Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
YEKHIEL SHRAYBMAN (March 12, 1913-December 9, 2005)
He was an author of novels and stories, born in the town of Vad-Rashkev (Vadul-Rascov), Bessarabia [now, Moldova]. He attended religious elementary school and a Romanian public school, had private tutors, and later studied in the Hebrew teachers’ seminary in Czernowitz, where he was arrested for Communist activities. In his youth he sang with a synagogue cantor and choir on the High Holidays for two years in the neighboring town of Căpreşti. He worked for two years as a watchmaker, for two terms as a village teacher, and for about ten years he worked as a prompter for Yiddish theatrical troupes in Bucharest. In Czernowitz and Bucharest, he contributed to the underground revolutionary movement. In 1940 when Bessarabia became a part of the Soviet Union, he moved from Bucharest to Kishinev and became a member of the Soviet writers’ association. He was evacuated during WWII to Uzbekistan in the Soviet Union, where he worked on a collective farm, and afterward he settled in Kishinev and continued his creative writing. The Moscow publisher “Der emes” (The truth) brought out his prose work, Dray zumers (Three summers), in 1946. There was an interruption in his writings, 1948-1960, when the entirety of Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union suffered persecution.
He debuted in print in 1936 with a story entitled “Ershte trit” (First step) in Signal (Signal), a proletarian literary journal in New York, and two of his poems also appeared in this issue of Signal. He went on to write for: Shoybn (Panes of glass) in Bucharest, Naye folkstsaytung (New people’s newspaper) in Warsaw, and Shtern (Star) in Kiev, among other serials. He published numerous stories in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland), which was launched in 1961, in Moscow; its very first issue included a cycle of prose miniatures by him, and he then renewed his creative activity. He brought out two collections of stories and essays in Bucharest. His work also appeared in: Tsum zig (Toward victory) (Moscow: Emes, 1944); and Af naye vegn (Along new pathways) (New York: Yidisher kultur farband, 1944); Dertseylungen fun yidishe sovetishe shrayber (Stories by Soviet Yiddish writers) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1969); Azoy lebn mir, dokumentale noveln, fartsaykhenungen, reportazh (How we live: Documented novellas, jottings, reportage pieces) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1964); and Oyfshteyg (Ascent) (Bucharest: Literatur farlag, 1964). He published a journal entitled Mayne heftn (My notebooks) in Bucharest (1939).
His writings include: Dray zumers, dertseylungen (Three summers, stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1946), 146 pp.; Ganeydn epl (Apple from the Garden of Eden) (Kishinev, 1965), 278 pp.; Yorn un reges, roman, noveln un minyaturn (Years and moments, a novel, stories, and miniatures) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1973), 430 pp.; In yenem zumer (That summer) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1982), 63 pp.; Vayter…roman, dertseylungen, noveln, eseyen, minyaturn (Further…a novel, stories, novellas, essays, miniatures) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1984), 456 pp.; Shtendik...gresere un klenere dertseylungen, minyaturn (Always…longer and shorter stories, miniatures) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publishers, 1997), 271 pp.; Yetsire un libe (Creation and love) (Kishinev, 2000), 168 pp.; Zibn yor mit zibn khadoshim (Seven years and seven months) (Kishinev: Ruksanda, 2003); Kleyns un groys, kleyne noveln, miniaturn (Little and big, short stories, miniatures) (Kishinev: Ruksanda, 2007), 288 pp.
Shraybman was a master of various literary genres—from miniatures to stories to novellas to novels. He wrote as well in Russian and Moldovan. He was renowned for his innovative use of Bessarabian Yiddish language, and his style is considered among the very best to come out of Soviet Yiddish literature from the second half of the twentieth century. He died in Kishinev.
“Shraybman belonged to the type of writer,” noted Hersh Remenik, “who is everywhere creatively subjective in descriptions. He never paints like anyone other than himself…. Shraybman’s work is Shraybman’s autobiography…. Shraybman is…one of the most important masters of Soviet Yiddish prose.”
