Wednesday 5 June 2019


            He was a folklorist and humorist, born in Drimer (?), Kiev district, the descendant of a Hassidic family.  From 1903 he was a member of the Bund and was exiled to Siberia.  He lived in Kiev, later in Otwock.  He was a collector of Jewish folklore, primarily sayings, erotic and rustic, jokes, folktales, and the like.  He wrote for the Bundist Folks-tsaytung (People’s newspaper) in Kiev and edited its humor supplement Der tsingl (The trigger) using the pen name Sh. R-n.  He published the humor newspapers: Der fledervish (The feather duster) in Kiev, for humor and satire (1918); and A kush in dr’erd arayn (To hell with a kiss) in Kiev (1921).  He also contributed to Yoysef Tunkl’s magazines of humor: Akdomes (Hymn recited by Ashenazim on the first day of Shavuot) and Ashmeday (Asmodeus, king of the demons), using such pen names as Royte Yakne’z, Shmuelik, and A Vunderkind.  From time to time, he wrote literary articles in: Komfon (Communist banner), Royte shtern (Red star), Veker (Alarm), Horepashnik (Toiler), Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves), Milgroym (Pomegranate) in Berlin, and Tsukunft (Future) in New York, among others.  A fragment of his folkloric work appeared in: Berdichev’s Folksshtime (Voice of the people); his collection Royter gelekhter (Red laughter)—“Editor: None of your business” (Warsaw, 1925), 74 pp.; and Landoy-bukh (Landau book) (YIVO, 1926), a longer treatment of Yiddish sayings.  In book form: Tsvishn fayer un shverd, bletlakh zikhroynes vegn birger-krig in uḳraine, 1918-1925 (Between fire and sword, pages of memoirs of the civil war in Ukraine, 1918-1925) (Warsaw: Emes, 1923), 66 pp.; Shriftn fun a yidishn folklorist (Writings of a Jewish folklorist) (Vilna: Yoyvl-komitet, 1937), 120 pp., later edition (1938).

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Yeshurin archive, YIVO (New York).
Berl Cohen

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