Der Nister

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Der Nister


(pen name of Pinkhos Mendelevich Kaganovich). Born Oct. 20 (Nov. 1), 1884; died June 4, 1950. Soviet Jewish writer.

Born in Berdichev, Der Nister was educated in a heder. In 1907 he published a book of poems in prose, Thoughts and Motifs. Der Nister’s prerevolutionary verse and prose were modernistic in form, but in content his works were democratic.

From 1922 to 1925, Der Nister lived in Berlin and published his work in Soviet Yiddish journals. Published in 1929, the short-story anthologies Among My Possessions and Imagination reveal a symbolist perception of revolutionary reality. Three Capitals, a book of essays, marked Der Nister’s transition from symbolism to realism. The sociohistorical novel The Mashber Family (parts 1–2, 1939–43) depicts the life of Jews in Russia during the last third of the 19th century. Der Nister’s realist works include the unfinished novel 1905 (published 1964).


Gurshtein, A. Izbrannye stat’i. Moscow, 1959.
L’vovskii, la. “In togteglekhn lebn.” Sovetish geimland, 1964, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The novel includes, predictably, an introduction to the Malakhovka orphanage (also a setting in Horn's The World to Come) where Yiddish greats like poet and novelist Peretz Markish, painter Marc Chagall and philosopher Der Nister taught.
Bergelson and his friend Der Nister (the pen name of Pinchas Kahanovitsh, 1884-1950) joined Milgroym's founder, the scholar Mark Wischnitzer (1882-1955), as its literary editors.
Alarmed by the violence with which they were assailed for having joined what were denounced as "the forces of reaction," unable to reconcile their personal sense of personal displacement with the Wischnitzers' conservative insistence on Jewish national unity, and unwilling to sever ties with colleagues in Soviet Yiddish centers, both Bergelson and Der Nister resigned from Milgroym's editorial board after the appearance of its first issue, publishing a joint one-sentence letter in the third issue of Shtrom implying their desire to show solidarity with their Soviet co-workers.
Among these radicals were Meylekh Ravitsh (1893-1976) and the poet Peretz Markish (1895-1952) who, in the first issue of his ultra-radical journal Khaliastre (Gang) in Warsaw, derided both Bergelson and Der Nister for betraying the straggle for Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union, which they regarded as its true motherland.
Then Bechtel complements this study of Yiddish among German-speaking Jews with a careful examination of the Yiddish writers living in Germany: the emigre authors in Berlin after World War I, such as Kvitko, Kulbak, Bergelson and Der Nister, many of whom later settled and were liquidated in the Soviet Union.
The multi-volume panorama, historical setting, and generational structure of Rosenfarb's novel will be familiar to readers of postwar Yiddish fiction, and reminiscent of such major achievements as Der Nister's The Family Mashber 1939-48 in Yiddish, 1987 in English), I.
By using pseudonyms, Singer was following a long tradition in Yiddish literature; many, if not most, of the greatest names in Yiddish letters are pseudonyms: Sholem Aleichem, Mendele Mokher Seforim, Der Nister, H.
The Kultur-lige had also yielded the first post-revolutionary harvest of Yiddish literary talents, such as David Hofshtein, Perets Markish, and Leib Kvitko, who--together with a few more experienced writers, most notably David Bergelson, Der Nister, and Lipe Reznik--became referred to as the Kiev group of Yiddish writers.
The appearance of Bialik as a precursor of Bergelson and Der Nister is particularly striking, because the same Fefer castigated him in 1934, during the First Congress of Soviet Writers, for condemning Bolshevism as a curse of Jews and for praising Fascism as their salvation.
DER NISTER, is the pen name of Pinkhes-Pinye Kahanovitsh, famed Yiddish author of Symbolist fiction who died in 1950 in the Stalinist anti-Yiddish culture pogrom in the Soviet Union.
Pinkhes-Pinye Kahanovitsh (1884-1950), modern Yiddish literature's leading symbolist, is best known under his pen name, Der Nister (The Concealed One).
By avoiding realism and reviving instead the language of Jewish mysticism in a contemporary and secular context, however, Der Nister situated himself on the fringes of mainstream Yiddish letters, since his politically engage critics, though admiring his mastery of language, neither understood nor respected his eclectic subject matter.