About the anthologist, Binem Heller

Binem Heller is the anthologist who published this collection of poems in 1951, through the publisher “Yidisz-Buch” in Warsaw.

Heller was born in 1908 in Warsaw, and became a glove worker at the age of fourteen.

Binem Heller

Writing in Yiddish, he emerged early as a leader of Poland’s proletarian poets, equivalent to the Proletpen. His first collection, “Through the Bars”, was published in Łódź in 1930 and was confiscated by the Polish authorities.

From 1937 to 1939, he lived in Belgium and Paris. He returned to Warsaw, then fled to Bialystok before the Nazi German armies. After the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1943, he took shelter in Alma-Ata, where he wrote the poems “Inheritance” and “In Shadow”. In 1947, he returned to Poland, hoping to participate in a revival of its Jewish cultural life. Heller helped write the script for the 1946 film Unzere kinder, one of the first films to address the Holocaust. In Poland, Heller was a member of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland and the Jewish Writers’ Union. “Spring in Poland” appeared in 1950, this collection in 1951, and “Poems, 1932-1939”, in 1956.

He then moved to Paris and Brussels, where his poem of political renunciation, “Alas, how they shattered my life”, caused a storm of controversy. A year later, he made Israel his home. His many later works include New poems (1964) and They shall arise (1984).

Heller wrote the poem “My sister Khaye”, which was later put to music and recorded by Israeli artist Chava Albershtein.

Binem Heller died in Israel in 1998.

Congress of Jewish Culture