Thursday 22 February 2018


H. SAFYAN (b. 1898)
            He was born in Chernobyl, Kiev district, Ukraine.  He attended religious elementary school.  In 1913 he moved to Kiev, worked in a beer brewery, and prepared to enter secondary school.  In 1915 he moved to Ekaterinoslav and worked there with a locksmith.  After the February Revolution of 1917, he studied at the Kiev people’s university.  He was manager of the division of extra-curricular education and library use.  He attended the pedagogical course of study in Kiev, and after graduating he became the administrator of a Jewish trade school and an evening school in Kiev.  In 1924 he graduated from the medical teaching faculty of the Institute of People’s Education and was hired as an assistant in the psychopathology department in the All-Ukrainian Institute of Hygiene.  From 1927 he was secretary of the pedagogical office of the Jewish section in Kiev, where he was in charge of translating textbooks for Jewish schools.  In 1930 he moved to scholarly work at the Kiev Institute for Jewish Proletarian Culture and turned his attention of psychological methods and experimental pedagogy.  Together with Zingerman, Faynerman, Kruglyak, and Ravinski, he compiled Lenins ruf, lernbukh far veynik-ivredike (Lenin’s call, textbook for the few Yiddish speakers) (Kiev: All-Ukrainian Committee to Eliminate Illiteracy, 1926), 227 pp.—Safyan wrote for this textbook: “Anatomye un fizyalogye fun mentsh” (Anatomy and physiology or man).  Two of his writings—“Tsu der frage vegn ratsyonalizirn di limudim-reshime in eltern kontsentr” (On the issue of rationalizing the list of subjects in the higher stage of second education) and “Vegn tsveyt-yorikeyt in shul” (On the second year in school)—were published in the Y. Reznik’s collection Di lernarbet in shul, zamlung (The work of teaching in school, anthology) (Kharkov-Kiev: Pedagogy Section, Ukrainian Academy of Science, 1933), 212 pp.  Together with Reznik and Ester Shnayderman, he collaborated on the work Heymfargebungen (Homework), issues from experience in school (Minsk: Institute for Jewish Proletarian Culture, 1935), 109 pp.  Safyan published a project of a text to measure the literacy level of readers in Ratnbildung (Soviet education) and a project to gauge intellectual accomplishments in Spivavtor (Co-author) in Ukrainian in 1943.  In 1935 he was signed to publish by the Ukrainian Labor Institute a booklet on “job profiles for locksmiths, turners, blacksmiths, and coppersmiths.”  Safyan disappeared in the 1930s during the liquidation of Yiddish writers and cultural leaders in the Soviet Union.

Sources: Autobiographical notes: M. Flakser, A. Pomerants, and Leyzer Ran, “Biblyografye fun der yidisher literatur in ratnfarband, 1918-1948” (Bibliography of Yiddish literature in the Soviet Union, 1918-1948), a manuscript held at YIVO in New York; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Leyzen Ran

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