The 2015 Jan Karski & Pola Nirenska Prize at YIVO Awarded to Jerzy Malinowski

The Award Committee of the Jan Karski and Pola Nirenska Award is pleased to announce that Prof. Jerzy Malinowski has been named the recipient of this year’s prize. Endowed by Prof. Jan Karski at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in 1992, the $5,000 prize goes to authors of published works documenting Polish-Jewish relations and Jewish contributions to Polish culture. The winner was chosen by the Award Committee whose members are Prof. Pawel Spiewak (Director, Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw), Dr. Jonathan Brent (Executive Director, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research), Prof. Szymon Rudnicki, Dr. Joanna Nalewajko-Kulikov, and Dr. Joachim Russek. The award ceremony will be held in September at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

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Survivors and Exiles: Interview with Jan Schwarz

Survivors and Exiles - Jan SchwarzIn his new book, Survivors and Exiles: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press), Jan Schwarz challenges assumptions that Yiddish literature died out after the Holocaust by painting a portrait of a culture that remained alive and in dynamic flux, especially in the two-and-a-half decades after the end of World War II. Yiddish writers and cultural organizations fostered publications and performances, collected archival and historical materials, and launched new, young literary talents. His book charts a transnational post-Holocaust network in which the conflicting trends of fragmentation and globalization provided a context for Yiddish literature and artworks of great originality.

Jan Schwarz is associate professor of Yiddish studies at Lund University, Sweden. He began this position in 2011 after having taught Yiddish language and literature at University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Northwestern University, and University of Chicago. He is the author of Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers, as well as numerous critical articles about Jewish life-writing, Holocaust Literature, modern Yiddish culture, and Jewish American literature; and he is the translator of Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman into Danish.

Buy Survivors and Exiles: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust.

Schwarz is interviewed here by Yedies editor Roberta Newman.

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Adelebsen: The Records of a Jewish Community in Germany (YIVO Archives, Record Group 244)

by VIOLET LUTZ

Of the many interesting materials that I’ve encountered in the YIVO archival collections that I have had the honor and pleasure of processing as an archivist at the Center for Jewish History, I am struck sometimes by particular items that offer insights into everyday life in a particular time and place. The Adelebsen Jewish community records held by YIVO, dating from 1830 to 1917, contain remarkable traces of the evolving Jewish communal life in the small German town of Adelebsen, in the district of Göttingen, in what is today the state of Lower Saxony. The region was historically part of the kingdom of Hanover. (The latter was annexed by the kingdom of Prussia in 1866; and subsequently became part of the German Empire, founded under Prussia’s leadership in 1871.)

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Di gantse velt af a firmeblank: The World of Jewish Letterheads

Assemble the letterheads of Jewish organizations, institutions, and individuals in Europe, North and South America, and Palestine from the 1890s to the eve of World War II in 1939 and you have a portrait of the Jewish world: transnational; diverse in language, political, and religious orientation; and flourishing.

Di gantse velt af a firmeblank (The Whole World on a Letterhead) is an experiment in building that portrait. Here, we hope to bring you several times a month, a different example of letterhead from a single collection in the YIVO Archives, the Papers of Kalman Marmor.

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Agricultural Life in Israel: A Paper from the 40th YIVO Conference (1966)

WEVD LogoThis episode, originally broadcast on May 22, 1966, features Dr. Shimshon Tapuach of the Department of Agriculture, Jewish Agency, Tel Aviv. By then an Israeli, Dr. Tapuach (whose last name, fittingly enough, means “apple” in Hebrew), spent part of his early academic career at YIVO in Vilna in the 1930s, where he was student in YIVO’s “aspirantur” (graduate training) program. Here, Dr. Tapuach talks about agricultural life in Israel, based on a paper he read at the 40th Annual YIVO Conference, which had taken place earlier that month.

From 1963-1976, YIVO had its own program on WEVD, the radio station established by the Socialist Party of America in 1927 (its call letters stand for the initials of American socialist leader Eugene V. Debs), which was purchased by the Jewish Daily Forward in 1932 and became a major venue from Yiddish programming.

YIVO used its spot on WEVD for Yiddish-language interviews and discussions with leading New York Yiddish cultural figures, as well as for reporting on its own scholarly and cultural work.

A new podcast of this program in the order in which it was originally broadcast will be posted here every two weeks.

Presentation of series curated by Matt Temkin, YIVO Sound Archives.

Listen to the program [in Yiddish].

