Friday 27 September 2019


DAVID SHIMONI (August 22, 1891-December 10, 1956)
            He was a Hebrew-language poet, born Dovid Shimonovitsh in Babruysk, Byelorussia.  From late 1920 he was living in the land of Israel.  He was one of the most important Hebrew poets in “Shevet bnei Bialik” (Tribe of Bialik).  He authored a series of poetry and prose works.  He composed poetry in Yiddish very infrequently—and only over the period 1905-1912/1913—according to Zalmen Reyzen, “several dozen”; according to B. Shoetman, around twelve; and according to Dov Sadan, around six.  In his youth he belonged to the Zionist socialist party and composed its first Yiddish-language proclamation.  He also published several translations into Yiddish, and others translated some twenty-four of his poems into Yiddish.  He published poems in: Vilna’s Unzer veg (Our way), Der nayer veg (The new way), Dos vort (The word), Folksshtime (Voice of the people), Yontef-bleter (Holiday sheets) (1913), Di shtime (The voice), Avrom Reyzen’s Sukes blat, literarishe zamlung (Sukkot sheet, literary collection), Dos yohr (The year), Zamlung (Collection) (Warsaw-New York, 1911), Koheles (Ecclesiastes) (1912), and Haynt (Today), among others.  His work also appeared with many others’ poems in translation in: Morris Basin, 500 yor yidishe poezye (500 years of Yiddish poetry) (New York, 1922); Moyshe Basok, Dos bukh fun der nay-erets-yisroeldiker poezye, antologye (Volume of poetry from the new Land of Israel, anthology) (Warsaw, 1936); Shmuel Niger, Kidesh hashem, a zamlung geklibene, oft gekritste barikhtn, briv, khronikes, tsavoes, oyfshriftn, legendes, lider, dertseylungen, dramatishe stsenes, eseyen, vos moln oys mesires-nefesh in undzere un oykh in frierdike tsaytn (Sanctification of the name, an anthology selected, often abridged report, letters, chronicles, wills, inscriptions, legends, poems, stories, dramatic scenes, essays, which depict martyrdom in our present and earlier times) (New York: Tsiko, 1947); Der yidisher gedank in der nayer tsayt, dokumentn, eseyen un oystsugn (Jewish thought in modern times: documents, essays, and extracts) (New York, 1957).  He separately published Di matseyve (The gravestone), trans. Shmuel Zaromb (Warsaw, 1937), 47 pp.  He died in Tel Aviv.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Meylekh Ravitsh, Mayn leksikon (My lexicon), vol. 3 (Montreal, 1958); Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); D. Tidhar, in Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1947); Joseph Klausner, David ahimoni (shimonoviṭs) hameshorer vehoge hadeot (David Shimoni [Shimonovits], the poet and the thinker) (Jerusalem, 1947/1948), bibliography prepared by Barukh Shoetman; Dov Sadan, Avne miftan, masot al sofre yidish (Milestones, essays on Yiddish writers), vol. 3 (Tel Aviv, 1972), p. 339; Zalman Shazar, Opshatsungen un eseyen (Assessments and essays) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1976), pp. 70-80.

Berl Cohen

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