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Elisheva Kantsedik (1922, Augustów, Poland - 2013, Israel)

Updated: May 5, 2022

Boris Sandler

Journalist and prose writer E. Kantsedik was born in the town of Augustów, not far from the city of Bialystok, into the family of the famous pediatrician and Jewish community activist Yakov Feigenberg. In the same year she was born, her parents moved to Vilna. In 1939, after graduating from the well-known People's School of Sofia Gurevich and the Jewish Real Gymnasium, Elisheva was admitted to the YIVO (Yiddish Scientific Institute) pre-graduate school. From school years on, Elisheva was fond of poetry, wrote poems herself and joined the “Yungvald” (Young Forest) poetry circle led by members of the Yung Vilne (Young Vilna) group. As a student, she took an active part in an illegal youth organization, because of which she was arrested and spent six months in prison. In 1939-1940 Kantsedik belonged to the circle of correspondents who wrote for the youth press in Yiddish and Polish, published in Vilna and Kovno, in particular for the magazine "Shtraln" (Luchi). During the World War II, Kantsedik, having fled deep into Russia to the city of Kuibyshev (now Samara), worked as a teacher, studied in absentia at the Pedagogical Institute, and contributed to local press. After the war Elisheva lived in Vilnius and worked as a journalist. Among others, she wrote stories and sketches about the life of Lithuanian Jews for the Sovetish Heymland magazine. In 1990 Kantsedik immigrated to Israel and became an employee of the weekly newspaper "Undzer Tsayt" (Our Time), where, in addition to her editorial work, she published her stories, essays, and interviews. In 1993, her Yiddish press work was honored with a special Ashkelon City Prize. In 1996, her novel “Farges-mikh-nit” (Forget-me-nots) was issued by the Tel-Aviv publishing house Leivick-Farlag. Its plot deals with pre-war Vilna; the heroes experience tumultuous events of the struggle against local nationalism and rising Nazism. In the main character’s fate, a connection with the author's biography can be traced. In 2002, Kantsedik was awarded the Borukh Shvartsman literary prize. In 2003, her second book, "Menchn, vos flantsn blumen" (People who plant flowers), appeared in Tel Aviv. Elisheva Kantsedik's works have been translated into Hebrew and Russian.

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