Friday, 23 June 2017


RUVN LERNER (1902-1972)
            A Soviet Jewish linguist, he came from the town of Yanov (Janów), Ukraine.  From 1933 he was a researcher at the Office for Teaching Yiddish Language, Literature, and Folklore in the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev; he specialized in historical issues.  He published in the compendia Afn shprakhfront (On the language front): “Der genezis funem genitiv-posesiv” (The origin of the genitive possessive) 1 (Kiev, 1937), pp. 126-49; “Tsu der geshikhte fun der literarisher shprakh obheyb 19tn yorhundert” (On the history of the literary language, beginning of the nineteenth century) 3 (Kiev, 1937), pp. 165-90; “Intonatsyonal-stilistishe bazunderkeytn fun sholem-aleykhems shprakh” (Inflection-stylistic peculiarities of Sholem-Aleykhem’s language) 4 (Kiev, 1937), pp. 101-26.  Together with Kh. Loytsker, M. Maydanski, and M. Shapiro, he completed the work on the great Russian-Yiddish dictionary (edited by Elye Spivak, ultimately published in 1984); and he worked with Ayzik Zaretski on a dictionary of Yiddish orthography.  With the musicologist Moyshe Beregovski, he adapted and prepared for publication the first collection of “Folklor fun der foterlendisher milkhome” (Folklore from the war of the fatherland [WWII]), special ghetto and concentration camp songs and battle songs.  In 1947 the Office of Yiddish Culture at the USSR’s Academy of Sciences sent him to the cities and towns in the Vinitse (Vinnytsa) region to collect new folkloric materials.  At that time he assembled seventy folktales and eighty-six folksongs.  He bore the title: “Candidate in Philological Science.”  He was repressed in 1949, released in the mid-1950s, but he did not return to work any further in his field of Yiddish linguistics.

Sources: Y. Mark, in Yivo-bleter (New York) 16.1 (1940), p. 31, and 16.2 (1940), pp. 154-57; “Yidisher folklor” (Yiddish folklore), Eynikeyt (Moscow) (October 2, 1945); “A groyser oyftu in antviklen di yidishe kultur un visnshaft” (A great feat in developing Jewish culture and scholarship), Eynikeyt (April 2, 1946); “Naye folkslider” (New folksongs), Eynikeyt (October 23, 1947); P. Novik, Eyrope tsvishn milkhome un sholem (Europe between war and peace) (New York, 1948), pp. 269-70.
Zaynvl Diament

[Additional information from: 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. 221.]

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