Izban, Shmuel

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IZBAN, SHMUEL (1905–1995), Yiddish novelist. Born in Gostynin, Poland, he grew up in Wloclawek, where he attended a Hebrew gymnasium. In 1921 he immigrated to Palestine with his parents. At his father's cafe, he met artists, actors, and writers, including Aḥad *Ha-Am, *Bialik, and *Rawnitzky and was stimulated to compose sketches and short stories in Hebrew for local periodicals and in Yiddish for American and Polish newspapers. Later, he contributed to several Yiddish publications printed in Palestine, which he also coedited. His first novel, Masn (1929), dealt with the Russian revolution of 1905, and his second, Kver 19141918 (1936), with Poland during World War i. He published numerous short stories about the exotic mixture of populations and life styles in Palestine, collected in Tsvishn Hundert Toyern ("Within Hundred Gates," 1942), and A Valfish in Yafo ("A Whale in Jaffa," (1980). His stories about New York, where he settled in 1937, also have a special flavor. He aroused much attention with his reports collected in Umlegale Yidn Shpaltn Yamen ("Illegal Jews Split the Sea," 1948), and with his two-volume novel about Palestine in the 1920s, Familye Karp (1949). Izban's mastery of the historical novel is displayed in Di Kenigin Izabel ("Queen Jezebel," 1959) and Yerikho ("Jericho," 1966), which vividly recreate Israel's past. Several of Izban's stories and historical novels have been translated into Hebrew, Spanish, and English.


lnyl, 1 (1956), 52–3; J. Glatstein, In Tokh Genumen (1956), 430–6; S. Bickel, Shrayber fun Mayn Dor, 2 (1965), 386–96. add. bibliography: A Liss, Di Goldene Keyt, 104 (1981), 90–4.

[Sol Liptzin]