[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 19.012

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Tue Sep 15 12:50:12 EDT 2009

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 19.012
September 11, 2009

1) Mark Rakovsky (Bob Rothstein)
2) Mark Rakovsky (Yale J. (Yekhiel Yosef) Reisner)

Date:   August 24, 2009
Subject: Mark Rakovsky

In Mendele Vol. 19.010 Eli Rosenblatt asks about the writer, translator 
and publisher Mark Rakovsky. There is an entry about him in the "Leksikon 
fun der nayer yidisher literature." It gives his birth date as 1890; as of 
the publication date (1981) he was still alive in Warsaw. The article 
(vol. 8, columns 403-4) lists a remarkable variety of literary 
translations - from Italian, Spanish, French, Polish, Russian. He is 
described as
having been ideologically "close to communism." In the 1930s he was 
imprisoned along with other leftists in Bereza Kartuska (then eastern 
Poland). He spent the war years in the Soviet Union, returning to Poland 
after the war.

"Christian Rakovsky, the Bolshevik and Soviet diplomat," also mentioned by 
E.R., is identified in the Russian Wikipedia as a Bulgarian who changed 
his birth name Krastiu Georgiev Stanchev to Khristian Georgievich 

Bob Rothstein

Date: August 24, 2009
Subject:  Mark Rakovsky

Tayere khaveyrim!

Eli Rosenblatt wanted to know about this rather fascinating translator and 
publisher.First, you have to write his name in Polish:  Marek Rakowski. 
Once you've done that it pretty easy.  The Polish edition of Wikipedia has 
a short article on him indicating that he was born in Malkinia 
(neighboring the better-known town of Treblinka) on July 5, 1890.
Rakowski was a Polish literary critic and a translator from Polish, 
Russian, English,German, French, Spanish and Italian into both Hebrew and 
Yiddish.  He was among the founders of the Jewish Literary Union.  His 
debut as a literary critic came in 1916.  Due to his political views, he 
was interned in the Bereza Kartuska camp.  He spent 1939-1956 in the USSR, 
after which he returned to Poland, where he wrote for the Yiddish 
newspaper Folksshtime (nowadays in magazine format under the title Dos 
Yidishe Vort). Ha also translated a wide array of books from various 
languages into Hebrew.

Rakowski died in Warsaw on March 31, 1982 and was buried in the Jewish 
Cemetery. His tombstone (entirely in Polish, with not a Hebrew character 
to be seen, oddly enough) reads:  "Of Blessed Memory.  MAREK RAKOWSKI, 
born 1890, died 1982. Translator of foreign languages into Yiddish.  Wife, 
son and grandchildren."  The stone -- which has fallen over -- can be seen 
at http://cemetery.jewish.org.pl/id_35530/size_maxi/photo.jpg

Zayt mir gezunt un shtark,

Yale J. (Yekhiel Yosef) Reisner
End of Mendele Vol. 19.012

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