Wednesday 10 October 2018


ELYE (ALEXANDER) FIDELMAN (1825/1827-March 10, 1892)
            He was born in Minsk.  His father Ruvn was a musician.  He learned from his father to play the violin, as well as the cello and guitar.  Under the influence of his father, he became a wedding entertainer and acquired a name in Minsk and in the surrounding region.  He was also for a time a writer in the Minsk Jewish hospital and in the Jewish community hall.  Thanks to the well-known Paulina Vengrov (she mentions him in her famous memoirs), two collections of his poems were published: Shire osef oder di kleyn-shtetldike khasene (Song collection or the small-town wedding) (Vilna: Rozenharts, 1872/1873); and Lider tsum tsayt fartraybung (Poems from a time of exile) (Vilna: Rom, 1877).  Aside from a string of unpublished poems, a dramatic work by him entitled “Shimshn hagiber” (Samson the mighty) (1883) has been preserved.  In his depictions of Minsk and the environs, it was need and poverty that dominated.  His language is rough but energized with folk expressiveness, coarse humor, and satire.  He was in particular a master of describing people.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 3; N. O. (N. Oyslender), in Tsaytshrift (Minsk) 1 (1926), pp. 262-64; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 1 (New York, 1931), pp. 142-43.
Leyb Vaserman

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