Daniel (Donyel), M.

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DANIEL (Donyel), M.

DANIEL (Donyel), M. (pseudonym of Mark or Mordechai Meyerovich ; 1900–1940), Soviet Yiddish fiction writer and dramatist; father of the Soviet-Russian writer Yuli *Daniel. Born in Latvia of poor parents, he became a laborer and later a tutor, after receiving a traditional Jewish education. During World War i Daniel was displaced to the Urals, which provided material for his first published work, a novella, In a Tsayt Aza ("In Such a Time," 1924). In 1921 Daniel moved to Moscow where he completed his education at the Yiddish department at the Second Moscow State University. His early stories, which are his best work, suggest the influence of Boris Pilnyak. Prominent among the civil war themes of the stories in Oyfn Shvel ("At the Threshold," 1928) is that of the role of the artist in the revolution. Daniel is best known for his novel Yulis (1930), whence the name of his son, and its dramatized version Fir Teg ("Four Days"), a "heroic tragedy" which played for over three years in the Yiddish state theaters of the Soviet Union. Fir Teg is a romantic treatment of the defeat and death of Yulis Shimeliovitsh and other Bolshevik leaders of the Vilna Workers' Council; they committed suicide while surrounded by Polish legionnaires who seized Vilna in 1919. Though the Bolsheviks are idealized, some Soviet critics were not pleased, claiming that revolution admits no tragedy, only heroism. Daniel died in Yalta of a protracted illness.


Ch. Shmeruk et al. (eds.), Pirsumim Yehudiyim bi-Verit ha-Mo'aẓot (1961); A. Pomerantz, Di Sovetishe Harugei Malkhus (1962), 134–6, 464–5; lnyl, 2 (1958), 450–1.

[Leonard Prager]