LEYB KURLAND (May 19, 1913-mid-February 1984)
An author of stories whose original surname was Zelkovitsh, he was born in Bernotovizne (Bernatowizna), near Częstochowa. He attended religious elementary school and later graduated from high school. In 1932 he emigrated to France and there received his medical degree. He was a doctor in the Sikorski Army and lived in London for several years. In 1945 he returned to Paris, and from 1969 he was living in Tiberias, Israel. He published his first story in Tshenstokhover tsaytung (Częstochowa newspaper) in 1929. He went on to contribute to: Moment (Moment) in Warsaw, Di tsayt (The times) in London, Unzer vort (Our word) in Paris, Forverts (Forward) and Tsukunft (Future) in New York, Letste nayes (Latest news) and Bay zikh (On one’s own) in Tel Aviv, and Yerusholaimer almanakh (Jerusalem almanac), among others. In Paris he edited: Folksgezunt (People’s health), Unzer kiem (Our existence), and Hoyz-doktor (House doctor). His books include: Mir zenen vi felzn, a boygn lider (We are like rocks, a sheet of poems) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1942), 16 pp.; Es hot zikh ongehoybn, dertseylungen (And so it started, stories) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1943), 100 pp.; Amol iz geven a dorf, novele (There once was a village, a novella) (London: Y. Naroditski, 1944), 39 pp.; Forkhtike teg, akhtsn dertseylungen (Fearful days, eighteen stories) (Landsberg: Landsberger yidishe tsaytung, 1946), 238 pp.; Afn veg tsu zikh, roman (On the road back, a novel) (Paris: Unzer kiem, 1967), 333 pp.; Geule, dertseylungen (Redemption, stories) (Paris: Unzer kiem, 1969), 213 pp.; Bay di bregn fun kineret, dertseylungen (On the shores of the Kinneret, stories) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1973), 191 pp., Hebrew edition, Al sefat hakineret, sipurim (Jerusalem, 1977), 253 pp.; Tseklungene shoen (Ringing hours), short stories (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1975), 199 pp.; Sharone, roman (Sharona, a novel) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1977), 179 pp.; Af der grenets, dertseylungen, minyaturn (At the border, stories [and] miniatures) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1979), 292 pp.; A shmole brik, roman (A narrow bridge, a novel) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1981), 237 pp.; A keml baym kineret, dertseylungen, minyaturn (A camel at the Kinneret, stories [and] miniatures) (Tel Aviv, 1982), 168 pp. One of his books was translated into French. Among his pen names: Y. Aperator, Dr. L. Shrayber, Dr. K. Leyb, Dr. L. Evyan, and Dr. L. Hershls. Kurland’s “prose lacks within it the burden of melodies,” noted Mendl Man, “of descriptions—the rocks of the times are portrayed heavily and in them wriggle the fate of the individual and society. Once…when it is quiet from the rumble of rocks, Kurland hears the warbling of a bird, and this bird is a symbol.” He died in Paris.
Sources: Shloyme Bikl, in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (March 20, 1965); Mendl Man, in Tsukunft (New York) 11 (1968); M. Dvorzhetski, in Di goldene keyt (Tel Aviv) 68 (1970); L. Domankevitsh, in Folksblat (Tel Aviv) (March 1973); A. Baraban, in Yidishe tsaytung (Tel Aviv) (March 1974); Sh. Kants, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (March 22, 1974); A. Lis, in Folksblat 8-9 (1974); R. Kope, in Yisroel shtime (Tel Aviv) (September 1, 1976); M. Run, in Forverts (New York) (February 23, 1978); Sh. Izban, in Idisher kemfer (New York) (December 1, 1978); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Dr. Noyekh Gris
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 482.]