Friday 15 March 2019


HENEKH KOYFMAN (1915-1942)

            He was a poet and prose writer, born in Chernikhov, Ukraine. He graduated from the local seven-year Jewish school, before proceeding to Kiev to continue his studies. In 1933 he became a student in the Kharkov Jewish journalists’ technical school. After graduating in 1936 he moved to Birobidzhan, where he wrote poetry, jottings, and reportage pieces for the local Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star). He wrote poetry for other publications as well. He served in the army 1937-1938. In 1940 he moved from Birobidzhan to Kiev and worked in the editorial office of the newspaper Der shtern (The star). That same year he brought out a collection that received positive reviews. Much of his poetry concerned Birobidzhan. He belonged to a group of young Soviet Yiddish poets who died at the front during WWII. He was part of a military division defending Kiev. He began publishing his poetry in the anthology for beginning writers, such as Kinder-shafung (Children’s creation) (Kharkov, 1935) and Onheyb (Beginning) (Kiev, 1940). He published poems in: Forpost (Outpost) and Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature), among other serials. In Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland) (May-June 1963), several of his poems appeared. A poetry cycle of his appeared in the anthology Lire (Lyre) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1985).

Sources: Eynikeyt (Moscow) (May 17, 1947); A. Pomerants, Di sovetishe haruge malkhes (The [Jewish writers] murdered by the Soviet government) (Buenos Aires, 1962), p. 266; Yankev Glatshteyn, Af greyte temes (On ready themes) (New York: CYCO, 1967), p. 204; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).

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), pp. 329-30.]

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