undzer kleyner leksikon
Literary Anniversaries in 2001
Please note that new poems, by Moyshe Teyf and Motl Talalaykin, from sovetish heymland, have been added to the page derekh erets un dermonung (link below).
June 1: Birth of the literary critic and cultural activist Moyshe Litvakov, in Ukraine (1879). Litvakov began to be active in journalism and politics before 1917 and served for many years as editor of the Moscow paper der emes. Among his books are finf yor melukhisher yidisher kamer-teater; af tsvey frontn; in umru. Litvakov was arrested in 1938 and died in prison on January 23, 1939.
June 2: yortsayt of the folksinger Binyomen-Volf Erenkrants (who died in Constantinople, 1883). Erenkrants was known as Velvl Zbarzher (born in Zharazh, Galicia, in 1826). In 1845 Erenkrants emigrated to Rumania, where he began to write songs, compose music for them, and perform in front of an audience. Many of his songs (der filosof, der rebe af dem yam) are still performed.
June 2: yortsayt of the publicist and editor Avrom Mints (1929, in New York). Mints, who was known as Kaspe, was born in July 1861 in Tshernikov. He came to America in 1894 and was active in the socialist movement. In 1902 Mints became editor of di tsukunft. Among his books are mekhanike, astronomye, khemye; geologye; di geshikhtlekhe antviklung fun klasn-gezelshaft.
June 3: Birth of the artist Artur Shik, who was a master of the graphic miniature (in Lodz, Poland, 1894). Shik's unquestioned masterpiece is the cycle titled kalisher statut, housed in the Jewish Museum in New York. Among his other works are shirashirim; megiles ester; hagode shel peysekh. The artist passed away on September 13, 1951, in New York.
June 4: Birth of the publicist and social activist Pavel Anman-Rozental (in Vilne, 1872). A socialist, Anman-Rozental did time in the tsarist prisons in Moscow and Grodne and was exiled to Siberia. He worked on the first legal newspapers of the Bund and served as a doctor at the front during the First World War. Among his published work one finds di vegn fun der revolutsye; politishe protsesn; dertseylungen vi es zenen forgekumen revolutsyes in mayrev-eyrope. The writer died in Vilne in 1924.
June 5: Birth of the artist Y. Pen, in Lithuania (1854). Pen was trained in peterburg, at the Academy of Arts and lived and worked in Vitebsk, where, in 1892, he founded the first artistic studio in Byelorussia. Among his students were Sh. Yudovin and Marc Chagall. Among his works are der alter rav; baym taytsh-khumesh; der get; der alter shnayder, a briv fun amerike. Pen was murdered on March 1, 1937 in Vitebsk.
June 11: yortsayt of the writer, actor and artist Yosl Kotler, who was died in an auto accident in Memphis, Tennessee (1935). Kotler was born in 1898 in Volhynia and came to America in 1911. He wrote poems, stories and plays. In 1934 Kotler published a verse collection, muntergang.
June 12: Birth of the poet Motl Grubyan, in Ukraine (1909). In 1930 his first published verse appeared in the Kharkov paper zay greyt. His first verse collection, fun keler af der zun, was published in Minsk in 1935. In June 1941, Grubyan volunteered for military service in the Great Fatherland War of the Soviet peoples against the German fascist aggressors. He served at the front and was severely wounded. Beginning in 1943, he served as a editor for the Jewish Antifascist Committee (JAC). Grubyan was later arrested, with other Soviet patriots who had supported JAC. Among his books are gezang vegn mut; dos eybike fayer; umruiker vint. Grubyan died in Moscow in 1972.
June 13: Birth of the writer Shimen Horontshik (in Vyelun, near Kalish, Poland, in 1889). Among his works are in geroysh fun mashinen; 1905; masn; dos hoyz afn barg; tsvey veltn; dort, vu der zhirand falt arayn in yam; shtarke ment|shn; baym shvel. On September 13, 1939, fleeing from the German fascist invaders in Warsaw, Horontshik died by his own hand.
June 15: Birth of the poet and essayist B.-Y. Byalostotsky, in Lithuania (1893). He began to publish in 1909 and came to America in 1911. Among his books are fun di shtamen; baym breytn veg. Byalostotsky died in New York on December 22, 1962.
June 15: Birth of the publicist Shmuel-Leyb Shnayderman (in Kuzmir, Poland, in 1906). His first poem appeared in 1923; the writer subsequently published reportage, essays, poetry and short fiction. In 1933 he emigrated to France, and later to South Africa. In 1940 Shnayderman came to America. He worked on the forverts from 1971. His books include artur shik -- dos shturmishe lebn un shafn fun dem groysn yidishn minyatur-mayster; ven di vaysl hot geredt yidish. Shnayderman died in 1996.
June 16: Birth of Y. Lyubomirsky, who specialized in research concerning the theatre, in Ukraine (1884). After being wounded at the front in the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet peoples against the German fascist aggressors, Lyubomirsky worked as a member of the historical commission of the Jewish Antifascist Committee in Moscow. Among his books are der revolutsyonerer teater; melukhisher yidisher teater in ukraine; vi azoy tsu greytn a spektakl; oyf di lebns-vegn. Lyubomirsky died in Moscow in 1977.
