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Knut, Dovid


KNUT, DOVID (pseudonym of David Mironovich Fichman 1900–1955), Russian poet. Knut was born in Kishinev into a merchant family and made his literary debut in the Kishinev press: in 1918 he edited the Journal Molodaya mysl' ("Young Thought"). In 1920 he emigrated to Paris where he participated in circles of Russian-language poets, and organized the group of poets "Palata poetov" ("Palace of Poets"). He published in emigré journals and edited Noviy dom (1925–27), the Russian-language Jewish newspaper *Razsvet, and other publications. In 1925 he published Moikh tysyacheletiy ("My Millennia") which included many poems infused with biblical motifs and allusions, and with consideration of the historical fate of the Jewish people. In subsequent collections, Vtoraya kniga stikhov ("Second Book of Verses," 1928); Parizhskie nochi ("Parisian Nights," 1932); Nasushchnaya lyubov' ("True Love," 1938) the predominant themes are love, loneliness, death, rejection of the city, the oppression of life, and unrealizability of hopes. Knut dedicated a cycle of poems to his visit to Palestine in the mid-1930s; this was called "Prarodina" ("Original Homeland," published in periodicals from 1938 to 1948 and partially included in Izbrannyestikhi ("Selected Poetry," 1949)). Initially Knut's poetry was close to that of the Acmeists. His outstanding talents as a publicist were demonstrated in his essays ("Al'bom puteshestvennika" in Zh. Russkiye Zapiski, 1938).

In August 1940 Knut joined the Jewish resistance movement (L'Armée juive) in France whose activity he described in "Contribution to the History of the Jewish Resistance in France, 1940–1944" (in French, 1947). In 1949 he moved to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv, where he continued his literary activity and began to write poems in Hebrew.

Knut's wife, ariadna (Sarah after her conversion to Judaism; 1905–44), daughter of the composer Scriabin, was a Russian poet. Her book Stikhi ("Poem S," 1924) contains a poem on the biblical Joshua. While an active participant in the Jewish Combat Organization she transported a group of Jewish refugees to Switzerland. Killed in July 1944 in Toulouse in a clash with policemen collaborating with the Nazis, she was posthumously awarded the first French "military cross" and "medal of resistance."

[Mark Kipnis /

The Shorter Jewish Encyclopaedia in Russian (2nd ed.)]

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