OLITZKY, family of three brothers, all Yiddish authors. LEIB (1897–1975) was poet, short-story writer, and translator. He taught in Yiddish schools in his native Trisk and in Warsaw until 1939. Fleeing eastward from the German invaders, he spent the war years in Soviet Russia, but returned to Poland in 1946. In 1959 he settled in Israel. His first stories and his first novel, In an Okupirt Shtetl ("In an Occupied Town," 1924) dealt with Jewish life under the German occupation of World War I and during the early years of the Polish Republic. There followed juvenilia, books of parables, short stories, and poems. During his years in Russia and in Communist Poland, he translated Pushkin and Krylov, published 10 volumes of prose and poetry, and edited the lyrics of his brother Baruch Olitzky, who had perished under the Nazis. Seven collections of Leib's lyrics were published in Israel (1960–76), as well as a volume of his and his brother Mattes' poems, Lider tsu a Bruder ("Songs to a Brother," 1964), a volume of tributes to Baruch Olitzky, some of whose lyrics were also included. Some of Leib's poems and fables have been translated into Polish, Hebrew, and English. BARUCH (1907–1941), was also a poet. Born in Poland, he became a teacher in the Yiddish schools of Volhynia. He made his literary debut in Literarishe Bleter in 1925 and subsequently published poems in various newspapers in Poland and Soviet Russia. He was strongly influenced by the poetry of the *Khalyastre. He perished during the Holocaust in Poland. His brothers Leib and Mattes edited a posthumous volume of his poetry, Mayn Blut iz Oysgemisht ("My Blood is Mixed," 1951). MATTES (1915– ) published his first book of poems, In Fremdn Land ("In Alien Land," 1948), while still in a postwar refugee camp in Germany. His second book, Freylekhe Teg ("Happy Days," 1962), the outcome of his experiences as a teacher of Jewish children in New York, consisted mainly of songs which aimed at bringing life and immediacy to Bible stories, and the joys of the Sabbath and Holy Days which he was teaching his pupils, but also included poems recalling Jewish children whom the Nazis summoned from classrooms to death-marches. His other books are Lider far Yugnt ("Songs for the Youth," 1974), Lider fun Frier un Itst ("Songs From Then and Now," 1980), which include additional poems by his brother Baruch, and Lid un Esey ("Song and Essay," 1988). He joined his brother Leib Olitzky in Lider tsu a Bruder. His Geklibene Lider ("Selected Poems," 1967) covered a wide range of scenes and experiences, from a golden childhood in Poland, through tragic war years, to a calm existence in New York.
LNYL, 1 (1956), 104–6. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Kagan, Leksikon (1986), 28–30; J. Glatstein, Prost un Poshet (1978), 278–83; I. Yanasowicz, Penemer un Nemen (1971), 34–9.
[Sol Liptzin /
Tamar Lewinsky (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.