June 17: Birth of the poet Ber Lapin, in Byelorussia (1889). He immigrated to America in 1909; his first verse-collection, umetike vegn, was published in vilne in 1910. Among his other books are tseykhns; der fuler krug. Lapin also translated poetry into Yiddish, working for eight years on Shakespeare's sonnets. He died November 23, 1952, in New York.
June 19: Birth of the language expert Avrom-Arn Robak, in Poland (1890). In Robak's childhood, his family emigrated to Canada. In 1959 he became Professor of Psychology at Boston University. In addition to dozens of works about psychology, Robak was the author of several books in Yiddish, geshikhte fun der yidisher literatur; der folks-gayst in der yidisher shprakh; di imperye yidish, among them. Professor Robak passed away in Cambridge, Massachusetts on June 5, 1965.
June 21: Birth of the cultural activist and philologist Ber Borokhov, in Ukraine (1881). Coming to Yiddish at the age of 28, Borokhov became one of the most significant researchers of the language. Among his books are di oyfgabn fun der yidisher filologye; di yidishe arbeter-bavegung in tsifern; di klasn-interesn un di natsyonale frage. Borokhov died on December 4, 1917, in Kiev.
June 21: yortsayt of the prose author Eli Kahan, who died on the frontline of the Great Fatherland War of the Soviet peoples against the German fascist aggressors (1944). Kahan was born in Minsk on February 10, 1909. He began to publish fiction in 1928, and his first story colletion appeared in 1932. Among his works are a shtot on kloysters; a lebedik gezindl; dertseylungen un minyaturn. Kahan is considered to have brought exceptional gifts to his writing.
June 24: Birth of the poet Dovid Hofshteyn (in Korostishev, Ukraine, in 1889). Hofshteyn's first poetry collection, bay vegn appeared in Kiev in 1919. Hofshteyn was one of the founders of Soviet Yiddish literature and also played a leading role in its development. A gifted stylist and linguist, the poet also occupied himself with translations into Yiddish of literary masterpieces in seven different languages. Hofshteyn was arrested by the Stalinists on September 16, 1948 and, with a dozen other Soviet Jewish patriots, the organizers of the Jewish Antifascist Committee, he was executed on August 12, 1952, the day the Stalinists attempted to murder Soviet Jewish culture.
June 24: yortsayt of the poet Borekh Olitsky, murdered by the German fascist invaders in Libovitsh, Byelorussia, in 1941. Born in Trisk in 1907, Olitsky worked as a teacher and published his first poems in 1925 in the Warsaw journal literarishe bleter. His collected poetry appeared in the work mayn blut iz oysgemisht, published in New York in 1951.
June 28: Birth of the actor B. Zusman, in Lithuania (1899). Zusman was among the most talented shoyshpiler to appear on the stage of goset, the Moscow State Jewish Theatre, whose company he joined in 1921. Zusman became artistic director of goset after the death of Sh. Mikhoels in January, 1948. Together with other Soviet patriots, B. Zusman was executed by the Stalinists on August 12, 1952, for his role in helping defend the U.S.S.R. through work in the Jewish Antifascist Committee.
In June, 1908 the poet, journalist, and prose author Buzy (Berl) Olyevsky was born in Volhynia. His career in literature began with verses in the Minsk magazine shtern in 1928; his first verse collection appeared in 1930. Having lived in both Moscow and Birobidzhan, Buzy Olyevsky entered the Red Army in the wake of the fascist attack on the U.S.S.R. The poet died in battle at the front in the summer of 1941. Among his books are in vuks; alts hekher un hekher; a nakht afn amur; birobidzhaner lider; onheyb lebn.
May 1: Birth of the playwright Yankev Gordin, in Ukraine in 1853. Gordin came to America in 1891. He wrote, translated, or adapted over seventy plays. He died on June 10, 1909, in New York.
May 4: Birth of the poetess Kh. Levin in Ukraine (1900). She worked as a teacher and served in the Red Army. Her literary output included short stories and poetry for adults and children. She died in December 1960 in Ukraine.
May 4: Birth of the popular Yiddish poet Mordkhe Gebirtik (Bertig) in Poland (1877). Gebirtik wrote both poems and the music that turned them into well-known songs throughout his life. He perished on June 4, 1943, in fascist-occupied Poland.
May 5: Birth of the writer Moyshe Nadir (Y. Rayz) in Galicia, in 1885. His first published work, appearing in 1902, consisted of poems. His first book, vilde royzn, appeared in 1915. He published many works of prose, poetry and drama. Moyshe Nadir died on June 8, 1943, in New York State.
May 5: Birth of the writer Salvador Borzhes (B. Borodin) in Volhynia (1900). From his youth an active participant in the revolutionary movement, Borzhes was forced to emigrate to Brazil. His work in literature began in 1928 and he settled in Birobidzhan, Jewish Autonomous Region of the USSR, in 1930, where he lived until his death in 1974. Among his books are es flatert di royte fon, rio-de-zhaneyro, in okupirte volin.
May 5: Birth of the lexicographer and philologist Aleksander Harkavi in Byelorussia, in 1863. Harkavi came to America in 1882. Among his achievements are the english-yidisher verterbukh and yidish-englisher verterbukh. Harkavi's dictionaries are still printed and used. He died in New York on November 2, 1939.
