Monday 7 May 2018


MINA SMOLAR (SMALLER) (b. April 15, 1898)
            She was born in the town of Kameni Brod, near Zvihil, Ukraine—the fourth of six girls, all born into poverty.  She attended religious elementary school and mastered the ability to read from the Yiddish version of the Pentateuch.  She learned to write Yiddish by repeatedly copying set phrases with an older sister, and later she received free instruction from a Bundist teacher and also mastered Russian.  She read Shomer (N. M. Shaykevitsh) and everything that a bookdealer would bring every Friday to her town.  At age nine she was already working in a porcelain factory twelve hours each day.  For a time she belonged to the youth Bund, excelling in covert activities and soon joining the adult Bund itself.  In 1912 she joined her sisters in the United States, working in sweatshops making women’s clothing, while active in the union, in workers’ clubs, and later in the International Labor Order, later still in IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association).  She was a cofounder of Yiddish reading circles.  She also studied at the Jewish “workers’ university” in New York.  She began writing in 1932, debuting in print with a story in the leftist daily newspaper Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) and later publishing in Zamlungen (Collections) in New York and Kalifornyer shriftn (California writings), among other serials.  In book form she published: In gerangl fun tog, dertseylungen (Struggling with the day, stories) (New York, 1950), 112 pp.; and Tsebrokhene tsoymen, dertseylungen (Broken fences, stories) (Los Angeles, 1962), 32 pp.  She was last living in Los Angeles.

Sources: Y. B. Beylin, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (1950); M. Elkin, in Yorbukh (New York) (1951); Sore Kindman-Mestel, in Zamlungen (New York) (1962).
Benyomen Elis

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