Wednesday 12 July 2017


KHAYIM MELAMUD (KHAIM MELAMUD) (September 15, 1907-1993)

            He was a prose author, born in the town of Khashtshevate (Khoshchevatoye), Ukraine. From his early childhood, he worked in the fields and in a sugar factory. In 1927 he settled with his family in the ethnic Jewish district under the Soviets in Nay-Zlatopol, Zaporiz'ka district, where he work the land on a collected farm and chaired a village soviet. He began publishing in 1930. Over the years 1931-1941, he served as provisional editor and later editor of Kolvirt-shtern (Collective farm star), organ of the Nay-Zlatopol district party committee, district executive committee, and district collective farm association, which was published every other day in Nay-Zlatopol. He published stories, sketches, and correspondence pieces in various, other Yiddish newspapers as well. Before WWII he published several volumes of stories and essays, the main themes of which were Jewish village life, its people, and the destinies of agricultural workers in the years of collectivization. From August 1941, he served in the Red Army and took part in the fighting against the Germans. He was demobilized at the rank of captain and settled with his family in Czernowitz. From the 1940s he contributed stories and chapters of novels to the almanac Heymland (Homeland) and the newspaper Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow; for a time he was the latter’s correspondent in Birobidzhan. In 1948 he placed chapters of a novel in Birobidzhan. When the newspaper ceased publication, he returned to Czernowitz. From 1961 he was a member of the editorial board of Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow, and he also published stories and novels therein over the course of three decades, such as in the early issues: 2 (1961) and 3 (1962). These included: “Yunge yorn” (Young years), “Kalts un varems” (Cold and warm), “Tsvishn dnyester un prut” (Between the Dniester and the Prut), “Di teg mit di nekht” (Days and nights), “Azoy geyt di velt” (So goes the world), and “Arum di fir verbes” (Around the four willows), among others. Their main motifs were the Jewish shtetl in the era of complex socio-economic cataclysms and the Jewish village whence came settlers, former residents of the shtetl, to build new lives.

He was the author of: Antireligyeze arbet in shul (Anti-religious work in school), practice and teaching methods (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1930), 34 pp.; Bliyendike akatsyes (Blooming acacias), a novel (Kiev, 1938), 188 pp.; Arn kisler, fartseykhenungen vegn dem brigadir-ordentreger (Arn Kisler, notes on the decorated brigadier) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1939), 25 pp.; Banayte erd (Renewed soil) (Kiev, 1939), 42 pp. + 2 pp.; Der veg tsum lebn (The road to life) (Kiev, 1939), 26 pp. + 2 pp.; Erd (Earth), “a novel of the wanderings of Jewish laborers on the land allocations in Kherson region” (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 344 pp.; Varem ash (Warm ashes), a novel and stories (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1978), 509 pp.; Tshernovitser paradoksn (Czernowitz paradoxes) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1982), 59 pp.; Umfargeslekhs (Unforgettable) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1986), 373 pp. Together with the Ukrainian writer Mykola Burbak, he worked (1960-1961) on a book entitled Af yener zayt prut (On the other side of the Prut [River]), which depicted the struggle of both Jewish and Gentile Communists in Sadigura in earlier times. Many of his writings also appeared in Russian translations.

Sources: N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher arbeter in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish worker in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), pp. 132, 278; R. Kahir, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (October 18, 1959); Y. Burg, in Morgn-frayhayt (August 25, 1961); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index; A. Holdes, “Vu shlogt der doyfek” (Where does the pulse beat), Sovetish heymland (Moscow) 2 (1962).

Zaynvl Diamant

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 361; and 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. 242.]