Friday 12 July 2019


FUME (FAYVL) SHAMES (1901-1971)

            He was literary scholar, born in Zhytomyr and lived there in the 1920s, while also active in Kiev Yiddish literary circles. In 1924 he graduated from the social and economics faculty of the Volhynian Institute for People’s Education in his hometown. He was a teacher in various schools in Zhytomyr over the years: 1921-1923, a teacher in the technical school, 1924-1928 in a pedagogical technical school, and 1928-1941 in the Pedagogical Institute. He was also (1932-1940) a guest lecturer in the Kiev Pedagogical Institute. In 1940 he defended his dissertation and received the title of candidate in philological sciences. At the start of WWII, he was evacuated to Uzbekistan and lectured (1941-1944) in the department of the theory and history of Russian literature in the Andijan teachers’ institute. He lived in Moscow (1944-1946) and was a senior scholarly contributor and administrator in a sector of the state’s literary museum. In 1946 he moved to Ivanovo, where until 1965 he worked in the Ivanovo Pedagogical Institute.

            He began publishing in the latter half of the 1920s, in such venues as: Royte velt (Red world) 9 (1926), 8-9 (1927); Shtern (Star) 7-10 (1926); Di yidishe shprakh (The Yiddish language) 7 (1927); and Prolit (Proletarian literature); among other serials. Together with Dovid Hofshteyn, he wrote and carried out joint literary projects. They co-authored a series of textbooks on literature: Literatur-kentenish, poetik (Knowledge of literature, poetics) (Moscow: Central People’s Publishers, USSR, 1928), two parts; Teorye fun literatur, poetik (Theory of literature, poetics) (Kharkov: Ukrainian State Publishers, 1930), 222 pp. Other books by him include: Hantbukh far yidisher literatur (Handbook for Yiddish literature), with Oyzer Holdes (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), 320 pp.; Shprakh un literatur (Language and literature), with Yitskhok Rodak, Khayim Loytsker, M. Gelbman, and Oyzer Holdes (Kharkov: Central Publishers, 1931), unpaginated; Literatur khrestomatye farn 7tn lernyor fun der politekhnisher shul (Literature reader for the seventh school year in the polytechnical school), with Holdes (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1933), 343 pp., second printing (1934); Literatur, lernbukh farn 7tn klas (Literature, textbook for the seventh class), with Holdes (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 122 pp., second printing (1936); Lernbukh af literatur farn 7tn klas (Textbook for literature for the seventh class) (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1935), 322 pp.; Literatur lernbukh farn VII klas (Literature textbook for the seventh class), with Avrom Abtshuk and Holdes (Kharkov-Kiev: Ukrainian State Publishers for National Minorities, 1934), 232 pp.

Source: Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1962), see index.

Dovid-Noyekh Miller 

[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. 372-73.]

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