Monday, 7 August 2017


DOVID MATS (b. 1902)
            He was born in Minsk, Byelorussia, into a working-class family.  He graduated from a pedagogical technical school.  From 1922 he was active in the Jewish section of Komsomol (Communist Youth League) in Byelorussia.  He worked for a time as a teacher in a higher Jewish educational institution in Minsk.  He later lived in Moscow, Kharkov, and Kiev.  His writing work began with the children’s monthly magazine Freyd (Joy) in Kharkov (1922-1923), for which he also served as co-editor; later, Der yunger pyoner (The young pioneer) in Minsk (1926-1928); Der pyoner-veker (The pioneer alarm), also its editor; Der emes (The truth), Yungvald (Young forest), Pyoner (Pioneer), Af di vegn tsu der nayer shul (En route to the new school) (1927), and Ratnbildung (Soviet education) (1928-1937)—in Moscow; Oktyabr (October), Shtern (Star), and others in Minsk; Afn shprakhfront (On the language front) in Kiev); and Di royte velt (The red world) in Kharkov; among others.  He was among the top leadership of the Ukrainian People’s Commissariat for Education, before being sent to work in Byelorussia.  He was the editor of the community literary reader Der yunger arbeter (The young laborer) for the second and third classes of evening schools (Minsk, 1927), 178 pp.  He was involved in strengthening teaching, preparing educational materials, and planning for the future of cultural education.  None of this came to fruition, as he was soon accused of “Yiddishist inclinations” and removed from all his posts.  He was arrested in Minsk in the latter half of the 1930s.  From 1937 there has been no further information about him.

Sources: Der yunger pyoner (Minsk) 17 (1927); Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Khayim Leyb Fuks

[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. 226.]

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