Thursday 15 June 2017


NATHAN (NOKHUM) LEMPERT (December 1875-April 5, 1899)
            He was born in Stoybts (Stolbtsy, Stowbtsy), Minsk district, Byelorussia.  He studied with private tutors and in the Mirer Yeshiva.  In 1889 he joined his father in New York, where for the first four years he worked as an assistant seller of soda water for his uncle on the East Side; thereafter, he had his own soda water business, later opening a shop with soda beverages, which was also a sort of meeting point for socialist leaders, poets, and writers.  On two occasions he also ran delicatessens.  He was active in the Socialist Workers’ Party and a close friend of Leon Kobrin and Morris Rosenfeld who dedicated a poem to him after Lempert’s death.  He debuted in print with poetry in Shomer’s (N. M. Shaykevitsh) weekly newspaper Der yidisher pok (The Jewish Puck), and later he published poems with social themes in Arbater tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper), Ovend blatt (Evening newspaper), and Ovend post (Evening mail)—in New York.  He died in New York of galloping tuberculosis.  “His poems of struggle,” wrote N. B. Minkov, “were not abstract poetry concerning the fight; they were for the most part responses to events.  They were thus written clearly, to the point, and explanatory.  This alone, elevating them to true struggle poetry, is full of enthusiasm.  Lempert is a man of hot temperament of a deep belief in the workers’ struggle.  He began with lyrical poetry.  But not many lyrical poems came to him to write down.  The few such poems of his excel in their profound mood, thin lyricism, and genuine poetry.”

Sources: Elye Shulman, Geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur in amerike (History of Yiddish literature in America) (New York, 1943), pp. 176-80; M. Aronson, in Morgn-zhurnal (New York) (May 28, 1950); Amerike in yidishn vort (America in the Yiddish word), anthology (New York, 1955); N. B. Minkov, in Unzer tsayt (New York) (September 1955; February 1956); Minkov, in Kultur un dertsiung (New York) (January 1956); Minkov, Pyonern fun yidisher poezye in amerike (Pioneers of Yiddish poetry in America), vol. 2 (New York, 1956), pp. 197-326.
Benyomen Elis

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