May 6: Birth of the writer and translator Y. A. Merison (Yankev-Avrom Yerukhimovitsh) in Lithuania (1866). A physician by profession, he became known for his translations into Yiddish of important scientific and political works. He translated John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, Charles Darwin, and Karl Marx for the Yiddish reader. Merison died on January 18, 1941 in New York.
May 9: Birth of the revolutionary poet Dovid Edelshtat in Russia (1866). He emigrated to America in 1882 and became one of a number of early Yiddish proletarian poets. It is with proletarian writers like Dovid Edelshtat that Yiddish poetry begins on these shores. Edelshtat's popularity extended well beyond North America, as his poems were turned into songs to be sung at workers' demonstrations. Edelshtat worked on the venerable anarchist paper fraye arbeter shtime. Sadly, he died of tuberculosis at the age of 26, in 1892, in Denver.
May 15: The poet H. Royzenblat was born in Podolye (1878). In 1892 he immigrated to America with his parents and began publishing poetry in the forverts in 1900, with his first verse collection appearing in 1910. Among his books of poetry are in shenstn tog fun harbst, in shotn fun mayn boym, unter gots himl. H. Royzenblat died in Los Angeles on June 6, 1956.
May 15: The writer Rivke Rubin was born in Minsk, Byelorussia (1906). Working as a teacher in Minsk and Moscow, she began to write literary criticism and after the Second World War she developed as a prose artist and joined the editorial board of the Moscow literary journal heymland (suppressed by the Stalinists in 1948). Having survived a decade of Stalinist terror against Yiddish culture in the U.S.S.R., in the 1960's Rivke Rubin joined the editorial board of sovetish heymland, the largest Yiddish literary monthly of its time. Among the dozens of literary studies she published were y. l. perets; shrayber un verk; aza min tog. Rivke Rubin died in Moscow in 1987.
May 16: The poet Shike Driz was born in Ukraine (1908). He began to publish late in the 1920's and spent many years serving in the Red Army. In the 1960's Shike Driz emerged as a successful writer of poetry for children. Among his verse collections are harbst, shtolener koyekh, likhtike vor. In 1971 Shike Driz passed away in Moscow.
May 17: The poetess Dvore Khorol, niece of the great Dovid Bergelson, was born in Ukraine (1894). Her verse, which concentrated on the lives of women and children, began to be published in 1927, and is to be found in the collections in kinder-kolonye, friling, gortnvarg, among others. In October 1982 Dvore Khorol passed away in Moscow.
May 18: Birth of Y. L. Perets, one of the three klasikers of Yiddish literature, in Zamosc, Poland (1852). Y. L. Perets died in Warsaw, on April 3, 1915.
May 21: The journalist Tsvi Prilutski was born in Volhynia (1862). He became editor and publisher of der veg, the first Yiddish daily newspaper in Congress Poland (1905), as well as editor of moment, a Warsaw Yiddish daily founded in 1910. Tsvi Prilutski perished in the Warsaw Ghetto on May 21, 1942.
May 22: Birth of the literary researcher and critic Moyshe Notovitsh in Berdichev (1912). A graduate of the Moscow Pedagogical Institute, he taught at the theatre school attached to GOSET, the State Yiddish Theatre in Moscow and finished his career as a lecturer at the Kazan Pedagogical Institute in Tataria. His literary yerushe includes a study of I. J. Linetski and a collection of critical essays on Soviet Yiddish literature. (Linetski was an anticlerical satirist, sprung from Hasidic roots, of the late nineteenth century. His most prominent work, the novel dos poylishe yingl, was being reprinted as late as 1939.) Notovitsh died in Kazan in 1968.
April 1: Birth of the poet and dramatist Moyshe Pintshevsky, in Bessarabia (1894). At the age of 19, he ran away to Argentina on a merchant ship. There he made his literary debut with verses in the yidishe tsaytung. In 1924, Pintshevsky left Argentina and settled in the USSR, where his poetry and dramas enjoyed popularity. With the rest of the yidishe inteligents, the poet faced repression at the hands of the Stalinists and died in Kiev on March 24, 1955.
April 5: Birth of the playwright and prose writer Dovid Pinsky, in Byelorussia (1872); Pinsky is considered to be one of the most productive figures in Yiddish literature, Ampng his plays are der eybiker yid; yankl der shmid; der oytser; ayzik sheftl. Pinsky passed away on August 10, 1959 in medines yisroel.
April 6: Birth of the historian and folklorist Sh. Ginzburg, in Byelorussia (1866). The collection yidishe folkslider in rusland (1901) is the work of Ginzburg and P. Marek. A founder and the editor of the first Yiddish daily in Russia, der fraynd (1903), Ginzburg emigrated to America in 1930. He died on November 16, 1940 in New York.
April 7: yortsayt of the linguist and cultural activist Nokhem Shtif, who died in Kiev (1933). (Shtif was born in Volhynia on November 29, 1879.) Adjudged one of the most significant researchers in Yiddish, Shtif was the moving force in the founding of yivo. He wrote yidn un yidish; yidishe stilistik; der humanizm in der elterer yidisher literatur, among other works.
April 13: Birth of the writer B. Gorin (Yitskhok Goydo) in Byelorussia (1868). He was published in Perets' yudishe biblyotek. Among his books are di geshikhte fun yidishn teater; di yidishe prese in amerike. Gorin's yortsayt falls on April 13; he died in New York (1925).
