|ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE > VOLUME 5 > KHAYIM YANKL BEZHUSTOVSKI|
Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre
BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE INVOLVED IN THE Yiddish THEATRE;
aS FEATURED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"
VOLUME 5: THE KDOYSHIM (MARTYRS) EDITION, 1967, Mexico City
His play, ‘She Plays On,' is from a later period in his creation. He also published some one-act plays to present to the drama critics.
His life was cut off by the German murderers. More than a little blame, though not a direct one, also goes to the “true believers” of the Bialystok Literary Union at the beginning of 1940 , where he, together with Moshe Broderzon, was thrown out of the “Yevsektsia” (Official Soviet Jewish Cultural Organization), which spread the word that he and Broderzon were enemies of the working classes and were editors of the Yiddish-bourgeois newspaper, the leftist-Zionist Po’ale Zion, and that he was, for a long time, active in the Po’ale Zion. He would not have distanced himself from the Soviets, if it had not been for this denunciation made against him. He had sensed that they planned to completely obliterate him.
In a note from 31 July 1941, Herman Kruk’s “Diary of the Vilna Ghetto,” states: “Before daybreak Lithuanians came to the residence of Khayim-Yankl Bezhustovski, the refugee from Lodz (the former editor of the “Lodzer folksblat”)… (27Stefanska), supposedly looking for a particular Communist. Since they didn’t find the Communist, while there they picked up the aforementioned B. (The editor of the daily mentions that, according to the “Lexicon of New Yiddish Literature,” “B. was sent to Ponar in November 1941. But from Kruk’s notes it is clear that this happened a few months earlier.”)
About this last and tragic episode of the death of Bezhustovski and his family, Shmerke Kaczerginski writes, in his book “Khurbn Vilne” (Destruction of Vilna), that “he fled from occupied Lodz and remained in Vilna.” At first when it was a ghetto, he was able to work and had gotten a pass, [which was] stamped as a “craftsman,” which served initially as a protective pass, that he was not to be sent to Ponar… On a day in November 1941 they rounded up everyone with that type of pass and took them to the city gate to check the authenticity of their passes. However, the Germans imprisoned all of them, and from there sent them to Ponar. With Bezhustovski was his son Erik. Remaining in the ghetto was Bezhustovski’s wife Felya, who had tried to survive. In the final liquidation of the ghetto, when people were sent to the left or right (23, 24 Sept 1943), she was sent to the left.”
Home | Site Map | Exhibitions | About the Museum | Education | Contact Us | Links
Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 43723.
Translation courtesy of Susan Ganc.
Copyright © Museum of Family History. All rights reserved.