Sunday 11 June 2017


NEKHEMYE LEVINSKI (January 1901-July 8, 1957)
            He was born in Reyngrad (?), Lomzhe district, Russian Poland.  He first received a traditional Jewish education, later studying in high schools in Ostrów, Poland, and in Klynsti, Chernigover district, Ukraine, where his parents settled after the outbreak of WWI.  He was active in the youth circles of Tseire-Tsiyon (Young Zionists) and the Zionist socialists.  In late 1918 he returned to Poland and served for a time in the Polish military.  In 1920 he moved to Kovno, Lithuania, where he studied in university.  In 1921 he moved to join an uncle in South Africa.  In 1923 he visited Europe and Israel.  He debuted in print in 1938 with a story “Der kund” (The customer) in the monthly Foroys (Onward), edited by Y. Kharlash, published by the Jewish cultural association of Johannesburg.  He later published stories in the monthly Dorem-afrike (South Africa), published by Cultural Federation in Johannesburg and elsewhere.  A volume by him was published posthumously: Der regn hot farshpetikt, dertseylungen fun dorem-afrike (The rain came late, stories from South Africa) (Johannesburg-Blumfonteyn: Mishpokhe, 1959), 154 pp., with a foreword by M. Shur; it also appeared in a Hebrew translation by Sh. Shenhod, Betsel hagezaim, sipurim meḥavai darom-afrika (In the shade of tree trunks, stories from South Africa) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1961), 138 pp.  The main theme of Levinski’s stories was the race relations between whites and blacks in South Africa.  He was a cofounder and chairman of the Jewish cultural circle in Blumfonteyn, where he lived out his life and where he died.
            Levinski’s brother, BERL LEVINSKI, who lived for many years in South Africa, first in Blumfonteyn and later Johannesburg, was also a writer.  He wrote for a variety of Yiddish newspapers and magazines with articles and notices of Jewish community and literary affairs.

Sources: Y. M. Sherman, “Mentsh un dertseylung” (Man and story), Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (August 1957); A. Tshin, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (August 1957); Y. Rapoport, “Vegn a khesed shel emes-bikhl” (On a booklet of a good deed of truth), Tsukunft (New York) (November 1959); D. Volpe, “A yidisher dertseyler vegn shvartsn mentshn un zayn lebn” (A Jewish depicter of black men and their lives), Yontef-bleter (Johannesburg) (May 1960); Maariv (Tel Aviv) (December 21, 1961); Hatsofe (The spectator) (Tel Aviv) (March 26, 1962); Yediot aḥaranot (Tel Aviv) (January 1, 1962).
Benyomen Elis

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