Wednesday 29 May 2019


NAKHMEN RAPP (May 10, 1914-1987)
            The author of poetry and stories, he was born in Grayeve (Grajewo), Lomzhe district.  He studied in religious elementary school, yeshiva, and later the Warsaw Tachkemoni seminary.  During the war he lived in Soviet Russia, later in Vrotslav (Wrocław), Lower Silesia, and he was active in the kibbutz movement and illegal aliya.  From 1950 he was in Herzliya and later Jerusalem.  He debuted in print in 1936 in Unzer lebn (Our life) in Bialystok.  From that point he was writing modernist lyrical poetry and stories in a variety of periodical Yiddish publications in Poland and elsewhere.  After the war, he contributed to: Nidersleshlezye (Lower Silesia) in Wrocław; Dos naye lebn (The new life) and Yidishe shriftn (Yiddish writings) in Lodz; and Di yisroel-bleter (The Israeli sheets), Folksblat (People’s newspaper), Di goldene keyt (The golden chain), Bay zikh (On one’s own), and Yerusholaimer almanakh (Jerusalem almanac) in Israel; among other serials.  He had a weekly column in Letste nayes (Latest news) in Tel Aviv.  His work also appeared in: Mortkhe Yofe, Erets-yisroel in der yidisher literatur (Israel in Yiddish literature), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1961); Almanakh fun di yidishe shrayber in yisroel (Almanac of Yiddish writers in Israel) (Tel Aviv, 1967); Arie Shamri, Vortslen (Roots) (Tel Aviv, 1966); Mordekhai alamish, Mikan umikarov, antologya shel sipure yidish beerets yisrael (From near and from far away, anthology of stories in Yiddish in Israel) (Meravya, 1966); Yoysef Papyernikov, Yerusholaim in yidishn lid, antologye (Jerusalem in Yiddish poetry, anthology) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1973); Hubert Witt, Der Fiedler vom Getto: Jiddische Dichtung aus Polen (The fiddler of the ghetto, Yiddish poetry from Poland) (Leipzig, 1966, 1978).  He also published translations from Hebrew poetry.
            His work includes: Funken in ash, lider (Sparks in ashes, poetry) (Wrocław: Nidershlezye, 1947), 47 pp.; In shayn fun brenendikn dorn, lider un poemes (In the light of a burning thorn, poetry) (Tel Aviv: Pirsumim, 1958), 258 pp.; A krug mit vayn (A jug of wine), poetry (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1962), 100 pp.; Vandershtok in bli, lider un baladn (A voyageur’s stick in one’s prime, poems and ballads) (Jerusalem: Eybik, 1970), 98 pp.; Der onheyb, tanakhishe dertseylungen (The beginning, Biblical stories) (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1972), 156 pp., published earlier in the Yiddish press, in Hebrew translation by Sh. Mandel as Baasher hu adam (How to be a man) (Jerusalem, 1979), 126 pp.; In veg tsum altn man, noveln un skitsn (The ways of an old man, novellas and sketches) (Jerusalem: Eygns, 1976), 148 pp.; Baym fayer-toyer (At the gate of fire), poetry (Jerusalem: Eybik, 1978), 93 pp.; Kholem mayn kholem, lider (Dream my dream, poetry) (Jerusalem: Eybik, 1979), 186 pp.; Oranzhn in shney, dertseylungen (Oranges in snow, stories) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1984), 164 pp.  “In his two earlier books,” wrote Dov Sadan, “he emerges overflowing with passion….  [Later,] this ceases, and his language is restrained, agreeable, and because it speaks as if to itself alone, his voice remains deliberate and prudent; and what’s more, his voice is such that it acquires a deeper oracular quality.”  “Nakhmen Rapp,: noted Yitskhok Yanasovitsh, “like a genuine poet, brings to his poetry what is true and characteristic for the sensitivities and experiences of his generation…which confronted darkness with light and destruction with emergence.”  He died in Israel.

Sources: Yonas Turkov, in Folksblat (Tel Aviv) 2 (1963); Dovid Sfard, in Folksblat 72 (1971); Yitskhok Yanasovitsh, in Letste nayes (Tel Aviv) (July 9, 1971); Dov Sadan, Heymishe ksovim, shrayber, bikher, problemen (Familiar writings, writers, books, issues), vol. 1 (Tel Aviv: Hamenorah, 1972), pp. 155-56; Yankev-Tsvi Shargel, Fun onheyb on (From the beginning) (Tel Aviv, 1977), pp. 181-87; Avrom Lis, In der mekhitse fun shafer (In the compartment of creating) (Tel Aviv, 1978), pp. 232-35; Shmuel Kants, Koyekh fun os, eseyen (The power of a letter, essays) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1979), pp. 61-74.
Ruvn Goldberg

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 503.]

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