Friday 15 March 2019


BER KUTSHER (BERL KUCZER) (December 26, 1893-January 6, 1978)
            He was an author of stories and novels, born in Semyatitsh (Siemiatycze), Grodno district, Byelorussia.  Kutsher was a shortened form of Kutsherer.  He was raised in Warsaw where he attended religious elementary school and yeshiva.  He spent WWII in Soviet Russia, and in 1946 returned to Poland, before emigrating in 1948 to Paris; from 1976 he was living in olon, Israel.  He debuted in print in 1910 with a poem in Unzer leben (Our life) in Warsaw.  He published short stories, humorous sketches, satirical poetry, and reportage pieces in: Shtral (Beam [of light]), Moment (Moment), Erev shabes (Sabbath eve), Varshever togblat (Warsaw daily newspaper); and in Kiem (Existence), Tsienistishe shtime (Zionist voice), and Unzer vort (Our voice) in Paris; among others.  From 1916 he was a regular contributor to Haynt (Today) in Warsaw, and later also to its afternoon edition Haytige nayes (Today’s news), in which he published lengthy novels, mostly under disguised names.  He also published sensationalist novels in discreet booklets that would come out for months and once for years, also under various pseudonyms.  He composed humorous sketches for the revue theater stages of “Sambatyon,” “Di yidishe bande” (The Jewish gang), and for Dzigan and Schumacher.  His musical comedy Di tsigaynerin (The gypsy woman) was stage in 1934 in Warsaw—he wrote the dramatization based on a novel of his with the same title which appeared serially in Hayntige nayes.  He edited the satirical newspapers: Di vize (The visa), Der griner (The raw immigrant), Der shoyfer (The ram’s horn), and the weekly Der payats (The clown).  In book form: Zishe braytbard (Zishe Breitbart) (Warsaw, 1925), 320 pp.—published serially in Haynt; Zishe braytbard, tsu zayn ershten yortsayt (Zishe Breitbart, on the first anniversary of his death) (Warsaw: Rekord, 1926), 12 pp.; Tsum seyder fun mis yudea (Miss Judea’s [Passover] seder) (Warsaw, 1929); Geven amol varshe (As Warsaw once was), memoirs (Paris, 1955), 332 pp.; Di karuzele, dertseylungen (The carousel, stories) (Paris, 1970), 276 pp.  “In most of his stories,” notes Yitskhok Yanasovitsh, “Kutsher gives us only the most condensed plot….  He does not allow himself any detailed descriptions…even [in] his language and his style.  The short, chopped off sentence, the laconic, goal-oriented phrase—everything for is as if he were writing scenarios that would then be elaborated upon….  Kutsher’s stenographic scenarios have the same impact on readers as the wide-ranging stories…on a broad canvas.”  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 2 (Montreal, 1947); A. Mukdoni, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (October 20, 1957); Yitskhik Yanasovitsh, in Di prese (Buenos Aires) (August 15, 1970); Yisroel Emyot, in Forverts (New York) (January 31, 1971); Khayim Finkelshteyn, in Haynt, a tsaytung bay yidn, 1908-1939 (Haynt [Today], a newspaper for Jews, 1908-1939) (Tel Aviv, 1978), pp. 219-20.
Berl Cohen

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