Tuesday 20 June 2017


LEON (LEYB) LERMAN (1904-1966)

            He was a prose author, born in Poland where he worked as a laborer. In 1923 he moved to the Soviet Union, living in Kharkov and later in Moscow. He was a student in the Yiddish division of the Second Moscow State University. He published stories and jottings about workers’ lives at the time of “socialist construction” in: Der emes (The truth) in Moscow (1928-1937); Der shtern (Star) in Kharkov-Kiev; Di royte velt (The red world) and Prolit (Proletarian literature) in Kharkov; among other serials. During the Moscow Show Trials of the 1930s he was arrested (1937) for Jewish nationalism, and there was no news of him for many years. After being rehabilitated in 1955, he settled in Moscow where he died. In his last years he also wrote poetry and published stories in Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw.

He published in book form: Fabrik-gesl (Factory alley) (Moscow, 1931); Tsigl (Brick), stories (Moscow, 1932), 138 pp.; and Torfer (Turfer), stories (Moscow: Emes, 1933), 104 pp. His novel Tsuker-plantatsye (Sugar plantation), announced in Emes (March 5, 1934), was published in Moscow in 1936. His work may also be found in Dertseylungen fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber (Stories by Soviet Yiddish writers) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1969).

Sources: M. Vortman, in Der emes (Moscow) (March 5, 1934); N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetnfarband in 1932 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1932), (Minsk, 1933), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; information from H. Vaynraykh in New York.

Khayim Leyb Fuks

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 352; 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. 220.]

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