April 15: Birth of the director Moyshe-Arn Rafalsky in Kiev (1889). In 1918 Rafalsky created the first Yidish dramatic theatre in Ukraine, undzer vinkl. Among the plays Rafalsky worked on were shaylok; botvin; hirsh lekert; der yontev in kasrilevke. Rafalsky was killed in 1937.
April 15: Birth of Shmuel (Sam) Ogursky, a historian and literary researcher, in Byelorussia (1884). Having joined the workers movement at an early age, Ogursky lived in England and America before returning to Russia in 1917. Among his books are di oktober-shlakhtn in moskve; di revolutsyonere bavegung in vaysrusland. Arrested by the Stalinists in 1938, this veteran revolutionary died in exile on August 19, 1947.
April 15: Birth of the poet Itsik Bronfman, in Podolya (1913). Having lost his parents at an early age, Bronfman grew up in a kinderheym. He began to publish poetry in 1930 and, a year later, settled in Birobidzhan, where he worked first as a tractor-driver and then as a journalist. Bronfman served as a frontline fighter in the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet peoples against the German fascist aggressors. Bronfman's verse is collected in af likhtike vegn; mayn ankete. Bronfman passed away in Khabarovsk (1978).
April 16: yortsayt of the author Yisroel-Zalmen Hurvits, who passed away in New York (1955). In literary life, Hurvits was know as Z. Libin. Born in Byelorussia in 1872, he emigrated to America in 1892. It was in this country that Hurvits began to write fiction and drama. He was among the first of writers in Yiddish to describe the life of immigrants.
April 16: yortsayt of the poet and playwright Moyshe Gershenzon, who fell as a frontline fighter against the German fascists (1943). Gershenzon was born in Ukraine (1903). Among his plays are mayn zun; hershele ostropolyer.
April 18: Birth of the writer Yoysef Rabin, in Byelorussia (1900). Rabin began to write in the twenties. Having been among the founders of yungvald, a magazine for youth, he was also a member of the editorial board of sovetish heymland. der veg iz ofn; mir lebn; di shtot fun mayn yungt are among his books. Rabin died in Moscow in 1987.
April 18: Birth of the composer Y. Engel, in Ukraine (1868). Engel studied at the Moscow Conservatory and rose to the leadership of the gezelshaft far yidisher folks-muzik. Among his works are muzikalisher verterbukh; in der opere; yidishe folkslider; a krants yidishe folks-nigunem. Engel composed music for Anski's dibuk. He died in Tel Aviv on February 11, 1927.
April 18: Birth of the poet and theatrical director Yankev Shternberg, in Bessarabia (1890). Shternberg lived in the Soviet Union from 1939. He wrote shtot in profil; in krayz fun yorn. He was also the author of numerous critical studies of literature. He died in Moscow (1973).
April 19: Birth of the writer and cultural figure Khaym Zhitlovsky, near Vitebsk (1865). A participant in the movement narodnaya volya in his youth, Zhitlovsky became one of the founders of the SR party, which contended for power in Russia after the demise of tsarism. He attended the Tshernovits conference on Yiddish in 1908. In 1930 he immigrated to America. Zhitlovsky was among those responsible for the founding of ikuf, the international Yiddish cultural movement. yid un velt; in kamf far folk un shprakh are among his works. He died on May 6, 1943 in Canada; he was buried in New York.
April 21: Birth of the poet, prose writer and dramatist Buzy Miler, in Podolye (1913). Miler studied at the Moscow Pedagogical Institute and settled in Birobidzhan, where he worked as a teacher and editor. Among his books are untern regnboygn; der kval der loyterer; yedn dor -- zayns. In the Stalin era, Miler was arrested. He died in Birobidzhan in 1988.
April 24: Birth of the poet Hirsh Glik, in Vilne (1921). Glik was the author of the partisan hymn, zog nit keynmol, az du geyst dem letstn veg. In September 1943 the Germans deported Glik to a prison camp in Estonia. His poetry was published in 1963 by ikuf, in the collection lider un poemes.
April 25: yortsayt of the writer Lipman Levin, who died in Moscow (1946). Levin was born in Byelorussia in 1877. Among his works are teg fargangene; dem shturem antkegn; doyres dervakhte.
April 29: Birth of the poet R. Ayzland, in Galicia (1884). He came to America in 1903 and made his literary debut the following year. He was among those who began the group yunge. fun mayn zumer; fun undzer friling; dos gezang fun hirsh are among his books. Ayzland died on June 18, 1955 in Florida.
March 2: Anniversary of the death of the poet, essayist, and anarchist Sholem Shvartsbord in Capetown, South Africa, in 1938. Born in Bessarabia, Shvartsbord, a watchmaker by trade, had taken part in the workers' movement from his earliest years. On May 25, 1926, Shvartsbord shot Petlyura, who had commanded an army of pogromshtshikes in Ukraine. In the ensuing trial Shavartsbord was acquitted. He wrote a single book of poetry, troymen un virklekhkeyt, as well as essays and his memoirs.
March 6: Anniversary of the death of the writer Shmuel Hurvits, in 1943 in New York. Known in literature as A. Litvin, he was born in 1862 in White Russia, and came to America in 1901. Hurvits wrote poetry and worked as a journalist, publishing the monthly lebn un visnshaft in Vilna in the period 1909-1912.
