Tuesday 8 May 2018


SIMKHE-YITSKHOK (SIMJA) SNEH (October 15, 1914-April 4, 1999)
            With an earlier family name of Royznblat, he was born in Pulav (Pulawy), Lublin district, Poland, the son of a watchmaker.  He studied in religious elementary school, a Polish primary school, and the Czartoryski senior high school in Pulawy.  He studied Hebrew, Tanakh, and Talmud with his father, Yitskhok Vayntroyb, later a contributor to Moment (Moment) and Ekspres (Express) in Warsaw.  Because of great poverty at home, he was unable to continue his studies, and he departed for Warsaw where he worked as a bookkeeper, later as a business agent, while in the evenings continued his education.  He served in the Polish army, and then settled in Warsaw.  With the outbreak of WWII, he departed on foot for Pulawy, lived for several weeks under German rule, and then under Soviet rule registered for work in the Donbass, where for a time he worked as a coalminer.  He was mobilized in 1941 into the Red Army, fought at the front near Lemberg, and was wounded.  After recuperating he took part in the fighting at Dnepropetrovsk, retreated with the army as far as Rostov-on-Don, and there was removed from the army because he was not a Soviet citizen.  Sneh made his way to Tashkent and worked on a collective farm.  He later joined Anders’ Polish army, and with it traveled via Persia and Transjordan to Palestine.  He worked for a short time on Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, and then with the Jewish Brigade went to Italy and after the war to Belgium and Holland.  After falling ill, he moved to a hospital in London.  Released from the army, he made his way to Argentina.  Politically he belonged in Poland to the Communist Party.  In Warsaw he was one of the founders of the semi-legal “Teatr Eksperymentalny” (Experimental theater).  He was for a time a member of the executive of the TUR (Towarzystwo Uniwersytetu Robotniczego [Society of the WorkersUniversity] of the PPS (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna [Polish Socialist Party]).  In Argentina he was linked to IKUF (Jewish Cultural Association).  In 1949 he broke with IKUF.  In 1951 he joined the left Labor Zionists and became a member of its central committee and director of the youth department of the party.  He was also a member of the management committee of Tsisho (Central Jewish School Organization) and was active in the local division of YIVO.  He began writing poetry and articles in Polish.  He translated from Hebrew into Polish a fragment of Byron’s poem “The Prisoner of Chillon.”  He published articles under the pen name “Stanislaw Taube” in Robotnik (Worker) and Dziennik ludowy (People’s daily).  He published a number of poems and mild parodic couplets in the humor journal Szpilki (Pins).  He debuted in print in Yiddish in 1946 in the London journal Loshn un lebn (Language and life), with the two poems: “Di persishe balade” (The Persian ballad) and “A briv keyn golel” (A letter to the Galilee).  He went on to write for Fraye yidishe tribune (Free Jewish tribune) and the daily newspaper Di tsayt (The times) in London.  In Argentina he contributed work to Di prese (The press) in Buenos Aires.  He was a regular contributor and secretary of the editorial board of the Labor Zionist organ Unzer vort (Our word).  He also published in a variety of Yiddish newspapers and magazines in Brazil and the state of Israel.  Several of his stories appeared in Spanish translation in Spanish-language, Jewish publications.  Before he left IKUF in 1949, he was a member of the editorial board of the Argentinian Ikuf-zhurnal (IKUF journal).  He was also co-editor of the monthly Alts (Everything).  He also wrote using his name Yitskhok Royznblat, as well as such pen names as: Y. Ben-Menakhem, S. Taube, Itsikl Griner, Kh. Sh. Royznshteyn, B. Vays, and P. Deborin.  In book form, he published: Af fremde vegn, dertseylung (On alien paths, a story) (London: Fraye yidishe tribune, 1946), 79 pp.; Bleter afn vint, lider un poemen (Leaves in the wind, poetry), with a foreword by Z. Vaynper (Buenos Aires: IKUF, 1948), 171 pp.; Na venad (Wandering), memoirs of WWII, foreword by Khayim Finkelshteyn (Buenos Aires: Unzer vort, 1952), 460 pp. (awarded a prize from the Zvi Kessel Fund in Mexico for 1953); Dos geshrey in der nakht, teater-shpil in tsvey aktn, akht bilder (The scream in the night, a theatrical play in two acts, eight scenes), concerning the experiences of Jewish refugees in the Soviet Union (Buenos Aires: Unzer vort, 1957), 112 pp.  He translated into Yiddish: Seyfer hapalmakh (Volume for the Israeli army) by Zerubavel Gilead (Buenos Aires: Unzer vort, 1959), 614 pp., in large format.  He died in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Sources: M. Z., in Naye prese (Paris) (December 27, 1947); Z. Vaynper, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (June 1948); Sh. Tenenboym, in Di shtime (Mexico City) (January 1, 1949); A. Yerushalmi, in Di naye tsayt (Buenos Aires) 239 (1953); Dr. N. Sverdlin, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (November 21, 1957); Y. Varshavski, in Forverts (New York) (February 23, 1958); Y. Botoshanski, in Zamlbukh fun shtriker-fabrikant (Collection from the knitting factory) (Buenos Aires, 1961), p. 298.
Leyb Vaserman

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