Tuesday 7 March 2017



            He was a critic and literary scholar, born in the city of Dibrovne (Dubrowna), Byelorussia. After completing middle school, he entered the Yiddish department of Moscow Pedagogical Institute named for Lenin and graduated in 1938. With the Institute’s diploma, he became a member of the editorial board of the newspaper Der emes (The truth), the site of his debut publication, in Moscow and manager of its cultural division, but not long after, that same year, the newspaper was shut down. From then, he was a research student at the same Institute until 1941. He received his doctorate from the department of foreign literature with a dissertation on “Playwriting in the Era of ‘Storm and Stress’ in German Literature.” In July 1941 he volunteered to serve on the front. In the years after the war, he worked primarily on classical German literature, and he wrote a thesis on the playwright Friedrich Schiller. In 1972 he received a professorial position at the pedagogical institute in the city of Gorky (now, Nizhny-Novgorod). He did not lose all interest, though, in Yiddish literature. He published literary criticism and scholarly articles in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow as well as in Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star). Initially, these articles were focused on German literature but with links to Jewish culture, such as: “Gete un di yidishe kultur” (Goethe and Jewish culture), “Di tragedye un der tryumf fun stefan tvayg” (The tragedy and triumph of Stefan Zweig), “Af di shpurn fun moyshe mendelson” (In the tracks of Moses Mendelssohn), and on the work of Gottfried Lessing and Leon Feuchtwanger. In the 1980s, though, he wrote principally on Yiddish literature, both the classical authors and the contemporary ones. In 1984 he turned in full to Dovid Bergelson. In 1986 on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mendele Moykher-Sforim, he published in Sovetish heymland a series of articles on Mendele.

In book form: A gilgl fun a lid (A metamorphosis of a poem) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1985), 62 pp. a supplement to Sovetish heymland 6 (1985).

Source: See the preface to his book.

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 328-29; 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. 200-1.]

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