ELYE SAVIKOVSKI (1893-1959/1960)
A poet and playwright, he was born on an estate near the town of Polyanka, Byelorussia. Until age fourteen, he studied Jewish subject matter, thereafter secular subjects in private. He was living in Minsk, where in the 1920s he was editorial secretary of Farn folk (For the people) and manager of the information division of Shtern (Star) and Veker (Alarm). In 1914 he debuted in print with poetry in the weekly Erev shabes (Sabbath eve) in Warsaw and Dos vort (The word) in St. Petersburg; and he went on to publish later in the anthology Kep (Heads), Der yunger pyoner (The young pioneer), Shtern, Veker, and Farn folk—in Minsk. Using the pen names Elisov and Savel, he published feature pieces and notices. In the latter half of the 1930s, his name disappeared, and it was assumed that he had been purged. After WWII he re-emerged in the latter half of the 1950s in Minsk, when cultural activists were rehabilitated and released from prisons and camps. Having returned from deportation, the poet lived in Minsk until his death. He went on to publish the poem “Oktober” (October) in the Warsaw-based Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) on November 10, 1956.
His writings would include: Farmestenish, lider (Minsk: n.p., 1923), 64 pp.; Af di vegn (On the roads) (Minsk, 1924); Far yunge zinger, lider (For young singers, songs) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1928), 33 pp.; Erdling, pyese in 3 aktn un 6 bilder (Earthling, a play in three acts and six scenes) (Mink: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1929), 89 pp.; Papirene toybn, kinder pyese in 2 stsenes (Paper doves, a children’s play in three scenes) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1934), 34 pp.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2; B. Orshanski, in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 5 (1931); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
[Additional information from: 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. 254.]
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