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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16Focusing on Jewish Popular Culture and Its Afterlife$
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Michael C. Steinlauf and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774730

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.001.0001

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Dos yidishe bukh alarmirt! Towards the History of Yiddish Reading in Inter-War Poland

Dos yidishe bukh alarmirt! Towards the History of Yiddish Reading in Inter-War Poland

Chapter:
(p.213) Dos yidishe bukh alarmirt! Towards the History of Yiddish Reading in Inter-War Poland
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16
Author(s):

Ellen Kellman

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.003.0012

This chapter traces the history of Yiddish reading in inter-war Poland. Jewish public libraries played a pivotal role in working-class Jewish culture in the period between the wars. Since many young people typically left school in their early teens to enter the workforce, libraries and the cultural activities that took place in and around them enabled young people to continue to develop intellectually. The symbiosis between the Yiddish book industry and Yiddish libraries in inter-war Poland meant that the relative health or infirmity of libraries strongly affected the book industry. Thus, when the Yiddish book sounded the alarm in 1939, it was an indication of the troubled state of the libraries as well. Although the twenty-year interlude between the two world wars was an extremely difficult period for Polish Jewry, one that, with hindsight, one may see as characterized by significant losses, it was also distinguished by the tremendous creative energy of its cultural activists.

Keywords:   Yiddish reading, inter-war Poland, Jewish public libraries, Jewish culture, working-class Jews, Yiddish book industry, Yiddish libraries, Polish Jewry, Jewish cultural activists

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