James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Posts Tagged ‘yiddish

A Yiddish manuscript …

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I am a fan of the Bielski Brothers – they were Jews who saved about 1,200 Jews while fighting Nazis in the forests of Belarus.  Indeed, my Jewish identity is tied much more to the experiences of the Bielski partisans, the Warsaw Ghetto fighters, and the Jewish partisans in France than to the other experiences of the Holocaust.  When I was young, my mother introduced me to a co-worker of hers who was a Holocaust survivor.  He had fought as a partisan and had silently witnessed the murder of his family.  I was too young to fully understand, but it left an imprint on me.

When the movie about the Bieskis, Defiance, came out in January 2009,  I had already read much about them.  Indeed, I wrote a column for the Iowa City Press-Citizen dealing with the movie, based in part on my earlier reading of the full history.

Now, it seems, my “full history” is not so full.  There is a newly discovered manuscript written by Tuvia Bielski:

The newly discovered manuscript — about 60 hand-written pages longer than the one Duffy used [for his book, The Bielski Brothers], which was 333 pages — had been sitting in YIVO’s archives, untouched, for more than 50 years. It was one of 3,000 Holocaust testimonials held by YIVO, but since the center’s catalogue was not digitized until 2008, it was nearly impossible to find. You would have needed to sort through thousands of documents to stumble upon it.

via Bringing Bielski Memoir To Print – The Jewish Week.

There is only one problem for me … it is written in Yiddish and I don’t know any more Yiddish than what is embedded in American culture.   The article did say the manuscript was digitized, so maybe we can just use Google’s English-Yiddish translator?


Written by JamesEJ

Monday, July 12, 2010 at 8:01 am

Posted in history

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