Wednesday, 5 July 2017


BORIS MOGILNER (1920-2000)
            A poet and prose writer, he was born in Sloveshne (Slovechne), Ukraine.  He graduated from a Jewish middle school in Korosten and continued his studies in the Kazan Pedagogical Institute.  From 1934 he was writing poetry and stories for: Zay greyt (Get ready), Yunge gvardye (Young guard), Farmest (Challenge), Birebidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star), and Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland).  He moved with parents to Kazan in 1936.  He fought at the front in WWII, and upon returning after the war he was met with denunciations “for anti-Soviet propaganda” and “slandering the Soviet regime”—which led to a sentence of ten years of penal labor, and he was sent to a camp in the Urals near the town of Nizhny Tagil.  His forced labor consisted of cutting down trees and moving timber.  He was freed and rehabilitated in 1956.  He returned to Kazan, picked up his interrupted education, and graduated from the pedagogical institute.  He went on for over twenty years to work as a teacher at the Murom and Balashove Pedagogical Institutes, where he taught mathematics.  After a forty-year interruption, in 1976 he published poetry in Sovetish heymland, for which he was also a member of the editorial board.  He was the last of the literary contributors of Sovetish heymland in 1991 when the journal ceased to appear, and Arn Vergelis then began to bring out its successor, Di yidishe gas (The Yiddish street); he joined Vergelis and worked on this journal until 1997 when it, too, was discontinued.  He was the last Yiddish poet in Moscow.  His work was represented as well in the anthology Kinder-shafung (Children’s creation).  His books include: Kroyvim (Kinsmen) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1980), 60 pp.; May in kazan (May in Kazan), stories and novellas (Moscow, 1981), 316 pp.; Breyte horizontn (Wide horizons) (Moscow, 1981), 62 pp.; Mayn zikorn, lider un poemes (My memory, poetry) (Moscow: Sovetski, pisatel, 1985), 134 pp.

Sources: Sovetish heymland, Materyaln far a leksikon fun der yidisher sovetisher literatur (Materials for a handbook of Soviet Jewish literature) (September 1975).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 354; 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. 222-23.

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