MISHE MOGILEVITSH (1920-1986)
He was a poet, born in the town of Chernobyl, Ukraine. He graduated there from a seven-year school and went on to continue his studies and to work in Kiev. He debuted in print with poetry in the newspaper Der shtern (The star) just on the eve of WWII. He joined the Red Army at the start of the war and was a machine-gunner. He was severely wounded on June 28, 1941 and was taken prisoner. He remained in a Buchenwald sub-camp until March 1945. He escaped with a group of other POWs and returned to the front. He was seriously wounded again in April near the city of Rostov and remained in the hospital until the war’s end. Returning to Kiev, he worked as a craftsman in a ceramics factory, where he subsequently acquired the honorary title of “highly meritorious builder.” He wrote poems when he was earlier in school but published very few of them. He returned to actively writing in the 1960s and published numerous poems in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow, as well poetry cycles in Birobizhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star): lyrical-philosophical considerations on life events, nature’s scenery, and love themes. Some of his poems were published in Ukrainian translation, and he was a member of the Ukrainian writers’ association.
His first poetry collection was published in 1979 in Moscow: Ofnhartsikeyt, lider (Sincerity, poems) (Sovetski pisatel), 109 pp., and in Kiev he brought out three volumes of lyrical poetry in translation into Ukrainian. A major place in his poetry was occupied by children’s poems. He succeeded in demonstrating how rich and diverse was the world of his young heroes and how they respond to all manner of events—often puzzled, often smiling, now with approbation, now with scorn, and virtually always the poet allowed the children to express themselves in their own words.
Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 354; 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), pp. 223-24.