Sunday, 22 October 2017


BUZI MILER (April 21, 1913-January 25, 1988)
            He was born in the village of Radovits (Radovychi), Podolia, and spent his youth in the town of Volkovinets (Volkovintsy), Ukraine.  In his youth he worked in a factory as a nickel lacquerer.  In 1929 he departed for Kharkov and worked as a polisher in various trades, before moving to Moscow where he studied at and later graduated in 1936 from the literature and linguistics faculty of the Moscow Pedagogical Institute.  He began publishing in 1931.  In 1937 he was sent by the Komyug ([Jewish] Communist youth association) to undertake teaching work in Birobidzhan, which for several years he served as one of the editors of Yiddish radio, of Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star), of the Russian-language Birobidzhanaia Zvezda (Birobidzhan star), and as co-editor of the periodicals Forpost (Outpost) and Birobidzhan (Birobidzhan), which appeared until 1948.  He spent the next half century or more connected to Birobidzhan.  He was a deputy from the regional council of the Jewish autonomous region and secretary of the Birobidzhan writers’ group.  He underwent repression in 1949 and was sent to a camp, from which he returned with the rehabilitation of 1956.  After the arrest of the Yiddish writers in Moscow, he was brought to trial, but he survived and went on to write further.  He published stories in: Komyug, Di royte velt (The red world), Eynikeyt (Unity), and the almanacs Sovetish (Soviet), Birobidzhan, Forpost, and Af naye vegn (On new roads), among others.  In book form he published: Mishmoyres baytn zikh, dertseylungen (Changing of the guards, stories) (Kharkov, 1931), 64 pp.; Kolvirtishe hiner, dertseylung (Chickens on the collective farm, story) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1933), 15 pp.; Untern regnboygn, noveles (Under the rainbow, novella) (Moscow, 1934), 86 pp.; Gold (Gold), stories (1935); Birobidzhan, dertseylungen (Birobidzhan, stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 132 pp., which he had adapted for the stage and in 1947 staged it at the Birobidzhan Yiddish State Theater.  They also staged at that theater his play 1941 and the translated drama Yakov sverdlov (Jacob Sverdlov), both in 1943.  Subsequent books include: Yedn dor zayns, roman, dertseylungen,noveln (To each generation its own, novel, stories, novellas) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1980), 356 pp.; Mentshn geyen tsu der arbet (People go to work) (Moscow, 1981), 59 pp.; Der kval der loyterer, lider (The pure source, poems) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1984), 124 pp.  He also wrote poetry, stories for children, and a study of the Ukrainian poet Pavlo Tychyna, whom he taught Yiddish.  A book of his stories was also published in Russian.  He contributed to Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) in Moscow (July-August 1961; September-October 1961), on whose editorial board he also sat.  His plays—such as Er iz fun birobidzhan (He is from Birobidzhan), Funem himl falt gornisht arop (Nothing falls from the sky), and Dray un draysik giboyrim (Thirty-three heroes)—were performed in a string of theaters.  The central theme of his work over several decades was the Jewish Autonomous Region, its people, and its problems.  He was given a number of honorary awards.  He died in Birobidzhan.  There is a street in Birobidzhan named for him

Sources: Sh. Kushnir, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (August 25, 1942); B. Slutski, in Eynikeyt (April 13, 1947); I. Fefer, in Eynikeyt (April 15, 1947); N. Fridman, in Eynikeyt (May 17, 1947); S. Rabinovitsh, in Birobidzhan byuletin (Montevideo) (May 7, 1948); Y. Emyot, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (January 1958); L. Tshernyak, in Sovetish heymland (Moscow) 1 (July-August 1961), pp. 119-20; M. Shklyar, in Folksshtime (Warsaw) (November 18, 1961).
Benyomen Elis

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), cols. 373-74; 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. 240-41.]

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