Page 85 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

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Mendel Elkin, librarian of the Yiddish Scientific Institute, has prepared the
annual bibliography enti tled “Yiddish Books in America, May 1949 — May 1950.”
The listing of approximately 145 works is divided as follows:
belles lettres
, poetry
and drama, political and social problems, education, juveniles and textbooks,
history, memoirs and biographies, religion, literature, art and music and yearbooks
and anthologies.
The second and final par t of Dr. Philip Friedman’s “ 100 Yiddish Books on
Destruction and Bravery” appears in this issue. The author selected the 100 items
tha t he considers the best of approximately 5,000 literary pieces to have appeared
as a result of the holocaust of Nazi persecution from 1939 to 1945. This par t
includes books dealing with Poland, concentration camps, and impressions
and observations of writers and artists who have visited the depleted Jewish
communities in Europe after the years of destruction.
Tracing the development of Soviet-Yiddish literature from the Russian Revo-
lution, when Jewish literary creativity shifted from Warsaw and Vilna to Soviet
Russia, Elias Shulman, in his article, “ Soviet-Yiddish Literature, 1918-1948,”
describes the period of rich literary achievement of the “ free” years through 1924,
and continues with an outline of the period of 1925-41 when Yiddish writers in
Russia became the exponents of the ideological aims of the Communist Par ty.
The author points out that , for a brief period following Nazi attacks on the Soviet
in 1941, there was a recurrence of Jewish nationalist feeling, but this was sup-
pressed in 1946, and the liquidation of Jewish authors which had started in 1936
culminated in the liquidation of all Jewish literary activity in Soviet Russia in the
lat ter par t of 1948.
“Dr. Alfred Landau, Father of Modern Yiddish,” is the subject of an article by
Chaim Gininger on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the founder
of Yiddish philology. Landau developed Yiddish philology as an independent
scientific field divorced from German philology to which it was previously attached.
He started by collecting and analyzing the Yiddish idiom of Eastern Galicia and
advanced a working theory, later accepted by younger philologists, tha t one has
to know various dialects of Yiddish to establish a sound scientific theory as to the
organic development of the language.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of Israel Zangwill, Mark
Schweid contributes an essay on this famous English author. Zangwill, in spite
of his voluminous writings in English dealing with general subject mat ter , became
known throughout the world because of his
Dreamers of the Ghetto
and similar
stories tha t were an expression of his warm attitude towards Jewish life and
especially towards the famous Whitechapel ghetto of London.
Dr. Jacob Shatzky contributed an article enti tled “Anski, the Folklore Mes-
senger (1863-1920).” Anski, the thirtieth anniversary of whose death is being
commemorated in 1950, looked upon Jewish folklore as a source for learning the
ethical ways of the Jewish people in contra-distinction to other folklorists who
emphasized aesthetic expression as manifested in music and in literary creativity.
For him, Jewish folklore was a continuation of traditional Jewish learning, adapted
to the changing cultural status of the Jewish masses. In one of his short essays, he
gave poignant expression to his view. “ I write in order to prove tha t one must
always be a Jew.” This is the guiding principle of his writings.