KACYZNE (Katsizne), ALTER (1885–1941), Yiddish poet and essayist. Born in Vilna, he was a professional photographer and also wrote poetry, fiction, drama, and essays. His earliest short stories were written in Russian and published by S. *An-Ski, one of whose literary executors he was; he also completed An-Ski's fragmentary drama Tog un Nakht ("Day and Night"), which was frequently performed on Yiddish, Polish, and German stages in the 1920s. Under the influence of I.L. *Peretz and modern Polish poets, Kacyzne wrote his first mystical drama, which was not favorably received. He aroused greater attention with his folk ballads and with semi-mystical, semi-realistic short stories, such as "Kranke Perl" ("Sick Pearl" in Arabeskn, 1922). His drama Dukus ("The Duke," 1926), whose hero was a legendary Vilna aristocrat who embraced Judaism, was first staged in Warsaw with Abraham *Morewski in the leading role and then often performed in Yiddish theaters worldwide. His less popular historical drama Hordes ("Herod," 1926) was generally held to be of greater literary value. His two-volume novel Shtarke un Shvakhe ("Strong and Weak"), dealing with Polish-Jewish intellectuals during World War I, was published posthumously in Argentina in 1954. Fleeing the Germans in 1941, he tried to escape to Tarnopol, but was seized by Ukrainian collaborators and beaten to death. His daughter Shulamit Reale published the first volume of his collected works in 1967.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 4 (1929), 531–6; Ravitch, in: A. Kacyzne: Shtarke un Shvakhe (1954), introduction. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: LNYL, 8 (1981), 117–19; N. Mayzl, Forgeyer un Mitsaytler (1946), 361–71; A. Goldberg, Undzere Dramaturgn (1961), 333–54; D. Sadan, in: Avnei Miftan, 3 (1972), 188–1; Y. Rapoport, Mehus fun Dikhtung (1963), 294–300; Sh. Belis, Portretn un Problemen (1964), 68–73.

[Melech Ravitch]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.