Iosif Torchinsky was born in 1918 in Skvyra. He moved to Kyiv with his older sister in 1934. His father passed away when he was one year old. His mother owned a shop and traded in goods. After her shop was closed down, she worked at the kolkhoz "Der Poyer" as a cook. He attended a Yiddish school for seven years. After graduation, he studied at a Ukrainian commercial school. He joined the Red Army in 1938 and was sent to Odesa to study at a military school.


Kyiv, Ukraine

Iosif Torchinsky was born in Skvyra, Ukraine, in 1918. He studied in a Soviet Yiddish school from 1926 until 1933 and moved to Kyiv, Ukraine, in 1934. In March, 1941, he got married, but three months later he was sent to war. The poem in this clip is dedicated to his wife, Maryam, and tells the story of their relationship. Iosif wrote it in the 1980s.

At the end of the clip, the camera zooms in on the handwritten manuscript, showcasing Torchinsky's beautiful handwriting. Torchinsky's education in a Soviet Yiddish school is reflected in his Soviet Yiddish orthography, seen in such words as חודש) כױדעש, month) and מלחמה) מילכאָמע, war). Maryam

In the town of Pereyaslav-Khmel’nyts’kyy, On the shores of the Dnieper, Where its waves rage, My Maryam was born.

The first month of spring, A joyous thing befell me, I fell in love with Maryam, And happiness was in my life.

To me, a young military man, A young girl got married. In her eyes there was no unrest, But our life did not go smoothly.

We lived together for three months, Until with pain we had to part -- My wife went to the hinterland, And I went to war.

I was wounded in battle, Maryam found out about it, She did not forget me, I knew that well.

On this day, your birthday, I wish you, my dear, Health, luck, and peace, And to be with me for many long years.