HERTS MAYZL (MAYZEL) (b. 1887)
He was a prose author, born to a poor family in a town in Byelorussia. In his youth he was captivated by the revolutionary movement and was active in the Bund. Fleeing persecution, he made his way to England, where he worked as a hat maker in London. Soon thereafter, though, he returned to Russia, settled in Minsk, and after the revolution he stood with the Bolsheviks, joining the Communist Party. He wrote for the Minsk-based, Russian-language newspaper Zvezda (Star) in 1917. When the Yiddish Communist publication Der shtern (The star) was founded in 1918 in Minsk, he switched to writing in Yiddish. He wrote, 1922-1923, stories, sketches, and feature pieces (also under the pen names: H. M-l and Eris) in the Communist spirit for: the Communist Veker (Alarm) in Minsk; Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York; Naye prese (New press) in Paris; and other Communist publications in various countries. In 1928 his first collection appeared in print in Minsk: Dertseylungen (Stories). He later turned to translating political as well as artistic literature. After the war it was reported that he had returned to his own creative writing in Yiddish. In 1947, on his sixtieth birthday, Eynikeyt (Unity) in Moscow remarked that he “remained associated until the present day with Yiddish literature and the press” and that “he is now working on a new book of stories.” Nothing further has been heard from him.
In book form: Dertseylungen (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1928), 110 pp.; and Dray shmulikes, mayses fun heldishn amol (Three Shmuliks, stories of a heroic past) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1932), 69 pp. Among his translations, he published: with Uri Finkel, Professor N. Nikol'skii’s Yidishe yomtoyvim, zeyer oyfkum un antiviklung (The Jewish holidays, their origin and development) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1925), 154 pp.; with D. Meyerovitsh, A. Gurevitsh’s Lenin un di profesyonele faraynen (Lenin and the trade unions [original: Lenin i Professionalʹnye Soiuzy]) (Minsk: Central Council of Byelorussian Trade Unions, 1925), 93 pp.; Fedor Panferov’s novel Bruski (Brusky) (Minsk: Central People’s Publishers, USSR, 1931), 399 pp.; Petr Pavlenko’s Barikadn (Barricades [original: Barrikady]) (Moscow, 1934); Vos darf visn a kolvirtnik vegn der kase far kegnzaytiker helf in di kolvertn (What a collective farmer should know concerning the treasury for mutual aid in the collective farm) (Moscow, 1935); Y. Moshkovski’s Moskve-tsofn-polyus-moskve (Moscow-North Pole-Moscow) (Moscow: Emes, 1938), 207 pp.; Emel'ian Yaroslavskii’s Vi azoy der marksizm hot tseshmetert dem folkizm (How Marxism crushed folkism) (Moscow: Emes, 1940), 70 pp.; among others.
Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); B. Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye, pruvn fun an oysforshung (Yiddish literature in Byelorussia after the revolution, attempt at an inquiry) (Minsk, 1931), pp. 184-89; Orshanski, in Shtern (Minsk) (February 1931); N. Rubinshteyn, Dos yidishe bukh in sovetnfarband 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935 (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union in 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935); M. Tayts, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (April 10, 1947); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher shrayber in sovetnfarband (Jewish creation and the Yiddish writer in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959); Literaturnaia entsiklopediya (Literary encyclopedia), vol. 6 (Moscow, 1932).
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 372; 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), p. 239.]