Belov, A.

views updated


BELOV, A. (pen name of Abraham Joshua Elison ; 1911–2000), Soviet Russian writer, translator, and journalist. Belov was born in the town of Mogilev on the Dnieper. He received a traditional Jewish education before entering a Soviet public school. In 1927–28 he was a member of the underground Zionist youth organization and escaped arrest by moving to Leningrad. In 1933–36 he studied at the Leningrad Conservatory. From 1932 he contributed to Soviet periodicals and in 1934–49 he was on the staff of Leningradskaya pravda. He was fired from the newspaper during the campaign against the "cosmopolitans." After World War ii Belov coauthored several volumes of popular history that were translated into a number of languages. Together with the semitologist L. Vilsker (1919–88) he translated works from the Syrian (Aramaic) and Hebrew languages. His translations of Israeli writers are collected in Rasskazy izrailskikh pisateley ("Stories of Israeli Writers," 1965) and Iskatel' zhemchuga ("The Pearl Diver," 1966). He was the only translator of *Shalom Aleichem from Hebrew into Russian (Za granitsey i doma ("At Home and Abroad") and Shimele, both in 1959). These were the first legal translations from Hebrew in the Soviet Union since 1923. In 1964 Belov published an essay on A. *Shlonsky's translation of Pushkin's Eugeni Onegin in an anthology called Masterstvo perevoda ("The Mastery of Translation"). He also translated from Yiddish. Publication of Belov's book on the trial of Adolf *Eichmann and his book on the Dead Sea were banned by the Party censor. The latter book was later published in Jerusalem as Dno mira ("The Bottom of the World," 1978).

Belov was one of the first teachers of Hebrew in Leningrad. From 1974 he lived in Israel. He continued to work as a translator, translating works by S.Y. *Agnon, Y. *Burla, A. *Meged, and others into Russian. He also worked as a journalist and published 153 letters written to him by Shlonsky and B. *Gaponov. In 1990 his memoirs were published in a Hebrew translation as Eikh hayiti kushi ("How I Was a Blackamoor"). In 1998 he published his book on Hebrew writers, poets, journalists, scholars, and teachers in the Soviet Union under the title Rytsari ivrita v byvshem Sovetskom Soyuze ("The Knights of Hebrew in the Former Soviet Union").

[Naftali Prat (2nd ed.)]