cycle of poems in the first issue of the Kherson journal Prolit (Proletarian literature) (1928). Amid them was the poem “Ikh, der yidisher muzhik” (Me, a Jewish peasant) which became so popular that people soon began singing it as a folksong, and it was included in readers and anthologies. From that point on, he published his work widely, in such venues as: Der yidisher erd-arbeter (The Jewish agricultural worker); Di royte velt (The red world) and Shtern (Star) in Kharkov; and Der odeser arbeter (The Odessa laborer). He was to become known as the peasant-poet. His poems reflect a time when there was great hope in the Jewish community, a time when many Jews were moving from their shtetls to the steppes to farm in southern Ukraine and Crimea. He produced poetry collections one after the next, and he was a member of the writers’ association. In the years before WWII, he lived and worked as a journalist and editor in Kiev, and in June 1941 he went to the front where he died in battle against the Nazis in December 1941.

His written work includes: “Vinter in kolonye” (Winter in the colony), in Deklamator (Declaimer), ed. Leyb Kvitko and Henekh Kazakevitsh (Kharkov: State Publ., 1929); Tsvey mol geboyrn, poeme (Born twice, poem) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 97 pp.; Dos gezang vegn frayntshaft, poeme (The song of friendship, poem) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1937), 54 pp.; Af mayn gliklekher erd (On my happy earth), poems (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1939), 160 pp.; Fir brider un andere lider (Four brother and other poems) (Odessa: Children’s Press, 1939), ; Regnboygns (Rainbows), poetry (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 170 pp. “Geyt mit shpiz antkegn” (Go with a spear against), a poetry cycle in the anthology Lire (Lyre) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1985).

His work also appeared in: Almanakh fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber tsum alfarbandishn shrayber-tsuzamenfor (Almanac of Soviet Yiddish writers to the All-Soviet Writers’ Conference) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934); Birebidzhan (Birobidzhan) (Krakow: State Publ., 1936); and Komsomolye (Communist Youth) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938); and Der shtern (The star) 1 (Kiev, 1947).

Sources: A. Velednitski, in Sovetishe literatur (Kiev) (July 1939); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.

Borekh Tshubinski

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 321; 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. 194-95.]

No comments:

Post a Comment