Page 27 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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19
L
ipt z in
— Y
idd ish
D
r am a
dish dramatists found their way to the New World before the
Second World War. David Bergelson and Peretz Markish, who
remained in Soviet Russia and whose plays were produced in
Yiddish State Theatres of the Ukraine and White Russia, were
liquidated in the Stalin purge of Yiddish cultural activities
during his final years.
Yiddish dramas are still being written. Leivick’s most recent
symbolic plays,
Maharam Fun Rutenberg
and
Di Chasuna in
Fernwald.,
are supreme achievements in this medium. But with-
out a single Yiddish theater as a lasting center for actors, pro-
ducers and writers, it is difficult to envisage a bright future for
this artistic activity.
The question today is no longer, “Can the decline of the Yid-
dish drama be arrested or reversed?” I t is rather, “Can the values
embodied in Yiddish drama of the past century be transmuted
into other tongues, English or Hebrew, to enrich coming genera-
tions of Jews for whom Yiddish has become an ancestral mem-
ory?” The answer ought not be overlong delayed.