March 10: The writer Lamed Shapiro was born in Ukraine in 1878. His first short story was written in 1903. In 1905 he came to the United States. He was editor of the quarterly studyo and won recognition as a gifted author of short stories (noveles). Lamed Shapiro passed away on August 25, 1948.
March 14: The literary critic and linguistic research Khaym Loytsker was born in Ukraine in 1898. Beginning as a teacher in Yiddish schools, Loytsker also worked in the Office for Yiddish Culture in Kiev. He published articles in newspapers and magazines and wrote textbooks to be used in Yiddish schools. Having been arrested in the Stalin era, he spent his last years writing for sovetish heymland and died in Kiev in 1971.
March 16: Birth of the writer and cultural activist R. Braynin, in Lyady, Byelorussia (1862). Braynin came to America in 1910. Braynin published hundreds of articles and edited books in Yiddish and Hebrew. His works include gezamlte shriftn; fun mayn lebsnbukh. Braynin passed away on November 30, 1939 in New York.
March 16: Birth of Shloyme Mikhoels (Vovsy), the actor, director and cultural activist, in Dvinsk, Latvia (1890). In 1919 Mikhoels became a member of the yidishe teater-studyo, which became the Moscow State Jewish Theatre goset in 1921. From 1929 on Mikhoels served as the artistic director of goset. Among his most significant roles was Lear in Shakespeare's tragedy. From 1941 Mikhoels served as the chairman of the Jewish Antifascist Committee, the zenith of Jewish self-organization and self-defense in Soviet history. Shloyme Mikhoels was murdered by the Stalinists in Minsk (1948). His yortsayt falls on January 13.
March 20: Birth of the poet and prose writer Avrom Gontar, in Berditshev (1908). Gontar began to publish his verse in 1927 and eventually authored more than twenty books. In the thirties, he edited the magazine farmest. The poet did military service during the Great Fatherland War and afterwards worked on the newspaper of the Jewish Antifascist Committee, eynikayt, which led to his arrest by the Stalinists. In the sixties, Gontar served as an editor of sovetish heymland, the largest Yiddish literary monthly of its time. Gontar died in Moscow in August 1981.
March 20: Birth of the poet, playwright and novelist Moyshe Kulbak, near Vilna (1896). Kulbak made his literary debut in 1916 and published his first verse collection in 1920. From 1928 Kulbak lived in Minsk. Tragically, he became an early victim of Stalinist repression and was reportedly shot inOctober 1937.
March 30: yortsayt of the poet and prose author Avrom Reyzen (who was born on April 8, 1876 in Byelorussia and died in 1953, in New York). The poet emigrated to America in 1908. He wrote a great many verses; some of his poems became sung as folksongs.
February 1: Birth of the poet Shloyme Roytman, in Ukraine (1913). Having made a start in publishing verse in the children's paper zay greyt in Kharkov, in 1931, Roytman published his first collection of poems in Moscow in 1941. He achieved the academic rank of candidate in philological sciences and fought in the Great Patriotic War against the German fascist aggressors. Roytman made aliyah in 1973. Among his books are mayn yisroeldik seyferl; gut morgn, zinger!; der mames nign. The poet passed away in Herzliya, Israel in 1985.
February 3: Birth of the prose writer and critic Leyvik Khanukov in the Pskov region, Russia, in 1892. Khanukov emigrated to the U.S. in 1914 and began to write in Yiddish a few years later. For four decades he produced critical works, essays and short stories. Khanukov passed away on September 25, 1958 in New York.
February 3: Birth of the philologist Layb Vilsker, in Ukraine (1919). A fighter in the Great Fatherland War against the German fascists, Vilsker also attained the academic rank of candidate in philological sciences. Vilsker specialized in decoding archaic texts in Hebrew; among his published work is a study of the language of Samaria. Vilsker died in Leningrad in 1988.
February 4: Anniversary of the death of the philologist Mordkhe Vaynger, in Minsk, White Russia, 1929. Born in Ukraine on September 9, 1890, Vaynger called for the reform of Yiddish spelling in a work appearing in 1913, as well as publishing scholarly works concerning the seyfer shel rav anshl, and books devoted to the syntax and dialects of Yiddish.
February 5: Birth of the writer and social activist Tsemakh Shabad (in Vilne, in 1864). A physician by profession, his first published work dealt with natural science and was composed in Russian. He later began to write in Yiddish. Shabad edited and published the vilner zamlbukh (1918), as well as the fortnightly folks-gezunt, and booklets about hygiene and medicine. He was one of the founders of the Jewish Scientific Institute yivo. The writer died in Vilne on January 20, 1935.
February 6: Birth of the philologist Isaac Zaretski in White Russia, in 1891. Zaretski, one of the preeminent scholars of linguistics in the Soviet Union, devoted approximately three hundred scholarly works to Yiddish, including kurs fun yidisher shprakh, yidishe shprakh far lerer, and metodik fun yidish. Zaretski passed away on August 27, 1956 in Kursk, Russia.
February 7: Birth of Moyshe Stavsky, who wrote in both Yiddish and Hebrew (in the Grodne region, Byelorussia, in 1883). He began to publish in 1903 and became famous for stories about animals. Stavsky made aliyah at the end of 1911 and engaged in agricultural work in erets-yisroel. He mastered Arabic, in which language he wrote a thousand stories. Among his books are idilyen un bilder; shtume fraynd; ven tog fargeyt; araber dertseyln. Stavsky died in Tel Aviv on June 24, 1964.
