Monday, 31 August 2015


LEYB GLITSMAN (1904-1941)
            He was born in Pumpian (Pumpenai), near Ponevezh, Lithuania, into a family of means.  He received a general and a Jewish education.  He studied in a Russian public school, later graduating from the Jewish senior high school in Vilkomir (Ukmerge).  He studied the humanistic sciences and literature at Kovno University.  From 1922 he was a Yiddish and Hebrew teacher as well as a cultural leader in Pumpian, Linkuva, and Ponevezh.  From 1938 until June 1941, he was living in Kovno, working as a teacher in a Yiddish-Hebrew middle school.  In his high school years, he began to write lyrical and nature poetry, and he first published in the anthology Vispe (Islet) 2 (Kovno, 1922).  He contributed poems to Vispe 3 (Kovno, 1923), Kveytn (Blossoms), Brikn (Bridges), Shlakhn (Combat), Idishe shtime (Jewish voice), and Folksblkat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno, Yidishe bilder (Jewish images) in Riga, and to virtually all of the other literary publication in Lithuania.  His poems of mood and sadness exerted an influence both by virtue of their immediacy and by virtue of finely polished Yiddish, and they were thus seen by the critics.  At the time of the German assault on Russia on June 22, 1941, he left Kovno with his family for Vilna.  There are two versions of the story of his death: (a) he escaped from Vilna to the former Soviet border and died from German bombing en route; and (b) he returned to Kovno, and from there made his way to relatives in Ponevezh, where he was killed during a German campaign in the first days of September 1941.

Sources: Y. Mark, in Zamlbukh, lekoved dem tsvey hundert un fuftsikstn yoyvl fun der yidisher prese 1686-1936 (Anthology in honor of the 250th jubilee of the Yiddish press, 1686-1936) (New York, 1937); N. Y. Gotlib, in Lite (Lithuania) (New York, 1951), p. 1101; Keneder odler (Montreal) (April 10, 1944); oral information from his cousin A. Bard in New York.

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