Wednesday 9 August 2017


KHAYIM-MOYSHE-YOYEL MARGOLES-DAVIDZON (January 14, 1891-March 2, 1960)
            He was born in Warsaw, the son of a soap maker.  He studied in religious elementary schools, state public schools, and with private tutors.  He later tried out various trades, finally becoming a sign painter.  In 1912 he left to serve in the army.  During WWI he was on the Turkish front.  After the 1917 Revolution in Russia, he was living in Tiflis.  In 1921 he made his way to his parents in the United States.  In 1922 he became a member of the Communist Party and of “Proletpen” (Proletarian pen).  With the founding of Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York, he published his stories and memoirs.  He also contributed work to such leftist publications as: Hamer (Hammer), Signal (Signal), Funken (Sparks), Yunyon-skver (Union Square), and Der for-arbeter (The furrier), among others.  When he became seriously ill, he had both feet amputated, and bedridden, he continued his writing.  Among his books: Geshlosene reyen, dertseylungen (Concluding sequences, stories) (New York, 1935), 224 pp., with a foreword by Y. B. Beylin; In aza tsayt lebn mir, dertseylungen (We live in such times, stories) (New York, 1938), 296 pp.; Baytshland, dertseylungen fun yidishn lebn in natsi-land (Land of the whip, stories of Jewish life in the country of the Nazis) (New York, 1939), 48 pp.; Ikh bin aroys a lebediker (I came out alive), three volumes of memoirs from WWI, vol. 1 (New York, 1941), 318 pp., vol. 2 (New York, 1942), pp. 327-598, vol. 3 (New York, 1943/1944), pp. 607-900.  “He succeeded,” wrote Shmuel Niger, “in dramatizing the revolutionary mood of a group of soldiers.  We see there…something that is so dramatic that…one is drawn into the scenario which transpires before us.”  He also wrote: Ot azoy zegt a stolyer, dertseylungen fun dem lebn fun yidn in der varshever geto (That’s how the carpenter saws, stories of the lives of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto) (New York, 1945), 32 pp.; Mit der dratve a tsi, dertseylungen fun dem lebn fun yidn in der varshever geto (With the cobbler’s thread pulled tight, stories of the lives of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto) (New York, 1945), 32 pp.; Royte karshelekh rayst men, dertseylungen fun dem lebn fun yidn in der varshever geto (Picking red cherries, stories of the lives of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto) (New York, 1946), 32 pp.  He also published a volume entitled Forhang, zamlung fun eynakters, humoristishe monologn, deklamatsyes un fablen (The curtain, a collection of one-act plays, humorous monologues, recitations, and fables) (New York, 1947), 206 pp.; Tsugast bay der velt, epizodn fun mayn oytobyografye (Sojourner in the world, episodes from my autobiography) (New York, 1949), 326 pp.; Shimshn hagiber, roman (Samson the strongman, a novel) (New York, 1953), 286 pp. (not the biblical Samson).  From English he translated Michael Sayers’s and Albert Kahn’s Di groyse farshverung, di geheyme milkhome kegn sovetn-farband (The great conspiracy, the secret war against the Soviet Union [original: The Great Conspiracy against Russia]) (New York, 1946), 463 pp.  He died in a hospital in the Bronx.  “Margoles-Davidzon was a fine storyteller,” notes Dr. A. Mukdoni.  “He has an eye for detail….  He knows how to deal with people whom he handles, how to make them alive and real.”

Sources: B. Fenster, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (January 26, 1931); Avrom Reyzen, in Di feder (New York, 1939, 1942, 1945); L. Khanukov, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (December 1949); Shmuel Niger, in Tog (New York) (August 22, 1942); Dvore Tarant, in Zamlungen (New York) 1 (1954); Sh. Almazov, in Morgn-frayhayt (March 9, 1960); biographical information from the jacket covers of his books and in his autobiographical and memoiristic works; obituary notices in the Yiddish press; Biblyografye fun yidishe bikher vegn khurbn un gvure (Bibliography of Yiddish books concerning the Holocaust and heroism) (New York, 1962), see index.
Zaynvl Diamant

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