Judith Tsik Was Born July 7 in Gargždai

Judith Tsik Was Born July 7 in Gargždai

The Yiddish poetess Judith Tsik, also known as Yehudis and Yudis and the pen-name Judika, was born July 7, 1898, in Gargždai, Lithuania.

Encyclopaedia Judaica:


YUDIKA (Yudis (Judith ) Tsik; 1898–1988), poetess. She was born in Gorzhd (Gargždai), Lithuania. Poverty forced her family to send Tsik to live with an aunt in Eastern Prussia, then annexed to Germany.

At the outbreak of World War i, at the age of 16, she was imprisoned in a German labor camp as an enemy alien. Released a year later, she took refuge in Sweden, then lived in various cities throughout Lithuania, Russia, and the Ukraine, supporting herself as a teacher in girls’ schools and workers’ dormitories. In 1917, while living in Yekaterinoslav (Dniepropetrovsk), Ukraine, she became acquainted with the poet Moishe Teitsh, and under his influence began writing in Yiddish using the pen name Yudika.

She attained considerable success, publishing in periodicals and anthologies; these early poems were collected in Naye Yugnt [New Youth, 1923] and Mentsh un Tsayt [Person and Time, 1926]. She married and in 1926 had a son. In 1929 she immigrated to Toronto, Canada, with her son but without her husband, and there became an important member of the proletarian school of Yiddish writers, a purely Canadian movement of the 1930s and 1940s.

While working in factories to support herself and her son, her poetry was published in journals in Canada and the U.S. Her books of this era are Vandervegn [Migrant Roads, 1934], Shpliters [Splinters, 1943], and Tsar un Freyd [Trouble and Joy, 1949]. Her political radicalism is evident in her poetry, much of which, however, is less polemic than might be expected. Her work includes lyric and narrative forms and is concerned with the upheavals facing Jewish life in the old world as well as the new.

She passed away in New England in 1988.

Encyclopaedia Judaica entry here.