Friday, 7 December 2018


NOKHUM FRIDMAN (1906-1976)
            He was a Soviet journalist, poet, and translator, born in the town of Lemush (Lemeshi?), Byelorussia.  He went to Homel (Gomel) to study at the pedagogical technical school, and he was already then placing work in periodicals.  Then, until 1929 he studied in the Yiddish literature department, one of its first students, of the Number Two Moscow State University.  For a time he worked as a teacher in Jewish schools.  He was among the first Yiddish cultural leaders in Birobidzhan.  He debuted in print with sketches in: Yungvald (Young forest) in Moscow (1925).  Later, he contributed to: Pyoner (Pioneer) and Emes (Truth) in Moscow; Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star) for which he served as secretary of the editorial board, Forpost (Outpost), and Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland), the literary almanacs Birobidzhan 1936 and Birobidzhan 1948, and Di yidishe oytonome gegnt birobidzhan (The Jewish autonomous region, Birobidzhan) (1960)—and he also served as co-editor of the last three of these.  He spent the lion’s share of his career in Birobidzhan.  He and a handful of fellow Homel colleagues established a commune there.  He fought on the front during WWII and worked in the army press, before returning to Birobidzhan.  He was purged in 1949, rehabilitated in 1956, and again returned to Birobidzhan.  He died in Moscow.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; Dos yidishe bukh in sovetnfarband (The Yiddish book in the Soviet Union) (Moscow), see index; N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher shrayber in sovetn-farband (Jewish creation and the Jewish writer in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), see index.
Yankev Kahan

[Additional information from: 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), pp. 299-300.]

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