NATAN ZABARE (December 27, 1908-February 19, 1975)
He was born in Rogatshev (Rahachow), Volhynia, Ukraine. He studied in religious elementary school. During the years of the revolution, he moved to Kiev. In the 1920s he was a government-supported student at the Institute for Jewish Culture in the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev. He began publishing in the late 1920s novellas in Soviet Jewish publications in Kiev, Kharkov, and Minsk. His books include: Radyo-roman (Radio novel) (Kharkov-Kiev, 1932), 220 pp.; Khevre (The gang), children’s stories (Minsk, 1933), 21 pp.; Nilovke (Nilovke), a novel (Moscow, 1935), 109 pp.; Fun land tsu land (From country to country) (Kiev, 1938), 300 pp.; Mentshn un tsaytn, fartsaykhenungen (Men and times, notes) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1938), 22 pp.; Der foter, roman (The father, a novel) (Kiev: Ukrainian state publishers for national minorities, 1940), 518 pp.; Galgal hakhoyzer, roman (The revolving wheel, a novel) (Moscow: Sovetski pisatel, 1979), 469 pp. He published a series of novels in Sovetish heymland (Soviet homeland): A poshete mame (A simple mother), 1967: 9, 10, 11; S’iz nokh groys der tog (The day is longer still), 1972: 9, 10; Unter der heyser zun fun provans (Under the hot sun of Provence), 1973: 9, 10; Inmitn heln batog (In the middle of a bright day), 1975: 1, 2, 3; 1977: 7.
With the outbreak of the Nazi-Soviet war, he was mobilized and took part in battles. After WWII he was with the Red Army in Germany and in contact with Jewish people in the British and American zones, rekindling his interest in things Jewish. At a meeting of the Jewish writers section of the Soviet Ukrainian writers’ union in Kiev, Zabare spoke about a publication that confronted Soviet Yiddish literature: “To explain to the people about the wonderful, historical feat accomplished by the Soviet Army which liberated Europe from the fascist yoke.” He added that this was “really the theme of my new book that I’m about to finish.” He survived the years 1948-1952 during the extermination of Yiddish writers under Stalin, though he was arrested in 1950 and held in the gulag until 1956. He returned to activity in Kiev after being released. He died in Kiev with pen in hand.
Sources: Kh. Lutsker, in Shtern (Kharkov) 280 (1935); M. May, in Sovetishe literatur (Kiev) (June 1939), p. 107; L. Brovarnik, in Sovetishe literatur (June 1939), p. 131; M. Dublyet, in Shtern (Minsk) (July 1939); A. Kushnirov, in Naye prese (Paris) (July 27, 1945); A. Emkin, in Eynikeyt (Moscow) (June 26, 1947); N. Mayzil, Dos yidishe shafn un der yidisher shrayber in sovetnfarband (Jewish creation and the Yiddish writer in the Soviet Union) (New York, 1959), see index.
[Additional information from: Berl Kagan, comp., Leksikon fun yidish-shraybers (Biographical dictionary of Yiddish writers) (New York, 1986), col. 253; and 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. 148-49.]