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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1Poles and Jews: Renewing the Dialogue$
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Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113171

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.001.0001

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Chone Shmeruk. The Esterke Story in Yiddish and Polish Literature. A Case Study in the Mutual Relations of Two Cultural Traditions. Jerusalem: Studies of the Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews, The Hebrew University. 1985. Pp. 119.

Chone Shmeruk. The Esterke Story in Yiddish and Polish Literature. A Case Study in the Mutual Relations of Two Cultural Traditions. Jerusalem: Studies of the Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews, The Hebrew University. 1985. Pp. 119.

Chapter:
(p.360) Chone Shmeruk. The Esterke Story in Yiddish and Polish Literature. A Case Study in the Mutual Relations of Two Cultural Traditions. Jerusalem: Studies of the Center for Research on the History and Culture of Polish Jews, The Hebrew University. 1985. Pp. 119.
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 1
Author(s):

Jan Błoński

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781904113171.003.0034

This chapter explores Chone Shmeruk's The Esterke Story in Yiddish and Polish Literature (1985). This book focuses on the Esterke story, which concerns Casimir the Great's Jewish mistress called Ester (Esterke, Esterka). The story of Esterka was a very flexible legend. It was first used by Poles to condemn the privileges granted by Casimir to the Jews; later, it became a symbol for the possibility of amicable understanding between the two people and even measured assimilation. For the Jews, Yiddish literature came to see it as the self-sacrifice made by a Jewess to improve the lot of the Jews. It was viewed in this literature as indicative of Jewish success, but also disillusionment or even betrayal.

Keywords:   Chone Shmeruk, Esterke story, Casimir the Great, Jewish mistress, Polish literature, Poles, Jews, assimilation, Yiddish literature

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