Monday 18 July 2022


 YOYSEF ITSKOV (1921-1977)

            He was a poet, born in the town of Surazh, Briansk region. At age thirteen, he made his way with his parents to Birobidzhan, where he graduated from the seven-year Jewish school. He published his first poems in the newspaper Birobidzhaner shtern (Birobidzhan star) in 1938. In early 1940, he was living in Dzhankoi, Crimea, and the war caught up with him. He evacuated to Kopeysk, near the Ural city of Chelyabinsk, and worked in a machine-building factory. After the war he returned to Birobidzhan, studied in the cultural-enlightenment school in the Far Eastern city of Blagoveshchensk, and came to work on the editorial board of Birobidzhaner shtern. In 1947 he settled in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, and worked in a factory. When the journal Sovetish heymland started publishing in Moscow in 1961, he returned to writing poetry. His work appeared in the newspaper Folks-shtime (Voice of the people) in Warsaw, Naye prese (New press) in Paris, Morgn-frayhayt (Morning freedom) in New York, and Yidishe kultur (Jewish culture) in New York.

            His works include a poetry cycle in the collection Horizontn (Horizons) (Moscow, 1965).

Source: 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. 19-20.

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