February 8: Birth of the writer Gershon Aynbinder in Podolia, in 1900. Aynbinder's work was published under the pseudonym Khaver-Paver. He came to America in 1923 and worked as a teacher while also publishing children's stories. In 1925 he published two volumes of mayselekh fun khaver-paver. Among his other works are klinton-strit, tsen landslayt, zalmen der shuster, and gershon in amerike. Aynbinder passed away in Los Angeles on December 7, 1964.
February 11: Birth of Zalkind (Zale) Shneyur (in Shklov, Byelorussia, in 1887), who wrote in both Hebrew and Yiddish. His work in Hebrew is considered to be comparable to that of Bialik and Tshernikhovsky. Among his famous Yiddish novels are shklover yidn; feter zshame; dnyeper-geshikhtn; der keyser un der rebe. The writer died in New York on February 20, 1959.
February 12: Birth of the writer Yosl Kotlyar (in Berditshev, Ukraine, in 1908). Kotlyar was a beloved children's poet, who wrote, among other works, likhtike geboyrn; entuzyastn; glentsndiker veter; kinder fun mayn land; mayn velt; lider-mayselekh; oysgeleyzte erd. Kotlar died in Vilne on June 15, 1962.
February 12: Birth of the prose writer Hershl Polyanker in Ukraine, 1911. He began to publish short stories in the early nineteen thirties, with his first book appearing in 1932. Polyanker fought in the Great Fatherland War of the USSR against fascism, and suffered at the hands of the Stalinists for having been a member of the Jewish Antifascist Committee, along with many other Soviet patriots. Polyanker brought out sixteen novels and story collections. He passed away in Kiev in October 1997.
February 13: yortsayt of Yitskhok-Ber Levinzon, who was born in Volhynia on September 14, 1788 and died in Volhynia in 1860. A satirical work by Levinzon was the first original composition in Yiddish to appear in Russia.
February 15: Birth of the philologist and folklore zamler Y.-L. Kohen (in Vilne, in 1881). Before coming to America in 1904, Kohen gathered Yiddish folksongs and melodies throughout Europe. In 1913, he published a two-volume work yidishe folkslider. In 1930 he returned to Europe to collect Yiddish folklore, a subject on which he published a number of books, including the collection yidishe folksmayses. Kohen passed away in New York on April 3, 1937.
February 17: Birth of the writer Osip Dimov in Poland in 1878. Dimov began writing in Yiddish in 1907 and came to America in 1912. He published in a variety of prose genres. Dimov passed away on February 3, 1959 in New York.
February 19: Birth of the activist and publicist Shimen Dimanshteyn in Byelorussia, in 1888. Exiled to Siberia by the tsarist autocracy for revolutionary activity, he became Comissar for Jewish Affairs under Soviet power, as well as editing the first Communist newspapers in Yiddish. After being arrested by the Stalinists, Dimanshteyn died in exile in 1937.
February 20: Birth of the historian Meyer-Yankev Balaban (in Lvov, Ukraine, in 1877). After studying philosophy at university in Lvov, he became a professor in Warsaw, where he helped found an institute for Jewish studies. Balaban wrote in four languages, Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish, and German. Among his most impotant works are yidn in poyln; di kroynshtot lublin; tsu der geshikhte fun di yidishe drukerayen in poyln; geshikhte fun yidn in kroke; yidn in lemberg oyf der grenets fun 16tn un 17tn yorhundertn. Balaban perished in the Warsaw Ghetto.
February 24: Birth of the poet Shmuel-Yankev Imber (in Galicia, in 1889), who began to publish in 1906. For several years he lived in Cracow and put out a magazine in Polish in opposition to antisemitism. The poet spent five years in America and earned a doctorate. Among his poetry collections are vos ikh zing un zog; in yidishn land; royznbleter; lirik fun galitsishe dikhter. Imber was murdered by the German fascists in 1942.
February 25: Birth of Yankev Mestel, a writer, actor and cultural activist, in Galicia (1884). Performing on the stage from 1910, Mestel has the distinction of having founded the first Jewish dramatic school in Vienna. In 1920 Mestel came to America and continued his career on the stage. Working also as a playwright, he took an active role in IKUF, the Yiddish cultural movement. Mestel's poetry is to be found in his collection, farkholemte shoen. He also wrote the drama di bine and milkhome-notitsn fun a yidishn ofitsir. Mestel died in New York on August 15, 1958.
February 27: Birth of the writer Yoel Mastboym (in Poland, in 1884), who began to publish in 1906. His first short story collection came out in Warsaw in 1912. In 1933 the writer made aliyah. Among his works are fun roytn lebn; in der fremd; maritas glik; naye mentshn; mayne shturmishe yorn; der koyekh fun der erd. Mastboym passed away on April 3, 1957 in Tel Aviv.
February 27: Birthday of the poet and prose writer Zusman Segalovitsh, in Byalistok, Poland (1884). He was among the most prolific and popular Jewish writers in pre-war Poland. He began to publish verse in Yiddish in 1904 in the newspaper fraynd. His first book of poetry, shtile troymen was published in 1909. Other work includes zeligs yorn; fun rusland; romantishe yorn; krimer nekht; der letster lodzher. Segalovitsh died in New York (1949); his yortsayt falls on February 20.
