Thursday 6 June 2019


BERL ROYZN (1913-August 12, 1986)

            He was a literary researcher and translator, born in Otaci (Ataki), near Britshan (Briceni), Bessarabia [now, in Moldova]. He received a traditional Jewish education, attending religious elementary school. He graduated from the teachers’ seminary of the Jewish school association in 1937 in Czernowitz and from the philology department of Czernowitz State University in 1950. He worked as a teacher of Yiddish language and literature, and from 1948 of English language. He was at the front during WWII. He debuted in print in 1936 with an essay in the Warsaw journal Yidish far alemen (Yiddish from everyone). In later years, he published articles on methods of instruction in foreign languages, but mainly he worked on Jewish themes in the works of classical Russian writers: Mikhail Lermontov, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, Aleksandr Kuprin, Vladimir Korolenko, and others. He also worked on the friendship between great artists (Chekhov-Levitan, Tolstoy-Ginzburg, Antokolski-Stasov, Gorky-Bialik, and Gorky-Asch); and he wrote a series dedicated to works of American writers (Jack London, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, and Bel Kaufman). He wrote a number of treatments of Jewish writers and artists (Eliezer Steinbarg, Joseph Berg, Sidi Tal, and others) in: Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland), Folks-shtime (Voice of the people), Naye prese (New press), Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture), and Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star). For Sovetish heymland as well as for other Yiddish publications, he translated prose works from Russian, English, German, and Hebrew. He died under unclear circumstances during a trip to Kishinev. He authored: Literarish-historishe shtudyes (Literary-historical studies) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publishers, 1988), 398 pp.

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), p. 361.

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