David Bergelson

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Bergel’son, David Rafailovich


Born Aug. 12, 1884, in Okhrimovo, Lipovets District, Kiev Province; died Aug. 12, 1952. Soviet Jewish writer. Born into a well-to-do family.

Bergel’son began his literary career with the short story Around the Railroad Station (1909). His gift for refined psychological analysis was brilliantly manifested in the novel After Everything (1913), which has been translated into many Western European languages (Russian translation— Mirele, 1941). This novel presents a broad picture of the life of different strata of the Jewish bourgeoisie and shows the various fates of the Jewish intelligentsia. The novel Deviation (1920) shows people seeking their way in the complex world after the Revolution of 1905–07. In 1921, Bergel’son went abroad, lived in Berlin, and wrote for the Jewish democratic press. He returned to the USSR in 1929.

The theme of the legitimacy of the October Revolution and of the Civil War was expressed in the novel The Measure of Severity (1926–27) and in the collection of stories Stormy Days (1927). The novel On the Dnieper (1932–40; Russian translation of first edition, 1935) is a milestone in Soviet Jewish literature; it is an epic dealing with the life and struggle of the popular masses in the early 20th century that presents colorful portrayals of professional revolutionaries. The collection New Stories (1947) and others deal with the heroism of Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War. Bergel’son also wrote the historical play Prince Reubeini (1946), and the incompleted short story Aleksandr Barash (1946) about the restoration of the national economy in the 1920’s. Bergel’son’s style is characterized by lyrical emotionalism, masterful psychological detail, and strict economy of language.


Bam Dneper, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1947–48.
In Russian translation:
Mirele. Moscow, 1941.
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1947.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1957.
Na Dnepre, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1960.


Dobrushin, I. David Bergel’son. Moscow, 1947. Gurshtein, A. “Zametki o tvorchestve D. Bergel’sona.” In his book Izbr. stat’i. Moscow, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ehrenburg was a loyal Stalinist all through the terrorist purges and, although he denied it, probably played some part in the events that cost the lives of the Yiddish actor Solomon Mikhoels, the poet Itzik Fefer, writers Peretz Markish and David Bergelson, and other Jewish artists.
I consider the greatest master of Yiddish prose to be David Bergelson.
Since it was based on a theoretical misdiagnosis of the human condition, Communism needed writers [including some, like Itzik Feffer and David Bergelson, who would themselves be murdered] to maintain the fiction of its progress.
The Israeli embassy helped him to excavate the first portion of truth about the tragic destiny of the JAC, whose leading members, such as Itsik Fefer and David Bergelson, were executed in August 1952.
This was especially appreciated as a number of Jewish writers, such as David Bergelson, had now settled in Birobidzhan, wrote GEZERD.
Leading Soviet Yiddish writers David Bergelson, Itsik Fefer, and Peretz Mazrkish were among the members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee who were executed in 1952 when Gennady (Yiddish studies, New York U.
Singer scholar of the first rank, and he also worked on bringing the writings and life of David Bergelson, the Yiddish writer murdered by Stalin's regime, to the attention of the general public.
Although some of his work has been translated, David Bergelson is largely unknown.
The Yiddish prose writer David Bergelson (1884-1952) first came to the attention of discerning Yiddish readers in 1909 as a pioneer of a modernist prose style.
DAVID BERGELSON (1884-1952) was the foremost Yiddish prose stylist of his time.
The collapse of the Soviet Union has led to the release of an Everest of documents, including what has been to this day, the top secret verbatim transcripts of the trials and conviction, under Article 58-1a of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, of Peretz Markish, Solomon Lozovsky, Itsik Fefer, David Bergelson, Joseph Yuzefovich, Boris Shimeliovich, Benjamin Zuskin, Leyb Kvitko, David Hofshteyn, Emilia Teumin, Ilya Vatenberg, Leon Talmy and Khayke Vatenberg-Ostrovskaya.
But Peretz Markish, David Bergelson, and the others remained in Moscow prisons after their arrests over the winter of 1948-1949, and were executed in August 1952, without ever having the chance to speak with anyone, let alone be sent to a labor camp.