January 1: The historian Tuvye Heylikman was born in Byelorussia (1873). He rose to the professorate in Moscow. Among his works are: borekh spinoze; di yidn in rusland; geshikhte fun der gezelshaftlekher bavegung bay yidn in poyln un rusland. Heylikman died near Moscow (April 24, 1948).
January 1: The writer Sholem Ash was born in Poland (1880). His first published work, dos shtetl, a short story, appeared in 1904. Among the dramas Ash wrote are got fun nekome; meshiekhs tsaytn; shabse-tsvi. Having lived in France and America, Ash spent his last years in erets yisroel. Sholem Ash passed away in London (July 10, 1957).
January 1: The poet Mendl Lifshits was born in Byelorussia (1907). He began to publish verse in 1923. Before the Great Patriotic War, he lived in Minsk, whence he was evacuated. In 1945, year of victory over the German fascists, the poet settled near Moscow. Among his books are a zun mit a regn; mayne un ayere lider; bay zikh in der heym; mit heysn trot. Mendl Lifshits passed away near Moscow in 1983.
January 2: Birth of the dramatist and director Mark Ornshteyn (in 1878, in Warsaw). In 1897, Ornshteyn began to publish in Polish and later turned to Yiddish, in which he wrote plays, short stories and poems. Among the plays Ornshteyn brought to the stage were An-ski's der dibek and H. Leyvik's der goylem. Ornshteyn suffered in the Warsaw Ghetto and was murdered by the German fasicsts at Maydenek in 1943.
January 2: Leyb Halpern the poet was born in Galicia (1886). After his arrival in America (1908), he became a member of the literary group, di yunge. Halpern's first collection of poetry, in nyu york (1919) went through three editions. The poet traveled the country as a correspondent for frayhayt and became famous with the appearance of his second verse-collection, di goldene pave in 1924. Halpern died in New York on August 31, 1932. "Halpern represented the immigrant Jewish youth of the early twentieth century who saw freedom tainted by social injustice. [Halpern] hated social falsehood and cultural sickness and his undisciplined verses alternated between strident assertions of individualism and a profound sympathy for the underprivileged" (S. Liptzin)
January 2: Birth of the painter and children's writer Ber Sarin (Moyshe Levin) (in 1908, in Byelorussia). He began to publish his work in Vilne in 1929, with his first collection of children's stories appearing in 1937. Ber Sarin illustrated his own work. He was murdered by the German fascists on March 2, 1942, in the Minsk Ghetto. The Warsaw publishing house yidish bukh published a posthumous collection of Ber Sarin's work under the title, kh'vel aykh dertseyln a mayse.
January 2: yortsayt of the poet Peysekh Binetski, who passed away in 1966, in medines yisroel. Binetski was born in Byalistok, in 1910. The poet was imprisoned in bourgeois Poland for his communist convictions. In 1949 Binetski made aliyah. Among his books are oysdoyer; a fentster tsu der velt; hemshekh.
January 3: Birthday of the poet and dramatist Yankev Preger (in 1887, in Byelorussia). Among his works are der vasertreger; af di vegn; shloyme hameylekh; simkhe plakhte; der nisoyen; meylekh freylekh. Preger's plays were performed by the vilner trupe and the Warsaw yugnt-teater. Preger was murdered by the German fascists on August 19, 1942 in Poland.
January 4: The playwright and prose author M. Donyel was born in Latvia (1897). His plays were performed in the Yiddish theatre in the USSR and abroad. M. Donyel died in Yalta on November 25, 1940 and was buried in Moscow. "His early stories, which were his best work, suggest the influence of Boris Pilnyak" (L. Prager).
January 7: Arn Kushnirov, poet, playwright and prose author, was born in Ukraine (1890). Kushnirov distinguished himself as a Red Army fighter and journalist in the Great Patriotic War of the USSR against the fascists. His war exploits were repeatedly publicized in eynikayt, the newspaper of the Jewish Antifascist Committee. In 1947 and 1948, Kushnirov served as editor of the Moscow bimonthly heymland. He died in Moscow on September 7, 1949.
January 8: Isaac Raboy the novelist died in New York on this date in 1944. Born in Podolia in 1882, Raboy immigrated to America in 1904, supporting himself by working in a variety of occupations. His first stories were published in the anthologies of di yunge, a literary group which included Mani-Leyb, M. Nadir, and Y. Opatoshu, among others. These writers stood for art for art's sake and emphasized the communication of impressions rather than concepts in literature (S. Liptzin). Raboy was the first to introduce stories about agricultural work into American Yiddish literature.
January 9: Birth of the greatest Hebrew poet of modern times, H.-N. Bialik (in Volhynia, 1873).
January 10: Birth of the poet Yankev Zonshayn (in Poland, in 1914). He began to publish in 1932, with the novele, in a keler-shtub. Other works include yunger vinter; vort un nign; and the drama profesor shvartsshteyn. The poet passed away on February 7, 1962, in Warsaw.
January 11: Birth of the poet, prose author and dramatist Motl Saktsier (in Moldavia, in 1907). His poetry was first published in 1928. The poet lived in Bucharest, Paris, Moscow, and Alma Ata, and after the Great Fatherland War, in Tshernovits and Keshenev. Arrested by the Stalinists, Saktsier made aliyah in 1972. Among his works are derfer; mit farbotenem blayer; der shayter baym breg; toybn af antene; a shpur afn veg. Saktsier passed away in erets yisroel in 1988.
