Yiddish

‘Smocza: A Biography of a Jewish Street in Warsaw’, by Benny Mer, was published in Hebrew in 2018. Like an archaeologist, the street’s biographer exhumes it by tracking down all the traces he can gather (in the press, in poetry and fiction, in the rare photographs that remain, in the testimonies that the author could collect) to give an idea, an image, a reminiscence of Smocza, which he loves like a ghost that beckons you. K. is happy to publish the first chapter of Benny Mer’s investigation of this vanished world, which he says he feels at home in.

In her first column for K., Macha Fogel recounted some news from today’s flourishing Yiddish Hasidic press. In this second piece, she asks heself what Yiddish offers to those who use it. Is it a language of the ghetto? Or on the opposite a language of exchanges? Or both at the same time?

It is no secret that Yiddish is a language without a country. At least, that’s how it’s spoken of, anyway, and then as a murdered, disappearing, dying language. But I…

The moving figure of Avrom Sutzkever can be seen in the film which, in 1945, records his testimony at the Nuremberg trial. He was one of the few Jews who testified. At that time he was already a great Yiddish poet – who asked himself, in one of his verses from 1943: “Am I the last poet left singing in Europe?” Rachel Ertel profiles Sutzkever for K. against the background of his relationship to Europe >>>

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