Sunday 9 July 2017


L. (LUNEANSKI) MATES (February 16, 1897-November 2, 1929)
            He was born in Bialystok, Russian Poland, the son of a teacher.  Until age fourteen, he studied in religious elementary school, while at the same time attending a Russian Jewish public school; he later was apprenticed to a typesetter in a print shop.  In 1913 he moved to the United States, worked in a cigar factory in Chicago, and studied in the evenings.  He later contracted tuberculosis, and spent some time in a sanatorium; from 1918 he was living in Denver, later in a sanatorium in Colorado as a librarian.  He debuted in print in 1918 in Di velt (The world) in Chicago, and he went on to place work in: Fraye arbeter-shtime (Free voice of labor), Der fraynd (The friend), Der kundes (The prankster), Baym fayer (At the fire), Nayvelt (New world), Shriften (Writings), Kultur (Culture), Oyfgang (Arise), Di feder (The pen), Nay-yidish (New Yiddish), Dos vort (The word), Di frayhayt (The freedom), Kinder-land (Children’s land), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), and Byalistoker shtime (Voice of Bialystok)—in New York; Ineynem (Altogether) in Chicago; Grininke beymelekh (Little green trees) in Vilna; and Far groys un kleyn (For big and small) in Buenos Aires.  His books include: Ofene toyern (Open gates), poetry (Denver: Dovid Edelshtat Branch of Workmen’s Circle, 1923), 207 pp.; Momentn (Moments) (Chicago: Bialystok Youth Association, 1936), 48 pp.; Der vayser prints fun der vayser plog (The white prince of the white plague) (Los Angeles: Palme, 1927), 63 pp.; A idishe tragedye, a tragedye in finf aktn fun idishn lebn in amerike (A Jewish tragedy, a tragedy in five acts drawn from Jewish life in America) (Los Angeles: Palme, 1928), 127 pp.; Vayse trit (White steps) (Los Angeles: Palme, 1929), 95 pp.  He died in Los Angeles, California.  “Throughout his general poems,” wrote Y. A. M. Bronshteyn, “hangs the melancholy of his bitter illness….  His children’s poems excel with a special joie de vivre and a playful youthfulness.”

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934), with a bibliography; Y. A. Rontsh, in Der kamf (Toronto) (April 25, 1927); Sh. Tenenboym, in Der idisher kuryer (Chicago) (July 10, 1938); Y. A. M. Bronshteyn, Impresyes fun a leyener (Impressions of a reader) (Chicago, 1941), p. 151; Byalistoker albom (Bialystok album) (New York, 1951), p. 314; Hemshekh (Los Angeles) 5 (1954); L. Mishkin, in Pinkas shikago (Records of Chicago) (1952), p. 89; The American Jewish Year Book 5691 (Philadelphia, 1930), pp. 153-59.
Yankev Kahan

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