A Night at Lewando’s: The Book Launch of The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook: Garden-Fresh Recipes Rediscovered and Adapted for Today’s Kitchen | From the YIVO Archives

In 1938, Fania Lewando, the proprietor of a popular vegetarian restaurant in Vilna, published a Yiddish vegetarian cookbook including 400 recipes, impassioned essays about the benefits of vegetarianism, and lush full-color drawings of vegetables and fruit. Enchanted by the book, YIVO commissioned a translation, making Lewando’s charming, delicious, and practical recipes available to a contemporary audience.

On June 2, YIVO officially celebrated the publication of The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbookpublished by Schocken Books on May 26. The book is translated from the Yiddish by Eve Jochnowitz, and includes a foreword by Joan Nathan. The original Yiddish edition of Vegetarish-Dietisher Kokhbukh: 400 Shpeizn Gemakht Oysshlislekh fun Grinsn (Vegetarian-Dietetic Cookbook: 400 Recipes Made Exclusively from Vegetables) can be found in the YIVO Library, to which it was donated by Pessl Beckler-Stern and Hank Stern. The translation was sponsored by Ruth and David Levine.

The evening included tastings from the cookbook, prepared by The Gefilteria in collaboration with the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, and live music performed by Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg of The Klezmatics.                                                                    All photos by Ben Asen.

From Destruction to Rebirth: Jewish Displaced Persons After the Shoah

Avinoam Patt 4-15-15

On April 15, 2015, YIVO sponsored a special Yom HaShoah program featuring Professor Avinoam J. Patt of the University of Hartford, who spoke about the era immediately following the Holocaust, the 1940s, when thousands of Jewish survivors (known as the She’erit Hapletah, or “Surviving Remnant”) were trying to build new lives for themselves, even as they remained in limbo, in displaced persons camps in Germany, Austria, and Italy.

By 1947, 250,000 survivors lived in displaced persons camps in Germany. Professor Patt, with the aid of photographs and artifacts from YIVO’s Archives and Library, detailed the ways in which they created a remarkably dynamic society that included a flourishing press, theater, Zionist youth movements, athletic clubs, historical commissions, yeshivas, and a fiercely independent political system.

The program included a memorial ceremony with the onstage participation of survivors and children of survivors.

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YIVO Announces Its First Annual Summer Internship

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is pleased to announce the establishment of The Horowitz Family Summer Internship, endowed by Rosemary Horowitz of Boone, North Carolina. This internship will provide professional training for young people in the YIVO Archives and Library, and to educate future generations of archivists and librarians interested in East European Jewish history and Yiddish culture.

The first Horowitz Family Summer Intern is Brandeis University graduate Jessica Podhorcer. Her background includes internships at the JDC Archive, Brandeis University Library, and the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People. Over the course of her eight-week internship, Podhorcer will process a collection of YIVO’s administrative records from 1925 to 1941, assist in completing the database for the Strashun Library private collection of rare Hebrew imprints, and select new acquisitions for the YIVO Library.

“It is an honor to receive the Rosemary Horowitz Scholarship. YIVO exemplifies the pinnacle of what a historical research institution can be, in terms of both its collections and its high standards and quality of work,” said Podhorcer. “For me, a career in archives represents a lifetime engaged firsthand with history, making it accessible to the present and preserving it for the future.”

Di gantse velt af a firmeblank: The World of Jewish Letterheads

Assemble the letterheads of Jewish organizations, institutions, and individuals in Europe, North and South America, and Palestine from the 1890s to the eve of World War II in 1939 and you have a portrait of the Jewish world: transnational; diverse in language, political, and religious orientation; and flourishing.

Di gantse velt af a firmeblank (The Whole World on a Letterhead) is an experiment in building that portrait. Here, we hope to bring you several times a month, a different example of letterhead from a single collection in the YIVO Archives, the Papers of Kalman Marmor.

Continue reading

Jewish Mass Settlement in the United States (1966)

WEVD LogoIn this episode, originally broadcast on May 15, 1966, Zosa Szajkowski joins host Sheftl Zak to talk about the exhibition “Jewish Mass Settlement in the United States” that he had curated and which had just opened in the YIVO exhibition hall.

From 1963-1976, YIVO had its own program on WEVD, the radio station established by the Socialist Party of America in 1927 (its call letters stand for the initials of American socialist leader Eugene V. Debs), which was purchased by the Jewish Daily Forward in 1932 and became a major venue from Yiddish programming.

YIVO used its spot on WEVD for Yiddish-language interviews and discussions with leading New York Yiddish cultural figures, as well as for reporting on its own scholarly and cultural work.

A new podcast of this program in the order in which it was originally broadcast will be posted here every two weeks.

Presentation of series curated by Matt Temkin, YIVO Sound Archives.

Listen to the program [in Yiddish].