January 12: The novelist Borekh Glazman was born in White Russia (1893). After coming to America in 1911, Glazman began to publish in Yiddish in 1913. His works include af di felder fun dzhordzhya, among others. He died in New York on June 1, 1945. "In choice of themes for his short stories and novels, [Glazman] was the most American of Yiddish writers, combining a brooding, psychoanalytic approach with exciting action. He sympathized with the underprivileged members of society" (M. Ravitch).
January 13: yortsayt of the writer Khaim Tshemerinski, known in literature as Reb Mordkhele (in 1917, in Ukraine). Tshemerinski was born in Byelorussia in 1862. A mesholem-shrayber, language researcher, and translator, he also wrote for children and published linguistic works, di yidishe gramatik bay mendele; di yidishe fonetik. He translated into Yiddish Victor Hugo's der mentsh, vos lakht. In 1919, Tshemerinski's work, mesholem appeared posthumously.
January 13: yortsayt of the literary critic Izidor Elyashev, known in literarture as Bal-Makhshoves, hwo died in Lithuania, in 1924. (The writer was born in Lithuania on September 13, 1873.)
Bal-Makhshoves made his literary debut in Yiddish in 1897. His works include studies of the klasikers of Yiddish literature, as well as the books dos dorem-yidntum un di yidishe literatur in 19tn yorhundert; untern rod; geklibene shriftn (in 5 bender).
January 14: Birth of the writer Avrom Ber Gotlober (in 1811, in Volhynia). Gotlober wrote in both Yiddish and Hebrew. Among his works are dos shtrayml mitn kapelyush; dos groyse kints, oder dos bisele mints; dos lid funem kugl. Gotlober's writing has been desribed as scathing and combative, with an impact on society. Gotlober passed away in Byalistok, on April 12, 1899.
January 15: Birth of the prose writer Note Lurye, in Ukraine (1906). His first published work was a short story, which appeared in 1925. His fiction depicted the shtetl. Arrested at one point by Soviet authorities (as were many Jewish intellectuals during the years of Stalinist rule), Lurye passed away in Odessa (1987). His books include bay mir in land; der step ruft; yam un himl; teg un yorn.
January 15: yortsayt of the poet Zishe Landoy (1937, in New York). Landoy was born in 1889 in Poland and came to the United States in 1906. A member of the literary group di yunge, Landoy was first published in the forverts. Among his books are es iz gornisht nit geshen; fun der velt-poezye.
January 16: Birth of the writer and scholar Nakhman Mayzil, in Ukraine (1887). A study of his relative Dovid Bergelson is among Mayzil's early works. He served as editor of both literarishe bleter (Warsaw) and yidishe kultur (New York). Mayzil died in 1966 in Israel, leaving as his heritage studies of Y.L. Perets, Sholem Ash, Y. Opatoshu and others.
January 20: Death of the novelist Tsvi Hirshkon in New York (1938). Born in White Russia, Hirshkon made his literary début in Perets' yidish in 1910 with the novel tsvey veltn and immigrated to the U.S. in 1925. Among Hirshkon's works are fun dervaytns; unter eyn dakh; boris kabalkin.
January 24: The literary critic Borekh Rivkin was born in Latvia (1883). He "became involved in the revolutionary activities of the Bund, suffered a year's imprisonment in 1904, and fled to Switzerland, where he was active in anarchist circles" (Liptzin). After his arrival in the U.S. in 1911, Rivkin published a single book, der mitlveg tsvishn ideal un praktik in kultur-arbet. Rivkin joined Avrom Reisen in writing for Reisen's weekly, dos naye land. He also worked with A. Liesin in editing di tsukunft.
January 24: yortsayt of the writer and publisher Isaac-Meyer Dik (in 1893, in Vilne). The writer was born in Vilne, in 1814. His place in the history of Yiddish culture is assured by his accomplishment in creating a mass market for mayse-bikhlekh. which sometimes appeared in editions of five or six thousand copies. Among his books are der poresh fun berditshev; yekele goldshleger; heytsikl aleyn.
January 26: Birth of the poet Menakhem Boreysho (in Byelorussia, in 1888). In 1905 he made his literary debut in Perets' der veg. He emigrated to America during the First World War; his first verse collection a ring in der keyt was published in 1916. Among his works are poyln; zamd; zavel rimer; der geyer - kapitlen fun a lebn; der gilgl. Boreysho died on November 14, 1942 in New York.
January 30: Birth of the poet, prose author and dramatist Moyshe Khashtshevatski (in Ukraine, in 1897). The poet made his literary debut in 1918 and published his first verse collection dorsht in Kiev in 1922. Among his works are harte vor; raportn; hant bay hant; letste shlakht; a rayze keyn birobidzhan; fun amol un haynt, as well as the play khaloymes, about the young Sholem-Aleykhem. Khashtshevatski enriched culture by translating the work of Russian and Ukrainian authors into Yiddish. On December 17, 1943, the poet gave his life as a frontline fighter in the Great Fatherland War of the Soviet peoples against the German fascist aggressors.
Adapted from forverts and the Encyclopedia Judaica.
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