Dora Khaikina

Dora (Debora) Khaikina (1913–2006) was a Yiddish poet.

Dora Khaikina was born in Chernihiv in 1913 and grew up in an orphanage. In 1932, she graduated from the Kyiv College of Planning and Economy. She started to publish her works in 1931. From 1932 to 1936, Khaikina was a fellow at the Institute of Jewish Proletarian Culture of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. She worked there until the Institute was reorganized into the Cabinet of Jewish Culture. During World War II, Dora was evacuated to Kustanay (Kazakhstan). She was married to the Jewish writer Ikhil Falikman (1911–1977). In 1993, she moved to Israel. Dora Khaikina died in Haifa in 2006. 

Dora Khaikina was the author of the poetic collections Poems (לידער, 1941), Poems and Ballads (1941 ,לידע ר או ב ל דעס), and From All My Roads (פו לע מיינע וועג, 1975), collections of essays Lucia’s Love (לוציעס ליבע, 1983) and Letters to Future Generations (1988 ,בריוו צו צו קומענדיקע דורות).

The archive holds manuscripts of writings, letters, documents, and tape recordings of reading poems (more than 1,050 units of storage overall). 

Prose. Even though Dora Khaikinha is known in the history of Jewish literature primarily as a poet, her creative legacy also includes prose writings. The archive has manuscripts of:

  • the novel Humans Remain Humans: Notes of a Former Soldier (Yiddish, no date, typewritten manuscript with handwritten edits);
  • the novella He Was My Teacher (Russian, no date, typewritten);
  • an untitled article (Yiddish, no date, typewritten).

It remains unknown if all of the works present in the archive were published during the poet’s lifetime. This issue requires an additional analysis.

Poetry. In the archive, there are manuscripts of Dora Khaikina’s 129 poems translated to Russian and Ukrainian (From the Moment, When Our World was Created; In a Village, in the Magical Carpathians; I Know, the Seasons Change Every Year; I Left All the Stars in the Sky, and others; the dates are absent). Khaikina’s poems were translated by Lesia Klymenko, Mykhailo Lytvynets, Valentyna Malyshko, Stepan Lytvyn, Mykola Lukiv, Petro Zasenko, Oleksandr Sharvarok, Abram Katsnelson, Dmytro Bilous, Ivan Drach, Naum Tykhy, Hanna Chubach, Petro Osadchuk, Oles Zholdak, Dmytro Pavlychko, and others. Researchers of Pavlo Tychyna’s works can be interested in Dora Khaikina’s Yiddish translation of his poem Friend’s Funeral

These manuscripts can be useful for translators and those who study the theory and history of translation, as well as the scholars of Yiddish poetry of the second half of the twentieth century.

Correspondence. More than 900 letters, postcards, and telegrams of the period from 1948 to 1992 (in Yiddish, Russian, Ukrainian and English) have been preserved. Since a considerable majority of letters have their envelopes, it is possible to determine almost all senders and addressees. Attributing some Yiddish letters that lack envelopes is a more complicated task. 

There are 765 letters addressed to Dora Khaikina. A hundred and twelve of them are from family members: her husband Ikhil Falikman and son Dmytro. The archive also stores more than 20 letters from Khaikina’s children (Zoia, Dmytro, and Samuil) sent to one another and their father. Although all these letters are mostly related to daily life topics, they can be of great interest for biographers of the literary couple. 

A considerable part of the letters is related to Dora Khaikina’s literary activity. Among her correspondents, there were the writers Oleksandr Lizen, Riva Rubina, Paola Utevska, Khaskel Tabachnykov, Note Lurie, Ivan Drach, Dmytro Pavlychko, Oles Honchar, and Pavlo Zahrebelny; editor of the newspaper Birobidzhaner Shtern Boris Miller, editor of the magazine Sovetish Heymland Aron Verhelis, poet, translator and literary scholar Lev Ozerov, literary activist and director of Kyiv State Jewish Theatre (GOSET) Moisei Loiev, and critic and publicist Hryhorii Helfandbein. 

In the archive, there are letters from editorial offices Dora Khaikina collaborated with (for example, of the magazines Sovetish Heymland, Zhovten [October], Kyiv, and Druzhba Narodiv [Peoples’ Friendship], the newspapers Birobidzhaber Stern and Leninska Zirka [Lenin’s Star], and the publishing house Radianskyi Pysmennyk [Soviet Writer]) and greeting cards from the Ukrainian Writers Union.

The letters from Dora Khaikina’s collection can be interesting for researchers who study the literary life of Jewish intellectuals in the Soviet Union in the late 1940s – early 1990s. 

Documents and private belongings. Literary scholars, historians, and documentalists may be interested in Dora Khaikina’s original member cards of the USSR Writers Union (1938, 1953). There are concert programs, congratulatory cards, and a reproduction of Oleksandr Kerzhner’s painting Sholom-Aleichem: The Dawn (a gift from the author).

Tape recordings of Dora Khaikina’s poems (1969 and 1971) held in the archive require technical processing and re-recording to modern data carriers.