Monday 27 May 2019


BEN-TSIEN RASKIN (1880-September 1, 1930)
            He was born in Nyezhne (Nizhyn), Mogilev Province.  He attended yeshivas and a high school in Kiev.  From 1905 he was a teacher in Warsaw, one of the founders there of the first Labor Zionist groups.  After leaving Warsaw, he lived for a short while in Odessa and withdrew from the party.  From 1922 he was living the land of Israel.  Raskin’s literary feat was to translate into Yiddish the well-known epic of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dos gezang fun hayavata (The Song of Hiawatha) (Kiev: Kiever farlag, 1918), 100 pp.  He also translated Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, Kalyeṿipeyg, fun estonishn epos (Kalevipoeg, the Estonian epic) (Kiev: Kultur-lige, 1922), 36 pp.  He also published several children’s stories (all with the pen name Uncle Ben-Tsien): Der ber (The bear) (Kiev-St. Petersburg: Idishe folks-farlag, 1918), 10 pp.; Di hun vos hot gezolt hobn a kas (The hen that should have had a comb) (Kiev-St. Petersburg: Idishe folks-farlag, 1918), 13 pp., second printing (Warsaw, 1922).  In addition, he published several children’s stories in Hebrew.  His pen name: Feter Ben-Tsien (Uncle Ben-Tsien).  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), index; Sefer haishim (Biographical dictionary) (Tel Aviv, 1936/1937), p. 616; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen

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