Page 121 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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A b r a m o w i c z
L i b r a r y
YIVO comprises Yiddish newspapers going back to the early 1870s,
literary and political monthlies and weeklies, leaflets, pam-
phlets, convention and jubilee publications of the trade unions,
“landsmanshaftn” and fraternal orders, and Yiddish belles-lettres
fostered in America since the last quarter of the past century.
Special mention should be accorded the rich biographical mate-
rial in memoirs written in Yiddish by first generation immigrants
from all walks of life, from pressers and printers to actors. The
immigrant experience was not limited, however, to the United
States alone. It extended to Canada, to Latin America and South
Africa, where Jewish immigrants settled in great masses and ere-
ated a communal and cultural life of their own. The YIVO library
has diversified records of their activities in the fields of charity
and welfare, education, agriculture and co-operative movements.
The prolific daily and periodical press of these communities is
also kept on file.
The Catastrophe Years
An area of extensive concentration in the YIVO library is the
period 1933-1945, the years of the Jewish Catastrophe in Europe.
Here belong some of the very rare publications of Jewish under-
ground organizations, as well as official organs of Jewish repre-
sentative bodies, published with permission of the German occu-
pation authorities:
Gazeta Zydowska
(Cracow, 1940-41),
Nachrich tenblatt
(Wien and Berlin, 1938-43),
(Paris, 1941-44). All the published series on the Nuremberg
trials, the books and bulletins issued by Government Commis-
sions to Investige German Crimes in Russia and Poland, the
proceedings of international conferences on resistance movements
in Europe, accounts of trials of German War criminals, scholarly
periodicals devoted to the history of World War II, publications
of the organizations of former inmates of concentration camps,
scholarly series published by Jewish research organizations in
Warsaw, Paris, London, New York and Jerusalem—all these mate-
rials are located in the YIVO library. Perhaps even more char-
acteristic of the YIVO collection is the vast literature of eye-
witness accounts which sprang up spontaneously after the war,
the literature by and on the inmates of the D.P. camps between
1945-1952, and the ever increasing flow of memorial volumes
(“yizkor-bikher”) published by organizations scattered on several
continents which commemorate their destroyed native commu-
nities. Separate mention should be made of the collection of
Nazi publications—books, periodicals and official documents—
issued in Germany between the years 1933-1945.18
18For the description of this collection see Bruno Blau, “Das Yiddish
Scientific Institute Yivo in New York,”
V iertelsjahrhefte fu r Zeitgesch ich te,
b. 2 (Juli 1954, Stuttgart), p. 326-328.