Perle, Joshua

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PERLE, JOSHUA (Yehoshua ; 1888–1943), Yiddish novelist. Born in Radom, Poland, Perle spent most of his life in Warsaw. Initially influenced by Sholem *Asch's romantic literary style, Perle later, under the influence of Maxim Gorky, adopted a grittier, more naturalistic mode of writing. His outstanding achievement is the autobiographical novel Yidn funa Gants Yor ("Ordinary Jews," 1935), based on his own impoverished childhood and complicated family. Well received by the critics and widely read, it garnered several prestigious prizes. Perle was prolific, writing novels, short stories, literary sketches, criticism, and articles that appeared in Warsaw Yiddish publications and literary journals. He wrote naturalistic descriptions of the petit bourgeois, big city types, office workers, officials, and the impoverished masses. He was also a friend and mentor to younger Yiddish writers, and his home on Orla Street became a literary salon. Perle continued writing and was active in literary circles into World War ii. On Simḥat Torah, October 21, 1943, he was sent to Birkenau and vanished without a trace. His son also perished, his wife having committed suicide before the war. Perle's stories and articles from the Warsaw Ghetto years were found after the war in the hidden archives of Emanuel *Ringelblum and several were later published.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 936–9; M. Ravitch, Mayn Leksikon (1945), 168–70; Finkelstein, intro. in: J. Perle, Yidn funa Gants Yor (1951).

[S. Kumove (2nd ed.)]