[Marxism] searching through my library

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 7 16:16:38 MST 2012

This morning I came across  a magazine Southern Stories: Poems and
Paintings (circa .  1943).  It is certainly a Communist Partyy publication
probably from Melbourne.  It contains illustrations by the Jewish artist  J
Bergner, Stories by P. Goldhar and Hertz Bergner and a poem by Yosself
Birstein. J. Bergner I knew off, because he was very influential in the
Scoialist Realist Movement in Australia.  The others I had not hear off.
But the internet is wonderful and I found this about Birstein

"Yossel Birstein was 16 years old when he arrived in Melbourne in 1936. He
was only 19 when the *Oystralishe Yidishe Nayes *(Australian Jewish News)
first published his poetry, which culminated in the volume *Unter Fremde
Himlen *(Under Foreign Skies), published in 1949.

Birstein's lyrical pre-war verses depict the alienation of a young migrant,
as well as his disappointment at the demise of Yiddish in his generation.
His later verses respond to the deaths of his parents, siblings and friends
in Poland at the hands of the Nazis. The raw pain of these fine poems was
too much for the critics of his day since everyone was responding to their
own losses. Now it is time for the quality of Birstein's work to be
honoured and enjoyed.

Despite his youth, at war's end, Birstein played an important role in
Yiddish Melbourne, as the first paid secretary of the Kadimah National
Library. Among other achievements, he had Pincha Goldhar's collected
stories published, following Goldhar's untimely death."

The collection has this poem by Birstein subtiteld (Freely translated from
the Yiddish)

I see it written in their hands and eyes,

Their humiliation.

My people are oppressed with toil and desolation

And I am of them.

Like them I am outcast and alone:

For I am a partner in their griefs

And one with them in all thier tears.

I have willing shouldeers.  The yoke

they carry on their shoulders

Joins me in their harness.

If I am sad, then it is well,

for in the abyss of thier sorrow

I have my small place.

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