MOYSHE MIZHIRITSKI (1892-1951)
He was a literary critic, born in the town of Khabne (Khabnoye, Polis'ke), Kiev district, Ukraine. He attended religious elementary school and a yeshiva, later graduating from the Literature and Linguistics Department of Moscow State University. He was for a time a teacher in Jewish schools. In the 1930s he was a researcher at the Kiev Institute for Jewish Culture (working with Maks Erik), and later a scholarly contributor to the Institute, where he defended a dissertation on the works of Dovid Bergelson and received the title of “candidate in philological sciences.” He debuted in print in 1924 and went on to contribute literary critical articles on Yiddish writers in such journals and newspapers as: Prolitpen (Proletarian pen) and Farmest (Challenge) in Kharkov; Proletarishe fon (Proletarian banner), and Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature), among other serials. He also worked on the compilation of school textbooks for Jewish schools: with Avrom Abtshuk and Yitskhok Rodak, Literatur (Literature), textbook for the fifth school year (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932), 80 pp.; with A. Abtshuk, Literatur, textbook for the seventh school year (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932), 124 pp.; with Shloyme Brianski, Lernbukh un khrestomatye fun literatur, Vtn klas (Textbook and reader for literature, fifth class) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1933), 287 pp., second edition (1934), 286 pp., third edition (1935), 206 pp., fourth edition (1936), 206 pp. Over the years 1941-1944, he was evacuated to deep inside Russia, and after the war he returned to Kiev, where he worked in the department of Jewish culture in the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. He contributed to the compiling of the history of the Jewish tragedy in Ukraine during the Nazi occupation. He also worked with materials on “Babi Yar” and documents concerning the role of Jewish partisans in the fight against the Germans. He was arrested in 1948 and murdered in 1951.
Other works of his would include: Dovid bergelson (Dovid Bergelson) (Kiev-Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 163 pp.; Literarish-kritishe etyudn (Literary critical studies) (Kiev: State Publ., 1940), 159 pp.; and “Gorki un sholem-aleykhem” (Gorky and Sholem Aleichem) to the anthology Sholem-aleykhem (Sholem Aleichem) (Kiev, 1940). Aside from separate critical writings on individual Yiddish prose writers and poets in Soviet Russia, he was also working on a volume entitled: Der onhoyb fun der sovetish-yidisher proze (The beginning of Soviet Yiddish prose).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 371; 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. 236-37.]