Page 49 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

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a m u e l
r e i t e r
is generally agreed that Yiddish expression, as it manifests
■*־ itself in the field of book production, is facing a struggle for
survival, but not yet a period of extinction. Although the trend
in terms of readership, book distribution and mass appreciation
does point downward, the quality of writing in all its creative
forms is lofty in character. The Yiddish word still appeals to
a large enough, if admittedly shrinking, segment of Jews. During
the past year a good many books have been circulated and a sub-
stantial periodical literature, reflecting many spheres of Jewish
thinking and experience, has been made available in this country,
Europe, Israel and, especially, beyond the Rio Grande where
serious interest in Yiddish letters is on the upgrade.
Basically, we are transmuting our exilic and splintered group
into a resurgent, coherent peoplehood, and fusing our political,
moral and cultural identity. In the process, Yiddish will be needed
for some time to come as a living bond between the world Jewish
communities and Israel. Consequently, in the course of events,
Yiddish will probably be revived and strengthened along with
Hebrew, minus their former competitive heat.
Publication of books in the United States is primarily in the
hands of ideological and partisan-fraternal organizations. Among
them are CYKO (Central Yiddish Culture Organization) and the
Workmen’s Circle; to the left are YIKUF (Yiddisher Kultur Far-
band) and Jewish People’s Fraternal Order. More or less neutral
institutions are the YIVO, MATONES (Gifts), sponsored by the
Sholem Aleichem Folks Institute, the Dovid IgnatofF Fund, and
a number of
which are publishing chronicles of
their destroyed home towns. Some loyal and farsighted maecenases
have set up special foundations for the promotion of various
literary projects, such as Louis LaMed, M. Kronstadt, Gershon
Pomerantz in Toronto, and David Lerman in Buenos Aires.
Special plaudits must go to the Central Federation of Polish Jews
of the Argentine for publishing a remarkable and growing library
of earnest and impressive works dealing with many aspects of our
recent tragedy in Eastern Europe which are of incalculable his-
torical value, as well as books in the field of memoir literature.