Saturday, 9 February 2019

HERSHL KAMENETSKI


HERSHL KAMENETSKI (December 25, 1895-April 25, 1957)
            He was a poet, born in the town of Tshermyavke (?), Minsk region.  He came from a laboring family.  He studied in religious elementary school and for a brief spell in a yeshiva.  He worked as a wig maker in Borisov, Minsk district.[1]  He volunteered to fight with the Red Army during the Soviet civil war.  He returned from the front with tuberculosis which later tormented him his entire life and later entered Minsk State University.  He lived by himself, without family, not joining either the Communist Youth (Komyug) or the Party.  He worked for a certain period of time as an editor with the Byelorussian State Publishing House.  He was purged in 1949 and deported to a camp in Siberia.  After seven years he was rehabilitated and returned deathly ill to Borisov, where he died several years later.  He debuted in print in 1924 with poetry and placed work in Oktyabr (October), the journal Der shtern (The star) in Minsk, Der yunger arbeter (The young worker), Prolit (Proletarian literature), and Tsaytshrift (Periodical), among others.  Kamenetski’s poems were mostly about the revolution and the civil war.  In them he celebrated the role played by Jews in the revolution and at the front.  The poems were quiet, unassuming.  He was not one of the declarative poets, was frugal with his words.  His work appeared in such collections as: Kep (Heads) (1926), Atake (Attack) (1934), Sovetishe vaysrusland (Soviet Byelorussia) (1935), and Di bafrayte brider (The liberated brothers) (1939)—all in Minsk; Revolutsyonerer deklamator (Revolutionary declamation) and Af naye vegn (Along new paths) in New York.  With Zelik Akselrod, he edited Ordentregerishe vaysrusland, literarishe zamlbukh (Decoration-bearing Byelorussia, literary anthology) in Minsk (1939), 245 pp.  His works include: Mitn glaykhn veg, lider (With an equal pathway, poems) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ., 1933), 124 pp.; Lider (Poetry) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ., 1938), 29 pp.; A bashtelung af yugnt (An appointment for youth) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ., 1940), 98 pp.; Shtarker fun ayzn (Stronger than iron) (Moscow, 1948); Oysgeveylte lider (Selected poetry) (Minsk, 1960) which was also translated into Byelorussian.  His translations include: Bruno Jasieński, Der mentsh bayt di hoyt (The man changes skin [original: Człowiek zmienia skórę]) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ., 1936); Fyodor Ivanovich Panferov, Mitn festn trot (With a steadfast step [original: Tverdoi postupʹiu]) (Minsk: State Publ., 1936), 408 pp.; Maxim Gorky, Kindheyt (Childhood [original: Detstvo]) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ., 1939), 238 pp.  “Kamenetski has very few poems,” noted Yashe Bronshetyn, “in which the monotonic lyrical singing quality and the romantic lulling rhythmic quality predominate from the start.  The romantic emphasizes the prosaic conversational character of his verse….  Kamenetski is sooner a poetic storyteller than a ‘singer.’”  “You sense an odd disquiet,” wrote Ber Orshanski, “…with the poet H. Kamenetski.  He entered…modern poetry with his ‘Umet in freylekhe lider’ (Sadness in happy songs).  But, in the first instance, there is more joy than sadness in them….  He emerged as a virtually mature poet.  His subsequent path is a subsequent reinforcement of his poetry.”

Sources: Ber Orshanski, Di yidishe literatur in vaysrusland nokh der revolutsye, pruvn fun an oysforshung (Yiddish literature in Byelorussia after the revolution, attempt at an inquiry) (Minsk, 1931), pp. 91-92; Yashe Bronshteyn, Farfestikte pozitsyes (Published positions) (Moscow, 1934), pp. 186-204; Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (May 14, 1957), an obituary; Yisroel Emyot, Der birobidzhaner inyen, khronik fun a groyliker tsayt (The Birobidzhan affair, chronicle of a gruesome time) (Rochester: Sh. Bogograd, 1960), pp. 62-63; Aleksander Pomerants, Di sovetishe haruge malkhes (The [Jewish writers] murdered by the Soviet government) (Buenos Aires, 1962), pp. 423-34.
Berl Cohen

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 473; 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. 315-16.]



[1] Beider (p. 315) says he worked as a barber. (JAF)

3 comments:

  1. HERSHL KAMENETSKI translated from Russian M. Gorky's Oysderveylte dertseylungen in 2 vol. (Selected novels/stories [original : Избранные рассказы в 2-х т.]).- Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ.,1938
    אױסדערװײלטע דערצײלונגענ
    מ. גארקי; ײדיש - ה. קאמענעצקי
    מינסק : מעלוכע-פארלאג פונ װײסרוסלאנד
    Oysderveylte dertseylungen
    M. Gorki; yidish - H. Kamenetski
    Minsk : Melukhe-farlag fun Vaysrusland

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  2. HERSHL KAMENETSKI translated from Russian M. Gorky's Dos geburt fun a mentshn (The birth of a man [original : Рождение человека]).- Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ.,1938. - 19 pp.
    דאס געבורט פונ א מענטשנ
    מ. גארקי; ײדיש - ה. קאמענעצקי
    מינסק : מעלוכע-פארלאג פונ װײסרוסלאנד
    Dos geburt fun a mentshn
    M. Gorki; yidish - H. Kamenetski
    Minsk : Melukhe-farlag fun Vaysrusland

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  3. HERSHL KAMENETSKI translated from Belorussian together with Gershon Fridman Yanke Maur's FKT (Farband krigerishe tekhniker) (Union of militant technicians [original : Товарищество (или Союз) Воинствующих Техников (ТВТ/СВТ)].- Minsk: Byelorussian State Publ.,1935. - 134,[2] pp.
    פקט
    אדער א דערצײלונג װעגנ דעמ, װי יונגע העלדנ האבנ דערקלערט א בונט קעגנ געװיסע זאכנ אונ האבנ צעטומלט די מױכעס דעמ פעטער דאנילע, דער מומע מאריע, אפילע א מיליציאנער, אונ ענדלעכ, דער גאנצער װעלט; װי זײ האבנ זיכ אױסגעלערנט זענ דאס, װאס אנדערע זעענ ניט, אונ װי ציבוק פלעגט געװינענ אױגנ
    יא. מאור ; הילע אונ צײכענונגענ - קינסטלער מ. זשיטליצקי ; ײדיש - ה. קאמענעצקי אונ ג. פרידמאנ
    FKT oder a dertseylung vegn dem, vi yunge heldern hobn derklert a bunt kegn gevise zakhn un hobn tsetumlt di moykhes dem feter Danile, der mume Marie, afile a militsioner, un endlekh, der gantser velt; vi zey hobn zikh oysgelernt zen dos, vos andere zeen nit, un vi Tsibuk flegt gevinen oygn
    Ya. Maur ; hile un tsaykhenungen - kinstler M. Zhitnitski ; iberzetst fun vaysrusish - H. Kamenetski un G. Fridman
    Minsk : Melukhe-farlag fun Vaysrusland, Natssekter

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