Posts tagged Illustration.


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.

(via YIVO)

  August 12, 2012 at 08:29pm via

(via zolotoivek)

Poster for Jewish Luck (1925) by Natan Altman

Jewish Luck was among the first Soviet Yiddish films to be released in the US during the 1920s. Based on Sholem Aleichem’s series of stories featuring the character Menakhem Mendl (played by the famous actor Solomon Mikhoels) the film revolves around the daydreaming entrepreneur Menakhem Mendl who specializes in doomed strike-it-rich schemes. Despite Jewish oppression by Tsarist Russia, Menakhem Mendl continues to pursue his dreams and his continued persistence transforms him from schlemiel to hero as the film uncovers the tragic underpinnings of Sholem Aleichem’s comic tales. Notes Village Voice critic Georgia Brown, “The movie’s best intertitle translated from Isaac Babel’s Russian: ‘What can you do when there is nothing to do?’”

A dramatized version of the Menkhem Mendl stories was first staged by the Moscow Yiddish State Theater, under the direction of Alexander Granovsky, who later made this silent film. Jewish Luck features some of the finest artistic talents of Soviet Jewry during this period. It has been speculated that the cinematography done by Eduard Tissé inspired the filming of certain scenes in one of his later projects, Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin (particularly the famous “Odessa steps” scene of that film, the same setting as the Jewish Luck finale). The original Russian intertitles were written by Soviet Jewish writer Isaac Babel, who later became a victim of the Stalinist purges in the late 1930s.

(via The National Center for Jewish Film)

  May 15, 2012 at 04:22pm via zolotoivek


Poster for ‘Night of the Crocodile’, an event headed by the Soviet satirical magazine ‘Krokodil’, 1930’s.

Krokodil (Russian: "Крокодил", “crocodile”) was a satirical magazine published in the Soviet Union. It was founded in 1922.

Although political satire was dangerous during much of the Soviet period, Krokodil was given considerable license to lampoon political figures and events. Typical and safe topics for lampooning in the Soviet era were the lack of initiative and imagination promoted by the style of an average Soviet middle-bureaucrat, and the problems produced by drinking on the job by Soviet workers. Krokodil also ridiculed capitalist countries and attacked various political, ethnic and religious groups that allegedly opposed the Soviet system. For example, at the time of the Doctors’ plot it published a number of anti-semitic articles and cartoons. (via Wikipedia)

  May 11, 2012 at 12:25pm via zolotoivek

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire on the front page of Yiddish newspaper, Der Groyser Kundes (The Big Stick).

  March 26, 2012 at 01:06am via

Жизнь и творчество Льва Квитко (The Life and Work of Leib Kvitko) — М., 1976

Leib Kvitko (Russian: Лейб Квитко, Yiddish: לייב קוויטקאָ) (October 15, 1890 – August 12, 1952) was a prominent Yiddish poet, an author of well-known children’s poems and a member of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC). He was one of the editors of Eynikayt (the JAC’s newspaper) and of the Heymland, a literary magazine. He was executed in Moscow on August 12, 1952 together with twelve other members of the JAC, a massacre known as the Night of the Murdered Poets.

He was born in a Ukrainian shtetl, attended traditional Jewish religious school for boys (Cheder) and was orphaned early. He moved to Kiev in 1917 and soon became one of the leading Yiddish poets of the “Kiev group”. (via Wikipedia)

More on the Night of the Murdered Poets

  March 21, 2012 at 03:27am via

Друг Детства (Childhood Friend) by Victor Dragunsky, with illustrations by G. Epishin, 1972

Viktor Dragunsky was a Soviet children’s author. He was born in New York in 1913 to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants, but his parents soon returned to Russia. He became famous in 1959 when he started to publish short novels about the everyday life of a small Russian schoolboy named Dennis Korablev. (via)

See more pages from the book (Russian)

  March 12, 2012 at 12:23am via

Мистер Твистер (Mister Twister) by Самуил Яковлевич Маршак (Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak), illustrated by I. Latinsky

A satirical poem about an evil American capitalist who travels to Leningrad with his spoiled family. When he learns that the hotel serves people of colour, he cancels his reservation and the concierge calls ahead to other hotels and advises them not to give the racist Mr. Twister a room.

See more pages from the book (Russian)
Read an excerpt (Russian & English)

  March 11, 2012 at 11:40pm via

March for Soviet Jewry, Sunday May 2, 1987
Poster by Paul Davis