Page 24 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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18
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
Cernauti, and although his family stemmed from Kolomea, Ga­
licia, he is nevertheless generally associated with the Rumanian
literary group because he grew up in Jassy, the important Jewish
center of Old Rumania, and because the Rumanian editors were
the first to recognize his talent and to publish his poems in their
periodicals. However, he left Rumania in 1928. Warsaw, Paris,
London, New York and Tel Aviv were other way stations in his
creative experience. By 1969 he was recognized as the last and
greatest of Yiddish troubadours, as the ablest successor of the
folk dramatists, as a novelist who alleviated his people’s tragic
moods with his playful yet sophisticated humor, as an essayist of
distinction and as the best writer of ballads in the Yiddish tongue.
His songs of joy and wine, of love and death were chanted on all
continents. His phantastic, grotesque tales about authentic life
in the garden of Eden charmed readers from the time they were
first published in Warsaw in 1939. His Megilla-Lieder of 1936,
continuing the tradition of the Purim plays, belong to the per­
manent repertoire of the Yiddish theater.
Manger represents the acme of Rumania’s pioneering gener­
ation of Yiddish writers. In their wake there arose on the eve
of World War II a galaxy of aspiring, talented lyricists and
narrators. Many of them perished during the catastrophic years
when Rumania became involved in this War. The survivors
scattered in all directions. Among the surviving young poets
were Jacob Friedman, Chaim Rabinsohn, Freed-Weininger and
Motl Sakzier. Prose writers included the historian and editor Jo­
seph Kissman, the literary critic and essayist Yitzhak Paner, and
the philologist Chaim Gininger.
Friedman (b. 1910) is a descendant of the hasidic dynasty of
Rizhin. He began in 1934 with the poem Adam, spent the War
years in a Transnistrian camp, attained artistic maturity in Israel
and gained the summit of his creativity with his mystic dra­
matic poem Titans (Nefilim, 1963) and the lyrics of Love (Lib-
shaft, 1967).
Rabinsohn, also of rabbinic descent, began with Yiddish
lyrics in the same year as Friedman. However after his arrival
in Israel he gradually changed to Hebrew. His collected songs
Earthly Days (Yemei Ha-adamah, 1966), revealed his mastery
of the nuances of Hebrew style to an even greater extent than
Yiddish.
Freed-Weininger (b. 1915) began in 1934 with lyric contri­
butions. He was encouraged by Shlomo Bickel and, like Bickel,
reached the United States shortly before the Holocaust. His po­
etic collections Evening Along the Prut (Ovent Bairn Prut, 1942)
and Along the Prut, the La Plata and the Jordan {Bairn Prut,