NOYEKH LURYE (1885-May 18, 1960)
He was a prose author, born in the town of Blashne, near Palonka, Minsk district, Byelorussia, into a working-class family. He received a traditional Jewish education. He studied in religious primary schools, later in the yeshivas of Maltsh (Malecz), Slonim, and Slobodka. Beginning with the first Russian Revolution of 1905, he took part in the social and political movement, and that year he joined the Bund and was active in the party in a number of cities. He spent 1907-1908 in Tsarist prisons in Warsaw, Vilna, and Berdichev. From his youth he engaged in various forms of labor: a porter, a builder, and a teacher; he traveled through Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine; he was also a soldier in WWI and in 1920 volunteered to join the Red Army. He began to write in 1911, initially in Hebrew and later switching to Yiddish, debuting in print that year with stories that appeared in Yiddish publications in Warsaw and Vilna, among them: Di fraye erd (The free earth) and Der fraynd (The friend). After the Russian Revolution of February 1917, he joined Kerensky’s army. In 1917 he published stories and sketches in the Bundist daily, Der veker (The alarm), in Minsk. In 1918 he contributed to the weekly newspaper Der glok (The bell), organ of the Odessa committee of the Bund. At the time he moved to Kiev where he was a member of the Bund’s central committee and of the executive of the “Kultur-lige” (Culture league), as well as manager of the extracurricular section of the Culture League; he worked in the Ministry of Jewish Affairs and was one of the administrators of courses in social education. In 1921 he was in charge of the Yiddish pedagogical courses in Kiev. He was also a teacher and speaker on literature and educational matters. At that time he began to turn his attention to literature for children. He wrote children’s stories, poetry, sketches, and plays himself and translated stories from European children’s literature. He published pedagogical articles and reports on children’s literature in: Shul un lebn (School and life), Pedagogisher byuleten (Pedagogical bulletin), and Bikher-velt (Book world) in Kiev. From 1930 he was writing primarily realistic prose stories and novels about the lives of the Jewish masses in the agricultural colonies, about socio-economic problems of towns in the Soviet Union, and about the contradictions and cataclysms in the life of the Jewish population in the years of NEP (New Economic Policy). In the 1940s he was writing on war themes.
He lived in Moscow after WWII. In 1947 he contributed to the almanac publications of Soviet Yiddish writers. In 1948 he took part in the last literary evening that took place in Moscow in Yiddish (a discussion of the content of the literary collections Heymland [Homeland]). His last work published in Yiddish appeared in the almanac Heymland 6 (July-August 1948); it was a review of Shire Gorshman’s book, Der koyekh fun lebn, noveln un dertseylungen (The power of life, novellas and stories). In the late 1940s, he was purged, imprisoned, exiled to a forced labor camp in the far north, and then released in 1955. In 1957 a Russian translation of his last novel In vald (In the woods) was published under the title Lesnaia tishina (Forest quiet) (Moscow: Sovetkii pisatel'; 1961 reprint). He died in Moscow. In Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) (Moscow) 1 (January-February 1962), his story “Oys khaver” (No longer friends) was republished. After his death the Moscow Writers’ Union appointed a commission to put together his literary behest. He left behind critical works on Mendele, Y. L. Perets, Leyb Kvitko, Dovid Hofshteyn, and others.
From his own original writings, the following were published: Moyshe rabeynu (Moses, our teacher) (St. Petersburg, 1917), 49 pp.; Af eyn fisele (On one little foot), a children’s tale in verse (Kiev: kultur-lige, 1922), 8 pp.; Der letster ber (The last bear), a children’s play (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1929), 33 pp.; Brikn brenen (Bridges burning), stories (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers, 1929), 300 pp.; Zavl di fis (Zavl the feet) (Kiev, 1932), 34 pp.; Elter mit a nakht (Older by a night), stories (Kharkov-Kiev, 1934; Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1967), 114 pp.; A geveynlekh lebn, dertseylungen (A regular life, stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1935), 158 pp.; Eyner fun der sherenge, dertseylungen (One in the line, stories) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1936), 279 pp.; Shoyel-hersh (Saul-Hersh), a novel of the life of colonists in the Nay-Zlatopolye district (Kharkov-Kiev, 1937), 258 pp.; Elye-yorsh, roman (Elye Yorsh, a novel) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938), 352 pp.; A fule mos, dertseylung (A full measure, a story) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 34 pp.; Geklibene dertseylungen (Selected stories) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940), 444 pp.; In vald, story (Kiev, 1941), 32 pp.; Ba der ofener grub, dertseylungen (At the open mine, stories), including several stories of German atrocities against Jews (Moscow: Emes, 1944), 84 pp.; Vidershtand (Uprising), a ghetto drama (Kiev, 1944), which was staged in a number of Yiddish theaters including the Warsaw Yiddish State Theater; In vald (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1972), 365 pp. His work also appeared in: Deklamater fun der sovetisher yidisher literatur (Reciter of Soviet Yiddish literature) (Moscow: Emes, 1934); 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); Komyug, literarish-kinstlerisher zamlbukh ([Jewish] Communist Youth, literary-artistic anthology) (Moscow: Emes, 1938); and Shlakhtn (Battles) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932). His translations include: Hans Christian Andersen’s Margeritke (The daisy) (Kiev: Onhoyb, 1919); Wilhelm Hauff, Haufs mayselekh (Hauff’s stories) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1923), 164 pp.; and in separate booklets: Hauff, Der kleyner muk (The little gnat) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1923); Hauff, Di mayse mit kalif bushl (The tale of caliph stork) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1923), 19 pp.; Hauff, Liliputl noz (Tiny nose) (Warsaw: Kultur-lige, 1923); Hauff, Vos mit saidn iz zikh farlofn (The fortunes of Said) (Warsaw, 1923), 56 pp.; Hauff, Mayselekh (Fairy tales [of the Brothers Grimm]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1922), 47 pp.; Maxim Gorky, A mentsh ba laytn (A man of the people) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 333 pp., second edition (1940); Molière’s comedy, Der kloymersht kranker (The imaginary invalid) (Kiev, 1935), 119 pp.; and a literary adaptation of Aleksandr Petshorsky’s Der oyfshtand in sobibur (The uprising at Sobibor) (Moscow: Emes, 1946), 62 pp.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetn-farband in 1933, 1934, 1935 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union, 1932) (Minsk, 1933, 1934, 1935); Shmuel Niger, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) (April 29, 1927); B. Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye (Yiddish literature in Byelorussia after the revolution) (Moscow, 1931), pp. 146-50; D. Tsharni, (Daniel Charney), in Tsukunft (New York) (October 1935); Anon., “Tsvishn di sovetishe yidishe shrayber” (Among the Soviet Yiddish writers), Eynikeyt (Moscow) (June 7, 1942; August 3, 1944; January 24, 1946); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); N. Y. Gotlib, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (March 30, 1953); Lo amut ki eḥye (I shall not die but live), anthology (Merhavya, 1957); Y. Tsang, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 8, 1959); 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; L. Blekhman (“Avrom der tate” [Father Abraham]), Bleter fun mayn yugnt (Pages from my youth) (New York, 1959), pp. 189, 272, 273; Sh. Rabinovitsh, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (May 27, 1960; August 8, 1960); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index; A. Holdes, in Sovetish heymland (Moscow) (March-April 1962); Z. Vendrof, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (May 1963).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 328; 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. 199-200.]