Page 83 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 27

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F
i shm a n
— M
a x
W
e inre ich
77
of Yiddish philology is still referred to as the major source not
only for serious students of Yiddish, but also for students of
co-territorial interacting developments in Germanic and Slavic
languages,1 and that his
Hitler’s Professors
remains the major
indictment of the role scholarship played in Germany’s crimes
against the Jewish People.2 It was to him that universities the
world over turned not only when Yiddish became a fully recognized
subject of instruction (first at City College, CCNY, where Wein­
reich himself served as Professor of Yiddish from 1947 to 1964),
but whenever any instructional or research undertaking pertaining
to Ashkenazic Jewry was being considered.
The quantity of Weinreich’s work is attested by the listing of
377 items (including 29 books, 9 books edited, 6 books translated,
26 prefaces to books by others and 11 periodicals or collective
volumes edited) in the volume in honor of his 70th birthday pre­
pared and edited by a group of his students.3 The volume itself,
which had remained a carefully guarded secret from Weinreich
until the day it appeared, contains contributions by the most emi­
nent scholars in the fields of “Jewish languages, literature and
society,” for such was the scope of Weinreich’s interests and
competence.
Although history, psychology, sociology, pedagogy and ethnog­
raphy were all within his working spectrum, there can be no doubt
that the Yiddish language and linguistics stood at the very center
of his work and his life. In this connection two crowning achieve­
ments may be attributed to him. He convinced the world of general
linguistic inquiry that Yiddish was not only a topic fit for scholarly
inquiry, but that it was among the best for those interested in the
differentiation and interaction of co-territorial or neighboring
language varieties.4 He was to speak on this topic at the Inter­
1See, for example, the many references to Weinreich’s work in Hans Peter
Althaus, “Die Erforschung der Jiddischen Sprache” in
Festschrift fur Walter
Mitzka,
Weisbaden, Franz Steiner Verlag, 1968, Vol. I, pp. 224-263 (also
appeared as supplement to
Zeitschrift fur Mundartforschung;
Beihefte, Ger-
manische Dialektologie, N.F., Nr 5).
2Originally published in Yiddish:
Hitlers profesorn; der kheylik fun der
daytsher visnshaft in daytshlands farbrekhns kegn yidishn folk,
New York,
YIVO, 1947; previously also published in
YIVO Bleter,
1946, Vol. 27; also
published in English, New York, YIVO, 1946.
3For Max Weinreich on his Seventieth Birthday: Studies in Jewish Lan­
guages, Literature and Society; Maks Vaynraykhn tsu zayn zibetsikstn geboyrn-
tog: shtudies vegn shprakhn bay yidn, vegn yidisher literatur un gezelshaft.
36 articles (20 in English, 15 in Yiddish, 1 in Hebrew and 1 in German) and
bibliography of Max Weinreich’s writings. The Hague, Mouton, 1964.
*
See, e.g., his “Prehistory and Early History of Yiddish: Facts and Con­
ceptual Framework,”
The Field of Yiddish I,
New York, Columbia University,
1954, pp. 73-101; “The History of the Yiddish Language: Structure and
Cultural Background,”
Year Book of the Philosophical Society,
Philadelphia,
1955, pp. 369-373; “History of the Yiddish Language: The Problems and