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Simkha-Bunim Shayevitsh

SHAYEVITSH, SIMKHA-BUNIM (1907–1944), Yiddish poet and novelist. Born in 1907 in Lenczyce, Poland and interned from 1940 in the Lodz ghetto, Shayevitsh responded to the mass deportations in late 1941 with "Lekh-Lekho" ("Go"), a long poem evoking the traditional Jewish past in contrast with the tragic historical present. A second poem on expulsion followed in "Friling 1942" ("Spring 1942"), contrasting the promise of spring's arrival with the horrors of ghetto life. In the ghetto he met Chava Rosenfarb, became her mentor, and read more of his poetry to her, all of which has been lost. On August 28, 1944, Shayevitsh was deported to Auschwitz, where he was among the last sent to the gas chamber. The two poems (found in the ghetto's ruins) and two letters were published by the Jewish Historical Commission (1946). His subsequent influence on Yiddish writers was considerable, despite the meagerness of his surviving output.


Kh. L. Fuchs. Lodzsh shel Mayle: dos Yidishe Gaystige un Derhoybene Lodzsh (1972); B. Mark, Di Umgekumene Shrayber fun di Getos un Lagern un Zeyere Verk (1954); C. Rosenfarb, in: Di Goldene Keyt, 81 (1973), 127–41; D. Roskies, Against the Apocalypse (1984).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.