Leib Kvitko: New Book in Russian Translation

The publishing house Jaromír Hladík press in St. Petersburg published the Russian translation of Leib Kvitko’s Yiddish poetry book “1919”. A whole workshop of new Yiddish translators (about ten people), prepared by a special seminar held in St. Petersburg from 2021 to 2023, took part in this publication. The seminar, organized by the Judaica Center of the European University in St. Petersburg, was led by the poet Igor Bulatovsky. Yiddish was taught by two well known literature experts and translators, Valery Dymshits and Alexandra Glebovskaya.

Kvitko (1890-1952) is best known as a children’s poet, but the newly published collection is not intended for children at all. It is an outstanding monument to expressionist poetry and a testimony to the Jewish pogroms that erupted in Ukraine in the year of 1919.

We would like to remind you that on our website you can read another book by Kvitko in its original Yiddish: “Alefbeys (alphabet) in verse“. It was published in 1947 in Moscow, illustrated by the remarkable Jewish artist Mikhail Yo (Meer Yoffe). Behind the seemingly childish nature in this book there are also adult overtones, sometimes imbued with tragic feelings… As it is well known, in 1952 the poet became one of the victims of Stalin’s execution of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee.