Broderzon, Moyshe

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BRODERZON, MOYSHE (1890–1956), Yiddish poet and theater director. A descendant of a family of wealthy merchants who were permitted to reside in Moscow, Broderzon received his early education in that city and at a Lodz business school. He experienced the revolution in Moscow and then lived in Lodz (1918–38). Active as a journalist, poet, and writer of short plays, he founded little theaters in Lodz: Had Gadya (the first Yiddish marionette theater), Ararat, and Shor ha-Bor. He was head of the literary group *Yung-Yidish and discovered many new Jewish talents for the stage. He wrote songs for children, which were frequently reprinted and set to music, and also libretti for operas, including Bas-Sheve ("Bathsheba," 1924). His volume Yud: Lid in Fuftsik Kapitlen ("Yod: Poem in 50 Chapters," 1939) comprises 50 poems of 16 lines each, laden with premonitions of the catastrophe looming over Polish Jewry. Broderzon returned to his native Moscow in 1939. At the time of Stalin's persecutions of Yiddish writers he was imprisoned in a Siberian slave labor camp (1948–55). Repatriated to Poland on his liberation, he was enthusiastically acclaimed by the surviving Jews there, but collapsed and died a few weeks later while visiting Warsaw. Broderzon was a consummate stylistic master of Yiddish and composer of strikingly original Yiddish rhymes. His poems combine Jewish folklore with European expressionism. His wife, the actress Sheyne Miriam Broderzon, described their years of suffering (1939–56) in Mayn Laydnsveg mit Moyshe Broderzon ("My Tragic Road with Moshe Broderzon," 1960). His Oysgeklibene Shriftn ("Selected Works," 1959) and Dos Letste Lid ("The Last Poem," 1974) appeared posthumously.


M. Ravitch, Mayn Leksikon, 1 (1945), 49–51; lnyl, 1 (1956), 429–32. add. bibliography: Z. Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun Yidishn Teater, 1 (1931), 215–6; M. Khalmish, in: Yerusholaymer Almanakh, 4 (1975), 210–15; N. Mayzl, in: Yidishe Kultur 38:6 (1976), 6–13; B. Kagan, Leksikon fun Yidish-Shraybers (1986), 115; G.G. Branover, Rossiĭskaia evreĭskaia entsiklopediia, 1 (1994), 170; H. Zhezhinski, in: Lebns-Fragn, 531–2 (1996), 12–13; G. Rozier, Moyshe Broderzon: Un Écrivain yiddish d'avant-garde (1999).

[Melech Ravitch /

Jerold C. Frakes (2nd ed.)]