Das kurze Leben der sowjetisch-jiddischen Literatur
Joint workshop by the Leibniz Institute fo Jewish History and Culture – Simon Dubnow Leipzig (DI) and the Center for Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL)
In the night of the 12th August 1952, some of the most prominent representatives of modern Yiddish literature were shot in Moscow: the poets Perets Markish (1895–1952), Dovid Hofshteyn (1889–1952), Itsik Fefer (1900–1952), Leyb Kvitko (1890–1952) and the novelist Dovid Bergelson. This literature, which the Soviet Union had initially promoted, was increasingly viewed critically after the 1920s. Today it is mostly forgotten: Only a few years after the Germans had all but exterminated its potential readership, the heirs of a once widespread Yiddish language and culture, its authors too fell victim to Stalinism.
The “night of the murdered poets” lets us reflect upon Yiddish literature in the Soviet Union in its literary and political context. In the workshop, relationships between the highly specific Yiddish understanding of national identity and the archetype of the New Soviet person, will be of special interest. For instance, though Yiddish literature in the Soviet Union strengthened the identification with Jewish nationality, it was written from within a multi- and then transnational project—the Soviet Union. This put it in a precarious situation. The fact that Yiddish literature was funded massively by the Soviet state before being perceived as an existential threat only emphasizes this.
The workshop is part of the series Jüdische Geschichte und Literaturforschung that the ZfL holds together with the Dubnow Institute.
Nicolas Berg, Jörg Deventer, Jan Gerber, Ivonne Meybohm, Yfaat Weiss (alle DI)
Matthias Schwarz, Daniel Weidner (beide ZfL)
Sabine Koller (Professur für Slavisch-Jüdische Studien, Universität Regensburg)