Page 25 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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La Plata un Yarden, 1966) ranged in content from themes of
Bukovina, North and South America and Israel to cosmic visions
and philosophic meditations, and in style from restrained sonnets
to meandering free rhythms.
Motl Sakzier (b. 1907), son of a Bessarabian tailor, wrote so­
cial poetry primarily. His verse often recalled his father who
sewed new clothes for rich customers but remained poor and yet
content with dreams of an imminent messianic salvation. He
himself escaped from a stifling workshop to a Parisian garret and
then to Vienna and Bucarest. His elegies of his attic existence,
Therefore (Derfar, 1936), mingled sentimentalism and irony.
They showed him in languid, melancholy moods, drinking of
love wherever he could find it. Nevertheless, this spinner of
dreams about Parisian boulevards and Viennese streets could not
liberate himself from images of Jewish tailor lads in his native
province who went to their martyrdom singing hymns of the Bund
and songs of freedom penned by Vinchevsky, Bovshover and
Edelstadt, the adored poets of tailor workshops. After years of
Asiatic entombment he survived Stalin’s purge, returned to Ki­
shinev and continued to pen proletarian poems there. His lyrics
of 1968, however, showed him reverting to the individualistic
poetry of his beginnings and were appropriately entitled Baginen
(Sovetish Heimland, August 1968).
Soviet Kishinev in the post-Stalin era was also the home of the
Yiddish writers Yekhiel Shreibman and Yankel Yakir, the for­
mer excelling in short sketches and the latter in longer stories of
Bessarabian Jewish life. Soviet Cernauti harbored Moishe Alt­
man after his liberation from a Siberian labor camp; also the
younger writers Meyer Kharatz, Hirsh Bloshtein and Chaim Me­
lamed. Their contributions were published in the 1960’s in the
only available Soviet Yiddish organ, Sovetish Heimland.
The Literary Decline in Rumania
In the truncated Rumania of the post-Holocaust decades, the
quantity and quality of Yiddish literary activity continued to de­
cline. The severance of Bessarabia and Bukovina from Rumania,
the migration of Jewish intellectuals to other centers, the large
aliyah to Israel, the pressure for integration into the culture of
the majority population, the decrease of the Yiddish reading pub­
lic —these were major factors accounting for this decline. Though
some literary activity was still being maintained toward the
end of the 1960’s and a Yiddish theatrical company was still func­
tioning and even undertaking guest performances in Israel in
1968, the outlook for a Yiddish resurgence, such as Rumania
experienced a generation earlier, was bleak.