Moishe Goldshtein was born in 1901 in Łosice, near Siedlce, Poland. At the age of 16, he came to Warsaw, where he worked at a knitting factory and made his first attempts in literature. In 1926 he emigrated to Argentine, where he worked as a weaver and published short stories in the Yiddish press. In 1931, Goldshtein joined a group of Argentinian Jews who settled in Birobidzhan, in the Soviet Union. There he lived on the Yikor kolkhoz (collective farm), also known as "The New Socialist Town (Sotsshtetl ) of Yikor" (now Kamyshovka, Jewish Autonomous Region). He cut down trees, cleared land, and tried his hand at farming. In 1932, the kolkhoz council sent him to study in Moscow. There he enrolled in a pedagogical institute. In 1934 he published his novel Birobidzhaner afn Amur ("The Birobidzhanians on the Banks of the Amur River"), and in 1937 – Birobidzhaner dertseylungen ("Birobidzhan Stories").
With the beginning of the Soviet-German was in June 1941, Goldshtein was drafted into the Red Army as a military translator 2nd rank. While serving on the frontlines, he wrote brief articles and short stories for the newspaper Eynikayt. His post as a translator did not mean that he remained out of combat. On occasion Goldshtein took part in military operations. On August 11, 1943, while fighting in the area of Smolensk, western Russia, Senior Lieutenant Goldshtein was mortally wounded. He died in a military hospital.
The letters that Goldshtein wrote to his wife Berta Kostrinskaia
Several days before his death on August 6, 1943, Goldshtein wrote to his wife:
"Now, it is the middle of the day. I am lying in a cabin, which is located in a magnificent dry forest. The sun is radiating warmth. If the fascist planes do not appear from time to time and if our anti-aircraft and other artillery crews do not begin firing mightily, it will be wonderful…
… In one of your letters, you write that I should come home for a short while, at least. No, my darling, now it is not possible. Now we have to wait until our "crop" will be harvested. That may take some time… Your generous and positive evaluation of my short story filled me with much joy. But perhaps you are exaggerating? I don't know what the official critics would say. But, for my part, I think that the story is not written badly. I am looking for new themes and, because of that, I am writing less."
Two days before he was mortally wound, he wrote:
"Dear Berta! I am no longer 'in debt' to you. In other words, I have replied to all of your letters. Still my conscience cannot tolerate the fact that I don’t write to you [more often]. Heavy battles are going on. I remain in places where I can feel the pulse of war in full force. Today is a wonderful, sunny morning. I am sitting in a trench and planes are flying overhead. Shells are exploding, bullets are whistling by, and it is remarkable that there is nothing terrible in this. People rejoice in our successes. I want only one thing: to survive to the day when not a single armed 'Fritz' remains on our soil. This will come to pass.
Don't worry about me. I am well."
From: GARF 8114-1-105, pp. 68-72, copy YVA JM/26116