KUSHNIROV, AARON (1890–1949), Soviet Yiddish poet, prose writer, and dramatist. Born near Kiev, Kushnirov published his first poem in 1920, while serving in the Red Army, followed by his first collection of poems, Vent ("Walls," 1921). In 1922 he settled in Moscow and joined Shtrom, the last independent Yiddish journal in the Soviet Union. He attempted to launch an alternative periodical, Ekran, as a forum of proletarian writers. In 1925 he became a leading member of the Yiddish group at the Moscow Association of Proletarian Writers. In a classical style, containing elements of imagism, Kushnirov wrote both about the joy of the Revolution and of his despair at the pogroms in Ukraine. His poem "Azkore" ("In Memoriam," 1923) attracted wide attention. His second collection of poems, Broyz ("Rage," 1928), which combines classical and expressionist forms, continues the revolutionary motif. His collection of short stories, Kinder fun Eyn Folk ("Children of One People," 1928), was hailed in Russia as a model of good Soviet prose. Kushnirov also composed the verse dramas Der Urteyl Kumt ("Judgment Arrives") and Hirsh Lekert (1929), the latter of which was successfully staged in Minsk, describing the Bundist worker's attempt to assassinate the governor of Vilna in 1902. Ironically, it was an anti-Bundist play. Geklibene Werk, a selection of his works, was published in Moscow in 1947. After serving in World War ii, where he was decorated twice for bravery, he was editor of the Moscow bimonthly Heymland (1947–1948). He died soon after the disbanding (as part of Stalinist repression of Jewish culture) of the Yiddish section at the Writers' Union.
Rejzen, Leksikon, 3 (1929), 619–23; S. Niger, Yidishe Shrayber in Sovyet-Rusland (1958), 56–61. add. bibliography: Ch. Shmeruk (ed.), A Shpigl oyf a Shteyn (1987), 309–34, 745–7; G. Estraikh, In Harness (2005), index.
[Elias Schulman /
Gennady Estraikh (2nd ed.)]