Mar 04, 2022
The editors of In geveb have spent this week as horrified by the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as our readers. In addition to amplifying Ukrainian voices, donating, and supporting efforts on the ground, we are keen on supporting teachers who want to bring Yiddish material related to Ukraine — historical and contemporary — to their classrooms during this time. This list grew out of a crowdsourcing question posted to the Facebook Group Yiddish Research and we would like to acknowledge the contributors. The list below is by no means a comprehensive guide to scholarship or literature of Yiddish in and of Ukraine and not intended as such. We are simply hoping to provide an easy starting point for teachers looking to bring materials to their students at a time when additional labor is difficult. We are happy to hear about additional suggestions at email@example.com.
- Zygmunt Turkow in his memoirs Teater zikhroynes fun a shturmisher tsayt (1956) describes his wandering around the territory of Ukraine during the Polish-Bolshevik war, it’s quite chilling to read today
- Starting with p. 168, chapters “Mir greytn zikh tsum turne iber ukraine”, “Ukraine, a vulkan vos shpayt mit blut”, “Odes”, “November 1918”, “Fun Petlyuran tsum sovetishn rezhim”, “Ikh ver a rusisher aktyor”, “In kiever yidishn melukhe teater”
- Itzik Fefer’s poem “Tsu Ukraine!”
- Yiddish Glory
- “Der khosn-boym” (pp. 10 - 21) short story in the collection Tif in der tayge by Yente Mash. English translation in On the Landing: Stories by Yenta Mash.
- Almost anything by Mendl Osherovitsh, who kept his Jewish and Ukrainian identities well-balanced. Lots to choose from: his memoir, his large volume about Ukrainian town and shtetls, and - perhaps most fitting - his extraordinary reportage from the midst of the Holodomor. An English translation How People Live in Soviet Russia: Impressions From a Journey was published in 2020.
- The Russian-French painter Issachar Ryback’s illustrated album, On the Jewish Fields of the Ukraine (1926), explores the daily ritual of farming for Jewish agriculturists. The portfolio features 25 reproductions of drawings and paintings of field laborers.
- Rokhl Faygenberg’s writing on pogroms and Jewish refugees at the Ukrainian-Romanian river border.
- Khayim Gildin’s collection Brunems contains short-stories which take place during the Civil War and describe pogrom violence; at least one is set in a kolkhoz in Southern Ukraine.
- Lamed Shapiro’s short-story “White Challah”
- Debora Vogel’s poems in Anastasiya Lyubas’ translations and in the special issue of In geveb.
- Oral History interviews from the Yiddish Book Center such as Haim Gunner’s account of his family’s escape from pogroms or Michael Felsenbaum’s account of visiting family in Czernowitz
- Music by the band Konsonans
- The album Night Songs from a Neighboring Village by Michael Alpert and Julian Kytasty
- The SEYD Project is publishing twitter threads on linguistic informants and field notes from Ukraine
- An introduction to the Kyiver Yiddish poet Dina Lipkis in Hinde Ena Burstin, ‘Female Fantasies from the Other Side of the Wall: Twentieth Century Lesbo-Sensuous Yiddish Poetry’ in Jews and Sex, ed. by Nathan Abrams, Nottingham: Five Leaves, 2008, pp. 38-51.
- see also Reyzl Grace MoChridhe’s translation of Lipkis’ poem Fun yener zayt vant
- An extensive examination of the Kharkiv-based Yiddish poet, Khane Levin and her work in Joanna Lisek, ‘ “Of all the men, I am the most manly”: Aspects of Gender in the Poetry of Khane Levin’ in Women Writers of Yiddish Literature: Critical Essays, ed. by Rosemary Horowitz, Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 2015, pp. 126-156.
- Historical background on the Yiddish literary scene in Kyiv up to the late 1920s, and introduction to a number of Kyiv Yiddish women poets (incl. Dina Lipkis) in Hinde Ena Burstin, ‘On the Other Side: Dina Lipkis, Yiddish Poet of 1920s Kyiv’, in Alessandro Achilli, Serhy Yekelchyk and Dmytro Yesypenko (eds.), Cossaks in Jamaica, Ukraine at the Antipodes: Essays in Honor of Marko Pavlyshyn, Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2020, pp. 439-456.