Monday, 11 November 2019
He was a linguist and lexicographer. He worked in the Jewish section of the Byelorussian Academy of Sciences and contributed to its publications. Together with Sonye Rokhkind, he published his most important work: Yidish-rusisher verterbukh (Yiddish-Russian dictionary) (Minsk: Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, 1940), 519 pp., which was the only publication of this sort in the Soviet Union. He placed longer articles such as “Yidishe dyalektologye” (Yiddish dialectology) in the literary-linguistic collection Tsum XV-tn yortog oktyaber revolyutsye, literarish-lingvistisher zamlbukh (Toward the 15th anniversary of the October Revolution, literary-linguistic anthology), ed. Vaysrusishe visnshaft-akademye, idsektor (Byelorussian Academy of Sciences, Jewish Section) (Minsk, 1932); also work in Afn shprakhfront (On the language front) (1933, 1935); and elsewhere. He took part in the discussions concerning language issues which were dealt with at the Ukrainian Yiddish Language Conference in Kiev (May 7-11, 1934).
[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. 391-92.]
SHAYE SHKAROVSKI (September 26, 1891-May 23, 1945)
He was the author of stories, novels, and criticism, born in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine, into the family of a teacher and community leader. Over the years 1921-1923, he was plenipotentiary for Yidgezkom (Jewish Social Committee [for the Relief of Victims of War, Pogroms, and Natural Disasters]) and ORT (Association for the Promotion of Skilled Trades) in Podolia. He was a member of the Jewish Section of the Ukrainian Proletarian Writers. He lived in Kiev, Odessa, and Moscow. His journalistic activities began in 1909 in Kiev’s Russian press, and he later wrote a great deal in Russian and Ukrainian, among other venues in Ogni (Fires) in 1910 a series of twenty-four articles entitled “Sketches from Yiddish Literature.” From 1915 he was contributing to such Yiddish periodicals and collections as: Unzer leben (Our life) in Odessa; Naye tsayt (New times) in Kiev (1917-1918); Di komunistishe shtim (The Communist voice) in Odessa (1921), a daily and later a weekly for which he served as editor, and in addition to articles on political topics, he also wrote a series of essays on Yiddish literatur, including Sholem-Aleichem, Perets, and Bergelson; Emes (Truth) in Moscow; Komfon (Communist banner) in Kiev; Shtern (Star) in Kharkov; Proletarishe fon (Proletarian banner) in Kiev; Prolit (Proletarian literature); Di royte velt (The red world); Farmest (Challenge); Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature); the almanac Komsomolye (Communist Youth League) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938); and Sholem-aleykhem, zamlung fun kritishe artiklen un materyaln (Sholem-Aleichem, anthology of critical articles and materials) (Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1940); among others. Aside from jottings, travel impressions, reportage pieces, and ideological journalistic articles, he published literary essays, stories, novels, and a number of poems—under a variety of pen names including Ishin, Hirsh, and Shiroki.
In book form: Der ershter may, zayn geshikhte un badaytung (May 1, its history and significance) (Odessa: Jewish Section, Odessa Regional Publishers, 1921), 16 pp.; Reges (Moments), his first booklet of stories (Kiev: Vidervuks, 1922), 40 pp.; Kayor, roman in fir teyln (Dawn, a novel in four parts), his first novel, in which he describes the condition and psychology of Jewish clerical plutocrats in the late nineteenth-early twentieth centuries (Moscow: Central Publishers, 1928), 237 pp.—a novel about the psychology of Jewish plutocrats in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries; Kolvirt, veg-skitsn (Collective farm, a traveler’s sketches) (Kharkov-Kiev: Central Publishers, 1931), 75 pp.; In shnit fun tsayt, fartseykhenungen (In the harvest of time, notations) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1932), 146 pp.; Meran, roman in tsvey teyln (Meran, a novel in two parts) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 277 pp.; Nakhes fun kinder, novele (Pleasure from children, a novella) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938), 16 pp.; Kritik, zamlung (Criticism, a collection) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938), 174 pp.—among other items, writings about Sholem-Aleichem, Perets Markish, and Dovid Hofshteyn; Odes, roman (Odessa, a novel) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1938-1940), 2 vols., with the third part of this novel appearing in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) 1 (1966), a historical novel; Dos ufgerikhte yidishe folk (The restored Jewish people) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1939), 67 pp. With Y. Khintshin and H. Verber, he compiled Di generale repetitsye, politish-literarishe zamlung vegn 1905 yor (The general repetition, a political-literary collection concerning the year 1905) (Moscow-Minsk: Central People’s Publishers, USSR, 1931), 257 pp.—mostly translations from Russian. He died in Kiev.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1962), see index; Sovetish heymland (Moscow) 1 (1966), 11 (1966), 9 (1971); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
[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), p. 391.]