The Yiddish Poet and Author
Hirshel Bloshtein
Monty Starr


Hirshel Bloshtein 1895-1978

My mother's uncle was the well published Yiddish author Hirshel
Bloshtein. Hirshel lived in Czernowitz from 1932 until his
death in 1978.

Hirshel was born in Kedainiai, Lithuania to Dovid Bloshtein, a
poor tailor and his wife Reizel. His father died when he was a
young boy and he helped his mother in her bakery in order to
eke out a living.

Hirshel never attended school but the local Rabbi's son taught him
Russian and he studied mathematics for himself. At the age of
seventeen he published a translation of a poem from Russian
to Yiddish, which was widely circulated locally, and was admired
for its rhythm and expression.

He obtained a post as a private teacher in the nearby town of
Yanova but was expelled in 1915 with the rest of the Jews in
Lithuania by the Russians who feared they were German spies.

Bloshtein  remained in the Ukraine, teaching at a school in Mikop
in the Caucasus until 1919 when  he returned to Kedainiai. There
he became one of the editors of the Yiddish newspaper, and continued
writing and publishing poems and stories mainly in Yiddish and

He married in 1922 and had two daughters, but times were very hard
and in 1925 he emigrated with his family to Buenos Aries where he
had been offered a post as headmaster of a Jewish school.

In 1932, together with several other Jewish teachers, he was
expelled from Argentina for communist activities and his family
(in Argentina) never heard from him again.

Hirshel settled in Czernowitz where his literary output was prodigious.
Here he became a regular contributor to the Sovyetishe Heimland newspaper
where he was able to express his communist commitment.

He remarried in Czernowitz, and had a daughter, Milda, who now lives in
Ashdod with her son Alex.  In 1995, passing through Romania on her
way to Israel, Milda's suitcase containing all her father's manuscripts was
stolen by thieves and so all the original works were lost.

By chance I was made aware of an advert in an Israeli Russian
newspaper placed by a neighbour of the family in Argentina who
now lives in Jerusalem, so I have been able to contact the two
daughters and two grandsons. Although the grandsons were
interested the daughters  wanted no contact.

In the picture below- three members of the Kovno Cultural Club
described as The Belletriste: The Poet Bloshtein (centre) and the
Shochet, my father (right) in 1913.