Shekhtman, Elye

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SHEKHTMAN, ELYE (Eli Shechtman ; 1908–1996), Yiddish writer. Born in Vaskovichi (Polesie), he had a traditional education, including a year in the Zhitomir yeshivah (1921), studied literature at the Jewish Pedagogical Institute in Odessa (1929–33), and then lived in Kharkov (1933–36) and Kiev (1936–41) until his service as an officer in the Red Army in World War ii, during which he was wounded in combat. He was subsequently arrested, imprisoned, and released after Stalin's death. Thereafter he lived in Kiev until his immigration to Israel in 1972. His first stories appeared in 1928. His major work was his epic novel depicting Jewish life in Russia from the early 20th century into the 1970s, Erev ("On the Eve"), published first in a censored version (Moscow, 1965), then later in a complete version (Tel Aviv, vols. 1–4, 1974; vols. 5–6, 1979; vol. 7, 1983). Among his other books are Oyfn Sheydveg ("At the Crossroads," 1930; stories about post-revolutionary life), Farakerte Mezhes ("Plowed-under Borderlands," 1932–36; novel), Polyeser Velder ("Polesian Forests," 1940; stories), Baym Shkie-Aker ("At the Sunset-Field," 1974); Ringen oyf der Neshome ("Links on the Soul," 4 vols. 1981–88), and Tristia ("Sadness," 1996). He was the recipient of the Itsik Manger Prize, the Chaim Zhitlowsky Prize, the Fernando Jeno Award (Mexico), and the Congress for Jewish Culture Award. His works have been translated into French, English, and Hebrew.


I.Y. Druker, in: Shtern (Minsk), 7–8 (1937) 116–31; G. Mayzel, in: Di Goldene Keyt, 55 (1966), 243–8; Sh. Bickel, Shraber fun Mayn Dor, 3 (1970), 287–94; D. Sfard, in: Bay Zikh, 5 (1975), 124–7; lnyl, 8 (1981), 767–9; Sh. Luria, in: Di Goldene Keyt, 125 (1988), 25–37; Yidishe Kultur, 58:1–2 (1996), 3–48 (Shechtman issue).

[Jerold C. Frakes (2nd ed.)]