ZALMEN SKUDITSKI (1906-1996)
A Soviet Yiddish folklorist, literary scholar, and translator, he was born in Zhytomyr, Ukraine. He graduated from a Jewish work school in 1922 and from the Kiev Jewish pedagogical technicum in 1926. He then became a teacher of Yiddish language and literature in Kiev schools. In 1929 he joined the ethnographic section of the Kiev Institute for Jewish Culture in the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences as a research student. From 1931 he was a scholarly contributor to the institute, and he joined expeditions to towns in Ukraine to collect and publish a series of folklore collections. He debuted in print in Tsaytshrift (Periodical) (Minsk) 5 (1931), with a piece entitled “Vegn folks-iberarbetunger fun gotlobers lider” (On popular revisions of Gotlober’s poetry). In the anthology Problemes fun folkloristik (Issues in folkloristics) (Kharkov-Kiev) of 1932, he placed “Vegn folklorishn arbeter-lid” (On folkloric workers’ poems). He also contributed to the quarterly journal, Visnshaft un revolutsye (Science and revolution) (Kiev) 2.6 (April-June 1935), with an essay: “Vegn ukrainishe virkungen in der yidishn folklor-lid” (On Ukrainian influences on the Jewish folkloric poem). He translated S. Grigor'ev’s Tonkes tank (Tonke’s tank [original Ton'kin tank]) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 27 pp., and V. Vladimirskii’s A kop in shtaygl, dertseylungen fun lebn in mayrev-ukraine (Head in a cage, stories of life in Western Ukraine) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1930), 47 pp. In the anthology Folklor-lider, naye materyaln zamlung (Folkloric poetry, new material collection), edited by Meyer Viner, Skuditski prepared the poems for publication and wrote an introduction and annotations (Moscow: Emes, 1933), 142 pp. In book form, he also published: A khaver in shlakht (A comrade in battle), stories (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 54 pp. In the second volume of Folklor-lider, he penned the preface (80 pp.) (Moscow: Emes, 1936), 392 pp. Together with Avrom Velednitski, he compiled Literarishe khrestomatye, farn VI klas fun der mitlshul (Literary reader, for the sixth school year in middle school) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1933), 230 pp., second improved edition (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 280 pp., third edition (1935), 124 pp., fourth edition (1936), 130 pp. In 1937 he was purged together with a number of other contributors at the institute and exiled to a camp in the north. He was rehabilitated in the 1950s and lived in Sverdlovsk.
Sources: Sh. Z. Fife, in Yivo-bleter (Vilna) (14.3-4 (March-April 1939); Kalmen Marmor, Dovid edelshtat (Dovid Edelshtat) (New York, 1942); Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 412; 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. 270.]