Soviet Yiddish Author & Playwright

M. Daniel

The popular Soviet Yiddish writer M. Daniel was born Daniel-Mordkhe, later Mark, Meyerovitsh on January 4, 1897 in Dvinsk (today, Daugavpils, Latvia).

Daniel made his literary debut with his short story, “דער שטראָם [The Current]” and published his first volume of stories a few years later, before the publication of his most important work יוליס [Yulis], which he later adapted into the popular play פיר טעג [Four Days].

Four Days depicts the short-lived Vilna Workers Soviet during the German occupation of Vilna leading up to the suicide of its Bundist leader Julis Szymielewicz (Shimeliovitsh) and eight of his comrades.

Although critical reception was often harsh and doctrinaire, in 1931 Daniel was the third most popular Yiddish writer in the Soviet Union, after David Bergelson and Peretz Markish. He died in Yalta on November 25, 1940.

M. Daniel’s play Four Days performed in Moscow. L to R: Daniil Finkelkraut, Benjamin Zuskin, Shloyme Mikhoels, and Eva Itskokhi.