“After the war they wrote and published prolifically, supported by Yiddish cultural organizations, even as they meticulously honed their artistic craft. After six years of war, they were free to build Yiddish literature and culture anew, a mission they fully embraced. Yet memories of their colleagues who had been murdered haunted them like ghosts during the postwar period’s rush toward regeneration and renewal.”
Survivors and Exiles Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust by Jan Schwarz is a very valuable work with a lot to teach anyone into post World War Two Jewish history and culture. Schwarz provides a detailed account of the various responses by Eastern European Jewish survivors of the Holocaust as they fashioned new lives for themselves and their families in New York City, Toronto, Buenos Aires and Israel while struggling to preserve their sense of being Ashkenazi Jews, whose heritage language is Yiddish. This is serious academic history, produced over a ten year period.
Schwarz helped me understand a bit more response of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, trying to come to terms with a great horror, striving to preserve their literary heritage after six million, about one third, of Jews were murdered. Schwarz lets see the responses of writers to Holocaust. He goes into fascinating detail about poetry readings in New York City. I did not know that there was a highly act group of writers in Buenos Aires, widely published in Yiddish locally in a variety of genres.
As time went by, children and grandchildren of the Holocaust survivors were much more interested in propsering in the place where they were born than in learning Yiddish. As original survivors died out by the close of the 20th century, Schwarz shows us the complex ways in which Yiddish literature survived.
He gives detailed accounts of the careers of several writers, the most famous I. B. Singer, Nobel Prize Wiinner in 1978. It was so interesting to learn of the impact of Yiddish heritage on writers like Saul Bellow, Cynthia Ozick, and other very sucessful American authors.
Survivors and Exiles Yiddish Culture After The Holocaust profoundly combines a deep read European culture, an intimate knowledge of Yiddish with a Love for his work.
i will have to ponder this for a long time,
“the Holocaust is the paradigmatic modernist event in Western European history, and this “event is of such a kind as to escape the grasp of any language even to describe it and of any medium—verbal, visual, oral, or gestural—to represent it, much less of any merely historical account adequately to explain it.” The primary concern in artistic representation of the Holocaust is the danger of “aestheticization of this event” to the extent that the actions of the actors—perpetrator, bystander, and victim—are familiarized and fetishized.”
Jan Schwarz supplied data
“My research includes publications and conference papers that describe and analyze cultural, literary and linguistic phenomena in the fields of Yiddish literature, Jewish-American literature, Holocaust testimonies, and Jewish life-writing. My main scholarly contribution to the field of Yiddish studies is the monograph Imagining Lives: Autobiographical Fiction of Yiddish Writers (2005). This study examines the modern autobiography in Yiddish as it originated in the second half of the nineteenth century and developed in various transcontinental centers in the twentieth century. The book is the first comprehensive scholarly examination of the Yiddish autobiographical genre.
My current scholarly work, the forthcoming book Survivors and Exiles: Yiddish Culture after 1945 focuses on post-1945 Jewish literature in Yiddish and English including fiction by I.B.Singer and Chaim Grade, poetry by Yankev Glatshteyn, Avrom Sutzkever, and testimonial literature by Leib Rochman and Elie Wiesel.”