Wednesday 19 June 2019


RUVN REYZIN (1911-1942)

            He was a poet, born in London, England, where his parents had emigrated from Byelorussia, though shortly after his birth, they returned and settled in Minsk. He wrote his given name as “Ruve.” In his youth he was left an orphan on both sides. He traveled through the towns of Byelorussia with an old barrel organ, later growing up in the Slutsk children’s home and studying in a Jewish school. In his poetry he later reminisced painfully about those difficult childhood years. In 1929 he returned from his wanderings to Minsk. He worked as a painter and studied in an evening “Rabfak” (workers’ department or faculty). In 1938 he graduated from the Jewish section of the Minsk Pedagogical Institute which he had entered in 1933. After the publication of his first booklet of poems in 1934, he became a member of the writers’ association. Drafted in 1940 into the army, he composed an entire cycle of army-themed poems. In 1942 he was killed at the Nazi-Soviet front. From 1927 he was publishing poetry in: Yunger arbeter (Young worker), Oktyabr (October), and the journal Shtern (Star) in Minsk, among other serials. His work also appeared in: Atake (Attack) (Byelorussian State Publishers, 1934), Sovetishe vaysrusland (Soviet Byelorussia) (Byelorussian State Publishers, 1935), and Di bafrayte brider (The liberated brothers) (Byelorussian State Publishers, 1939)—all in Minsk.

His work includes: Durkh mi un pratse (Through toil and labor), poems (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1934), 77 pp.; A gezang vegn der groyser khartye, poeme (A song about the great charter, poem) (Minsk: State Publishers, 1936); Lider (Poems) (Minsk: Byelorussian State Publishers, 1940), 54 pp.; “Mit mayn vzvod” (With my platoon), poetry cycle in the anthology Lire (Lyre) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1985).

Sources: Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1962), see index; Heymland (Moscow) 5 (1948); Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).

Khayim Maltinski 

[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 553; and 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. 365-66.]

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