Koenigsberg, David

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KOENIGSBERG, DAVID (1889/1891? –1942?), Yiddish poet. One of the earliest Yiddish sonneteers, Koenigsberg was born in Busk (Galicia). His first book was Lider ("Poems," 1912), followed by his sonnets, Soneten (1913), and Hundert Soneten ("One Hundred Sonnets," 1921), which abound in romantic imagery of damsels, knights, and nightingales. While translating Heine into Yiddish, he was captivated by that poet's sentimental Weltschmerz; but he lost a sense of immediacy and intimacy by forcing his feelings into the artificial form of sonnets. He was at his best when he wrote of Jewish nationalism. He felt that the Balfour Declaration would enable Jews to escape their age-old woe by returning to Zion. He spoke of himself as a bridge over which others could cross into the Promised Land. When the Russians marched into Lvov (Lemberg) in 1939, he was put at the head of the Yiddish Authors' Society, and when the Nazis ousted the Russians, he was taken to the Yanove extermination camp and killed.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 3 (1929), 714–17; M. Ravitch, Mayn Leksikon (1945), 236–38; M. Neugroeschel, Fun Noenten Over (1955), 305–12; S. Liptzin, Maturing of Yiddish Literature (1970), 134–36. add. bibliography: LNYL, 8 (1981), 232–33; S. Liptzin, A History of Yiddish Literature (1972), 238–41; Y. Papernikov, Heymishe un Noente (1958), 256–57.

[Sol Liptzin]

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