Heller, Bunim

views updated


HELLER, BUNIM (1908–1998), Yiddish poet. Born in Warsaw to a ḥasidic family, Heller became a devoted communist and was forced to flee Poland for Paris in 1937 because of his political activities, returning to Warsaw in 1939. After the Blitzkrieg, Heller fled to Bialystok, where he lived for two years before escaping to the interior of Russia, living for the balance of the war in Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan, before moving to Moscow for a brief period. In 1947, Heller returned to Poland, where he lived in Lodz and Warsaw and became active in several Yiddish literary organizations. In 1956, he left Poland for Brussels and, in 1957, settled in Tel Aviv where he lived the remainder of his life. A life-long committed communist, Heller contributed his poems, essays, and translations to the radical Yiddish press in France, Poland, America, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Israel. Heller is perhaps best known for his poems of his hometown Jewish community, including "In Varshaver Geto Iz Khoydesh Nisn" ("It Is the Month of Nissan in the Warsaw Ghetto," 1948).


lnyl, 3 (1960), 185ff; M. Ravitch, Mayn Leksikon, 3 (1958), 165–8; M. Gross-Zimmerman, Intimer Videranand (1964), 281–6. add. bibliography: D. Sfard, Shrayber un Bikher (1949), 65–75.

[Josef Schawinski /

Marc Miller (2nd ed.)]