8th Annual Toronto German Studies Symposium 2015: Global Yiddish Culture, 1938 – 1948

University of Toronto
April 20-21, 2015
Jackman Humanities Building, Room JHB 100 at 170 St. George Street.

Download program here.

Yiddish Forwards, the US Yiddish weekly, published an article on the Symposium.

Read Hannah Pollin-Galay’s article about the concert “Defending the Homeland: Rare Yiddish Songs of WWII”.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

8:00pm Concert: “Defending the Homeland: Rare Yiddish Songs of World War II”

Featuring Psoy Korolenko and Anna Shternshis
Al Green Theatre, 720 Spadina Avenue
Tickets $10 at the door. Free for students.

“Avant-bard” singer/songwriter/performer Psoy Korolenko and U of T Professor Anna Shternshis bring to life “lost” Yiddish songs of the Holocaust in this all-new concert and lecture program. Written and transcribed by surviving Ukrainian Jewish writers of the Kiev Cabinet for Jewish Culture after the war as a testament to their struggle for survival, these rare Yiddish artifacts were confiscated and hidden by the Soviet government in 1949, and have only recently come to light. Learn about the incredible stories behind these treasures, savour the music and revel in the creativity of Yiddish-speaking Holocaust survivors.

Co-presented by Ashkenaz Festival and Miles Nadal JCC

Monday, April 20, 2015

Jackman Humanities Building, Room JHB 100 at 170 St. George Street.

8:30–9:00am Welcome and Greetings

David Cameron, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science
Markus Stock, Chair, German Department
Walter Stechel, Consul General of Germany
Jeffrey Kopstein, Director, Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies

9:00am–11:15am Panel I: Uncertainties and Hopes of 1939–41

Chair: Doris Bergen (University of Toronto)

Nick Underwood (University of Colorado), “Jewish Culture on the World Stage: The Modern Jewish Culture Pavilion at the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris”

Gennady Estraikh (NYU), “The Yiddish Literary Center in Białystok, September 1939–June 1941”

David Shneer (University of Colorado), “How Fascism and Yiddish Culture Dragged Dutch Jewry into the Modern World: 1935–41”

Naomi Nicholas Kaufman (Université Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle), “Translating on thresholds: The ‘impossible possibility’ of Yiddish translation (on Golden Peacock, 1939)”

11:15am–11:45am Coffee Break

11:45am–1:00pm Panel II: From Ukraine to Tashkent to Birobidzhan and Back

Chair: Lynne Viola (University of Toronto)

Mikhail Krutikov (University of Michigan), “From Berdichev to Birobidzhan: Der Nister’s Last Decade, 1939–1949”

Zeev Levin (Hebrew University and Ohalo College), “Yiddish meets the Orient: Ashkenazi Jews in Soviet Central Asia”

2:00pm–3:45pm Panel III: Yiddish Culture in the Ghettos

Chair: Jeffrey Kopstein (University of Toronto)

Sam Kassow (Trinity), “Yiddish Reportage in the Lodz Ghetto: the Case of Joseph Zelkowicz”

Hannah Pollin-Galay (Columbia University), “Rhyming is Believing: Witnessing with Avrom Sutskever in the Spring of 1944”

Arkady Zeltser (Yad Vashem), “Ghetto Resistance during the Holocaust in Contemporary Soviet Yiddish Texts”

3:45pm–4:15pm Coffee Break

4:15pm–6:30pm Panel IV: Yiddish Theatre and Film

Chair: Andrea Most (University of Toronto)

Joel Berkowitz (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), “Yiddish Drama and the Holocaust”

Diego Rotman (Hebrew U), “Rubber Bullets on False Targets: Dzigan and Shumacher’s theater between 1939 and 1947”

Harriet Murav (University of Illinois), “The Global Resonance of Prince Reuveni”

Olga Gershenson (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), “David Bergelson’s I Will Live! (1942), un-memory of the Khurbm”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jackman Humanities Building, Room JHB 100 at 170 St. George Street.

9:30am–10:45am Panel V: Looking from the Distance

Chair: Willi Goetschel (University of Toronto)

Rebecca Margolis (University of Ottawa), “Melekh Ravitch as Yiddish Catalyst”

Rakhmiel Peltz (Drexel University), “Uriel Weinreich Forges the Field of Yiddish: Bridging Vilna and New York, 1938–1948”

10:45am–11:00am Coffee Break

11:00am–12:15pm Panel VI: What Now?: Yiddish After the Holocaust

Chair: Kalman Weiser (York University)

Jack Kugelmass (University of Florida), “Borders to the Sky: The WarTime Journeys of Mordkhe Tsanin”

Miriam Trinh (Johns Hopkins University), “‘Yiddish’, the ‘Sheyres-Hapleyte’ and ‘Medines-Yisroel’ as main aspects in the correspondence between Mordkhe Shtrigler and H. Leyvick – Paris – New York, 1945–1952”

12:15pm–1:00pm Concluding Remarks

Sponsored by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, the Anne Tannenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies and by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, with additional support from the Al and Malka Green Program in Yiddish Studies, Centre for Comparative Literature, the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, Ray Wolfe Chair in the Holocaust Studies, the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Committee for Yiddish, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto, Ashkenaz Festival, and Friends of Yiddish.

Organizing committee:
Professor Doris Bergen (History, University of Toronto)
Professor Jeffrey Kopstein (Political Science, University of Toronto)
Professor Anna Shternshis (Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Centre for Diaspora Studies, University of Toronto)



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