Page 120 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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Hebrew and Polish, they provide rich resources for the historian
investigating one of the greatest and most creative Jewish com-
munities in prewar Europe.
Literature of Western Europe
Of the Central and Western European countries, Germany,
France and The Netherlands are represented best. The YIVO
library has a very extensive coverage of the Jewish press in these
countries, commencing with three “firsts” of Jewish magazine pub-
lishing:
Pri Ez Hayyim
of Amsterdam (an incomplete set), M.
Mendelssohn’s
Kohelet Musar
(1750), and Benjamin ben Zalmen
Croneburg’s
Der Grosse Schauplatz
(1752). Of the 19th century
press, not only are great central newspapers represented but also
the local papers, the so called “Gemeindeblatter.” There is also
a considerable collection of monographs of Jewish communities
in individual cities. Important as primary source materials are
reports of central and local Jewish organizations reaching back
to the mid-nineteenth century. The reports and bulletins of the
Alliance Israelite Universelle in Paris and of its sister organiza-
tions in Berlin and Vienna are fairly complete. Numerous annual
reports and memoranda were circulated by the Board of Deputies
of British Jews and by the Anglo-Jewish Association. The reports
of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden and of the Reichsvertre-
tung der Juden in Deutschland fur Hilfe und Arbeit encompass
almost a half-century. Not to be omitted from this account are
Jewish relief organizations based in Germany and in France to
help Jewish refugees and emigrants. Ort, Ose, Emigdirect, and
Hias issued reports and bulletins which can serve as source mate-
rials for the history of Jewish migrations between the two world
wars. The same period is reflected in the press organs of political
groupings of Jewish emigrants who settled in France, Belgium
and the Netherlands.
In the “New World”
I t has already been noted that the collection of Jewish Ameri-
cana in YIVO “largely reflects an interest in the history of
American Jews in the past eighty years,” while other Jewish re-
search institutions “concentrate on materials pertaining to the
colonial and middle periods of American history.”17 The situa-
tion may have changed lately with regard to other organizations,
but it is still applicable to YIVO. The bulk of the Americana in
17 Moses Rischin,
An Inven tory of American Jewish H is to ry ,
Cambridge,
Mass., Harvard University Press, 1954, p. 7.