Friday, 23 February 2018


AVROM SAFRO (1888-1965)
            A Soviet writer and journalist, he was born in Alt-Bikhov (Bychaw), Byelorussia.  From his youth he studied foreign languages.  In 1904 he became a leather worker, and later he was a teacher in his father Talmud Torah.  He debuted in print with a correspondence piece from Alt-Bikhov in Der nayer veg (The new path) in Vilna (1903).  From that point he went on to publish articles, translations, poems, and stories in a variety of venues.  In 1913 he settled in Vilna and worked for Vilner togblat (Vilna daily newspaper) as a translator, proofreader, and editorial board secretary.  After the Revolution, he lived in Vitebsk and worked in the culture and education division of the local Jewish section and as secretary to the editorial board of the weekly newspaper Der frayer arbeter (The free worker).  In 1919 he assumed the same post for the newspaper Der shtern (The star) (Minsk and Vitebsk).  In Vitebsk he established the first Yiddish-language court in the Soviet Union and served as its secretary.  He described the work of this court in an article, “Der ershter folks-gerikht af yidish” (The first people’s court in Yiddish), in Arbets kalendar afn 1924tn yor (Labor calendar for the year 1924).  That same year he moved to Moscow and served as editorial secretary for the newspaper Der emes (The truth).  He was also active as a translator.  Two of his translations were published in 1931 by the Moscow publisher “Der emes”: S. Tretiakov, Den shi khuas matone (Deng Xihua’s gift [original: Den Shi Khua]; and P. Smidovitsh, Di arbeṭer-masn in di 90er yorn, zikhroynes fun an altn bolshevik (The laboring masses in the 1890s, memoirs of an old Bolshevik), 63 pp.  His name disappeared in the early 1930s and then reappeared in 1957—his memoirs appeared in the Warsaw newspaper Folks-shtime (Voice of the people).

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), p. 259.

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