Monday 26 August 2019


SHMUEL SHTERKMAN (ca. 1886-November 4, 1934)
           He was born in Paleshti (Păulești), Bessarabia, the younger brother of Y. B. Tsipur.  He was a French Jewish writer under the name Sami Eyzhen.  He grew up in Paris.  He graduated from a French public school, later studying Latin and Greek as well as living languages, and later completed his bachelor’s degree with a full course of study in philosophy.  He wrote for the French weekly Publica, in which he published stories and philosophical-lyrical essays.  Over the years 1915-1922, he lived in Poland and later returned to Paris.  In book form: Der meshugener doktor eldod, a simbolishe mistishe ertsehlung (The crazy Dr. Eldad, a symbolist mystical story) (Warsaw, 1914), 88 pp. (under the pen name: Filius-Hominus)—a kind of philosophical-lyrical poem, a mixture of humor, lyricism, and searing satire.  Shterkman’s sad conclusions about Jewish life in Poland aroused sharp criticism in the Yiddish press.  Y. L. Perets said of the author: “You have written a superb book, but for the Jewish masses, in our condition—a dangerous book….  Human truth is dependent on time and space.  If it comes too late, it is useless; if it comes too soon, it is injurious.  For us now your book has arrived too early….  Twenty years from now, people will better understand you.”  In French he published [in English translation] The Defeated, a book which gave him a name in French literature.  In manuscript he left behind a lengthy dramatic poem in Yiddish entitled Der letster gilgl (The last metamorphosis).  He died in Paris.

Source: Y. B. Tsipur, in Belgishe bleter (Antwerp) (November 15, 1935).

Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 526.

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