Wednesday 23 January 2019



            Literary critic, journalist, and poet, he was one of the first Soviet writers or journalists in Byelorussia, born in Bobruisk. In 1920-1921, he was editor of the newspaper Komunist (Communist), organ of the Jewish section of the Communist Party in Bobruisk. He later edited the Vitebsk-based Zarya Zapada (Dawn of the West)—later, Vitebskii Rabochii (Vitebsk worker)—and it was published each Saturday with one page in Yiddish, including poetry of his own, among other items. In subsequent years, he published articles, reviews, and overviews in the Minsk-based newspaper Oktyabr (October), the central Yiddish newspaper in Byelorussia and in the journal of literature and art, Shtern (Star), also in Minsk. In 1924 when the Moscow serial Der emes (The truth) opened a discussion about “simplifying” the language of the Yiddish press in the Soviet Union, he published an article regarding this issue. He also wrote about Byelorussian literature. In 1930 he published articles in Shtern on the Byelorussian journal Molodnyak (Youth), on the writings of the Byelorussian poet Yanka Kupala, and on the poetry dedicated to western Byelorussia. His introduction to a collection of stories by the Byelorussian prose writer Mikhas' Lyn'koŭ in Yiddish translation—Dertseylungen (Stories) (Minsk: Central People’s Publishers, USSR, 1931), 72 pp.—is very interesting. In Shtern 9 (1933), he published a review of Dovid Kurland and Sonye Rokhkind’s anthology, Di haynttsaytike proletarishe yidishe dikhtung in amerike (Contemporary proletarian Yiddish poetry in America) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1932). Following the arrest of the editors of Oktyabr (October) in 1937-1938—Elye Osherovitsh, A. Ber, and Khazkl Dunets—he was appointed its editor, and he also was made a member of the editorial board of Shtern. A short time later, though, Kabakov was arrested and disappeared without a trace.

Sources: Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), 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), pp. 129, 149

Berl Cohen

[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. 304.]

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