Altman was born into a family of artisans. He attended the Jewish elementary school in his home town, then to 1908 the high school in Kamjanez - Podilskyj.
In 1914 he published his first poems in the Odessa Yiddish newspaper "our lebn ". Since then he has published much in Yiddish press organs, especially as narrator and playwright. After he had lived in his youth in Romania, France and Brazil, he settled in the early 1930s in Bucharest. There he edited the Yiddish magazine " woch ". In the growing Romanian anti-Semitism, he moved in 1940 after Ion Antonescu seized power to Chisinau in Moldova. There he became a Soviet citizen and member of the Soviet Writers' Union.
At the beginning of World War II, he fled with his family to the depth of the Soviet Union. 1943/44, he was living in Moscow. 1944 he was appointed as a dramaturge at the State Theatre in Czernowitz Yiddish Goldblatt. As a fellow writer him soon as a Jewish nationalist, Trotskyists and cosmopolitans ( " a Westerner !") Had denounced, " you unleashed against him an unprecedented political propaganda " ( Rykhlo, Liubkivskyj ). On April 16, 1949 he was arrested in broad daylight on a street in Chernivtsi NKVD men and taken to a prison in Chisinau. After a short investigation with preconceived charges was sentenced to nearly 60 -year-old man to ten years, " Siberia". In Gulag Taischet, Irkutsk Oblast, he lived under the most difficult conditions to 1955 After his complete political and legal rehabilitation, he was able to return to Czernowitz -. A broken man.
When he died, saw the Soviet regime in him a crass pronounced " internationalists " and had him buried in the old Christian cemetery of Chernivtsi. We went over his last wish, in the Jewish Cemetery ( Chernivtsi ) to be buried next to his friend Eliezer stone Barg.
At number 23 in the Kobylanska Lane, where he lived from 1961 to 1981, in 1990 a plaque from the Czernowitz artist Yuri Schelegin was attached.
- Mirage ( blendenisch ), 1926 ( short stories )
- The Viennese carriage ( di winer kareta ), 1935 ( short stories )
- Medrisch Pinchas, 1936
- Butterflies ( schmeterlingen ), 1938
- The root ( the worzl ), 1949, Moscow 1959
- Jephtes daughter, 1947
- Jizchok Leib Peretz: At the Bußkette, 1946
Translations into Yiddish
- Molière: The Miser
- Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky: The guiltless guilty
- Lillian Hellman: The Little Foxes
- Konstantin Simonov: The Russian Question
- John Boynton Priestley: An Inspector Calls
For the Yiddish actress and chanteuse Sidi Tal Altman wrote skits ( Simcha -we- sossel ) and songs ( Gavroche, John Bull). In his last years he wrote in Russian on his memoirs, " notes an old man ." His memories of the Gulag play a big role in it. Meanwhile Altmann's stories, novels and ladies have been published in several countries.
- Peter Rykhlo, Oleg Liubkivskyj: Literature city of Chernivtsi, 2nd, revised edition. Chernivtsi 2009, pp. 97-103