Жизнь и творчество Льва Квитко (The Life and Work of Leib Kvitko) — М., 1976
Leyb Kvitko (1890 [or 1893]–1952), Yiddish and Russian writer. Born in Holoskovo, near Odessa, Leyb Kvitko lost both of his parents very early and was raised by his grandmother.
The introduction to Kvitko’s prose book Tsvey khaveyrim (Two Friends; 1933) explained: “As of 1930, L. Kviko’s poetic route became straighter . . . reflecting . . . the revolution and Soviet reality.” This story, devoted to Slavic–Jewish brotherhood—and also known as Lyam un Petrik (Lyam [a Jewish boy] and Petrik [his gentile friend])—had arguably the largest number of editions in Yiddish and other languages of any Soviet Yiddish prose work. Kvitko, unlike Chukovskii and several other Soviet children’s writers, wrote about events in the lives of ordinary people. The universal character of many of his pieces for children facilitated their translation and popularity.
Kvitko was a delegate to the First Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934. He was named to the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1939. Thus, the authorities placed him one step lower than Perets Markish, who was named to the Order of Lenin, but one step higher than Fefer and Hofshteyn, named to the Order of Honor. According to the Soviet literary historian Hersh Remenik, Kvitko’s popularity as a children’s poet unfairly eclipsed his importance as a folk poet, whose Yiddish poetry “had revealed the sadness of a world and the rise of a new world.” While non-Yiddish readers knew Kvitko only as a children’s poet, his Yiddish poetry collections continued to appear in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as posthumously.
During World War II, Kvitko was a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC). He was arrested with other members of the JAC and executed on 12 August 1952.
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