Wednesday, 19 June 2019


HERTS RIVKIN (April 1908-1951)
            He was a poet and prose writer, born Hertsl Haysiner in Kapresht (Căpreşti), Bessarabia.  He was a student at the Kishinev technical school for construction, later a construction engineer on highways.  He early on joined the revolutionary underground movement and wrote satirical poetry.  From 1934 he was living in Bucharest.  He spent WWII in the Soviet Union, and afterward he was back in Kishinev.  Despite his fidelity to the Soviet cause, he was among the first casualties of the Stalinist terror in the bitterest of times for Soviet Yiddish literature.  In 1948 he was convicted of Trotskyism and exiled to a camp in Ekibastuz in northern Kazakhstan, where he died.  Naftole-Herts Kohen recounted that Rivkin held himself courageously and dignified during his camp interrogations.  He was one of the founders of the literary group “Yung-rumenye” (Young Romania).  In the 1930s he published poetry in Romanian Yiddish serials: Onzog (Portent) in Kishinev (1931), published and edited with Yankl Yakir and Hersh-Leyb Kazhber; the Zionist daily newspaper Unzer veg (Our way) in Kishinev (1933); Di vokh (The week) in Bucharest (1934); and Shoybn (Window panes) in Bucharest (1934-1938).  He also wrote for Warsaw’s Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves).  After the war he began writing stories for Heymland (Homeland), Sovetishe literatur (Soviet literature) in Kiev, and other periodicals.  As a result of a competition, in 1946 he was awarded the Eynikeyt (Unity) prize for his story “Der tate mitn zun” (Father and son) in Moscow.  His poetry appeared in Naye yidishe dikhtung (New Yiddish poetry) (Iași, 1947) and a story in Af naye vegn (Along new paths) (New York, 1949) and In oyfshteyg (In ascent) (Bucharest, 1964).  In book form: Fun shkheynishn dorf, lid un elegye (From the neighboring village, poem and elegy) (Bucharest: Shoybn, 1938), 57 pp., new edition (Bucharest: Kriteryon, 1977), 133 pp.; Dertseylungen (Stories) (Moscow: Emes, 1948), 102 pp.

Sources: Shloyme Bikl, Rumenye (Romania) (Buenos Aires, 1961), pp. 298-301; Motl Saktsyer, in Besaraber yidn (Tel Aviv) (August 1977); Yankl Yakir, in Dorem-afrike (Johannesburg) (March-June 1978); Bay zikh (Tel Aviv) 15 (1979), pp. 123-28.
Ruvn Goldberg

[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. 364-65].

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