Friday 18 August 2017


NATAN MARK (March 31, 1897-March 1988)
            He was born in the village of Strakhotshin (Strachocin), near Sanok, Galicia.  He studied with itinerant school teachers, in the synagogue study chamber, and in the Sanok yeshiva.  Even before his bar-mitzvah, he wrote a “rhymed chronology,” which he would read before Jewish families of several villages at the time of baking matzo on the eve of Passover in his father village home.  In 1917 he served in the Austrian army on the Italian front.  After WWI he stole across the border into Romania with the goal of making it to the land of Israel, though he remained in Romania where he studied and worked for many years as a Hebrew teacher in the Carpathian city of Piatra Neamt.  He debuted in print in 1925 with a poem in Arbeter-tsaytung (Workers’ newspaper) in Czernowitz.  He contributed work thereafter to: Tshernovitser bleter (Czernowitz pages), Hatsfira (The siren), and Unzer tsayt (Our time) in Kishinev; Yivo-bleter (Pages from YIVO) and Zeramim (Currents) in Vilna; Shures belts (Lines of Belz) in Bessarabia; Oyfgang (Arise) in Sighet-Marmației; Inzl (Island) in Bucharest; Getseltn (Tents), Bodn (Ground), Rama (Standard), and Bitsaron (Fortress) in New York; Vokhenblat (Weekly newspaper) in Toronto; Lodzer post (Lodz mail); Dos kind (The child) in Warsaw; and Dos vort (The word) in Kovno.  Until WWII he brought out in book form: Di leymene foist, mesholim, mesholim-balades, lider, skitsn (The clay fist: proverbs, ballads, songs, sketches) (Sighet: Oyfgang, 1937), 96 pp.; Dos likht in di oysyes (The light in the letters) (Bucharest, 1938), 48 pp., a legend concerning Bialik and a translation of Bialik’s poem “Yosemkeyt” (Orphanhood [original: “Yetomut”]).  After the war: Heatsil hamahapkhan (The revolutionary nobleman), “translation and evaluation” (Haifa, 1960), 80 pp.; Derhoybnkeyt (Exaltedness), “refinement, poems of prayer, and psalms” (Haifa, 1962), 192 pp.; Vos shvaygstu Yevtushenko? (What are you keeping silent for, Yevtushenko?) (Haifa: Renesans, 1967), 15 pp.; Yidish-literatur in rumenye fun ir onheyb biz 1968 (Yiddish literature in Romania from its beginning until 1968) (Haifa: Halevanon, 1971), 182 pp., Hebrew translation (1973); Nakht-koyles (Evening racket), fables, ballads, and parables (Haifa, 1976), 151 pp.  After WWII he placed work in Dos naye likht (The new light) and Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw.  In 1949 he received an award from the Romanian Ministry of Culture for a drama in manuscript: Der evidentsirter (The evidence man).  In 1957 he left Romania for Paris, and from he made aliya to the state of Israel in 1958.  From that point he published pedagogical articles, folklore, and poetry in: Unzer tsayt, Zamlungen (Anthologies), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and the quarterly Or hamizra (Light of the East)—in New York; Yontef bleter (Holiday sheets) in Johannesburg; Yidishe tsaytung (Jewish newspaper), Eygns (One’s own), Haboker (This morning), Al hamishmar (On guard), Yisroel shtime (Voice of Israel), Davar leyeladim (Word for children), Hatsofe leyeladim (The spectator for children), Hapoel hatsair (The young worker), and Perakim (Chapters)—in Tel Aviv; and the yearbooks Hefa (Haifa).  He placed a longer work in Ḥakhmat yisrael bemaariv eropa (Jewish studies in Western Europe) (New York, 1963).  He also wrote in Romanian and German, and he translated from various languages.  Among his pseudonyms: Avi Avir-Tsiyon, Namar, Barukh Haba, Nakhmanke, N. Bar-Tilelon, and Note Strakhotshiner.  He died in Meravya, Israel.

Sources: B. Alkvit, in In zikh (New York) (February 1937); Mints, in Eygns (Ramat Gan) (June-July 1962); Viata noastra (Tel Aviv) (April 13, 1962); Dr. Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (July 29, 1962); Y. Y. Cohen, “Yidishe drukn in transilvanye” (Yiddish publishing in Transylvania), Yivo-bleter (New York) (1962), p. 275.
Benyomen Elis

[Additional information form: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 368-69.]

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