About Kalman Lis

Kalman Lis (1903-1942) was born in Kovel, Volhynia, in modern day Ukraine, to a family with rural roots. Lis studied in a traditional kheder, then in a Polish gymnazie, and in Vilnius and Warsaw high schools. He specialized in the care of Special Needs Children. From 1937 until his death, he was in charge of the Tsentos Institution for Defective Children in Otwock, near Warsaw. He began publishing in his school years. He moved to Warsaw in 1927. His first book in 1930 in Warsaw was Woliner Shliakhn, (“Roads of Volhinia”). His book, Ershte Internatsionale Antologie fun Yiddishe Lider, (“First International Anthology of Yiddish Modern Yiddish Poetry”) was to have been published in Warsaw, 1939 but never came out because of outbreak of WWII. In 1939 he won the I.L. Peretz Award for Young Poets from the Yiddish Pen Center in Warsaw. He was wounded in his feet during the bombing of his Childrens Institution on September 1, 1939. He recovered in a Warsaw hospital, then returned to the Otwock Childrens Institution. When it was attacked by Germans in 1942, he and some of the children ran away. His hiding place was found and he was shot and killed together with the children.

You can find more poetry by Kalman Lis on our companion site, Poetry in Hell.