Persov, Shmuel

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PERSOV, SHMUEL (1890–1950), Soviet Yiddish writer. After having been active in the Jewish Labor *Bund during the Revolution of 1905, he emigrated from Russia to the United States at the age of 16. His literary career began in 1909 with articles in the New York radical periodical Fraye Arbeter Shtime. He returned to Russia after the 1917 Revolution filled with enthusiasm for the new regime. He worked in a Moscow cooperative and wrote articles on economics for Russian journals as well as literary sketches and short stories in Yiddish. He helped to found the Yiddish section of the Moscow Association of Proletarian Writers. His short story "Sherblekh" ("Derelicts," 1922) anticipated the method of socialist realism. His volume Kornbroyt ("Rye Bread," 1928) dealt with the conflict between adherents and saboteurs of the revolutionary regime. He revealed the psychological difficulties encountered by small Jewish tradesmen in their attempt to adjust to the new Communist reality. He wrote mainly in the genre of documentary stories, portraying various types of Soviet Jews, most notably colonists in the Crimea and Birobidzhan, builders of the Moscow metro, and heroes of World War ii. In the late 1940s, during the arrests of activists of the *Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, he was accused of writing anti-Soviet articles and was executed on November 23, 1950, almost two years before the execution (August 12, 1952) of the committee's leadership, including David Bergelson, Itsik Fefer, David Hofstein, Peretz Markish, and Leyb Kvitko.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 2 (1927), 941ff. add. bibliography: G. Kostyrchenko, Tainaia politika Stalina (2001), index.

[Sol Liptzin /

Gennady Estraikh (2nd ed.)]