Esther Kreitman

Esther Kreitman (Hinde Ester Singer Kreytman, 31 March 1891 – 13 June 1954) was a Yiddish-language writer, born in Biłgoraj, Poland, to a Jewish family.

For the first three years of her life, because her parents had wished for a boy, Esther was sent to live with a wet nurse, and endured abuse and ill treatment. When she returned to her family, after the birth of her younger brother Israel Joshua, Esther was suffering from damaged eyes and a fear of enclosed spaces.

Kreitman was brought up with little expectation that a woman could be anything other than a good wife. Despite her strong desire to study, her family refused to provide her with formal education, and she was relegated to menial household duties. Nevertheless, Esther was self-taught, and managed to learn several languages.

In 1912, she agreed to an arranged marriage, and went to live with her husband, a diamond cutter, in Antwerp, Belgium. The outbreak of World War I forced the family to flee to London, where Kreitman lived for the rest of her life.

Struggling to support herself, she translated classic English works into Yiddish to earn extra money, maintained the London literary journal Loshn un Lebn, and was active in socialist circles. Overshadowed by her famous brothers Isaac Bashevis Singer (who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978) and Israel Joshua Singer, Esther struggled all her life with depression.

She died in 1954 in London.



  • Deborah (Der Sheydim-Tants, Warsaw: Brzoza, 1936), trans. by Maurice Carr. London: W. and G. Foyle, 1946. Reprint: London, Virago, 1983. Reprint: London, David Paul, 2004. Reprinted as: The Dance of the Demons, New York, Feminist Press, 2009;
  • Diamonds (Brilyantn, 1944), translated by Heather Valencia. London: David Paul, 2010;
  • Blitz and Other Stories (Yikhes , 1949), translated by Dorothee van Tendeloo. London: David Paul, 2004;
  • “The New World” (Di Naye Velt), trans. by Joshua A. Fogel. Yale Review 73 (Summer 1984): 525–532;
  • “The New World” (Di Naye Velt), trans. by Barbara Harshav. Lilith 16, no. 2 (Spring 1991): 10–12. Reprinted in Found Treasures: Stories by Yiddish Women Writers. Edited by Frieda Forman, Ethel Raicus, Sarah Silberstein Swartz and Margie Wolfe. Introduction by Irena Klepfisz. Toronto: 1994;
  • “The Relic” (Atlasene Kapote), trans. by Morris Kreitman [Maurice Carr]. In Jewish Short Stories of Today. Edited by Morris Kreitman. London: 1938;
  • “The Satin Coat” (Atlasene Kapote), trans. by Ellen Cassedy. In Beautiful as the Moon, Radiant as the Stars, edited by Sandra Bark. New York: 2003.


  • Der Sheydim Tants. Warsaw: 1936;
  • Brilyantn. London: 1944;
  • Yikhes. London: 1949;
  • Uncollected stories appear in Loshn un Lebn. London: 1946–1955.

Other Languages

  • La Danse des Demons (French translation of Der Sheydim Tants), trans. by Carole Ksiazenicer and Louisette Kahane-Dajezer. Paris:1988;
  • Deborah: Narren Tanzen im Ghetto (German translation of Der Sheydim Tants), trans. By Abraham Teuter. Frankfurt: 1985;
  • “El Nuevo Mundo” (Spanish translation of Di Naye Velt), trans. by Alicia Ramos Gonzales and J. Abad. Raices 44 (otoño 2000): 37–39.


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