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View Full Version : Unique footage of the last Shtetl Jews



StillWater
07-22-2019, 09:10 PM
Once again, I deliver top tier content:


The first one takes places in 1988 Bershad, Ukraine (historical Podolia region). English subtitles are there. At first, they're speaking Russian for a few seconds, then the old man switches the conversation over to Yiddish. He continues to speak only Yiddish, while his wife switches back and forth between Yiddish and Russian. The camera man speaks in Russian-accented Yiddish, while sometimes translating the old man into Russian for others. The old man's Yiddish is utterly native, while it sounds like he learned Russian later in life. It's clear he lived much of his life during the Imperial time, aside his wife making it obvious when she states his age.

The old man's amazement that the young fellow speaks Hebrew and not Yiddish, coupled with his reference of going to "Palestine" makes me think that he isn't aware that Israel is a country again. This is possible given his remote way of living (likely no TV and may not have newspapers delivered there). Yes, I'm aware that the term "Palestine" was even used by early Zionists, but this is 1988. One could argue that he's old and is using the terms he grew up with.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyKvdJYv9Zs

The second video is made by Dovid Katz, the lead linguist in Lithuanian Yiddish, and arguably the top living Yiddish scholar all around. Unfortunately, all the conversations are in Yiddish, with no subtitles. At 3:20, the man speaking is Meirke Stoler and he's standing beside the grave of the Chofetz Chaim(Israel Meir Kagan). All the footage is from Western Belarus.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_Pzx_-DuyY

Stoler has the most amazing story. A movie should be made about it. Everyone should read it:

http://dovidkatz.net/dovid/Lithuania/1997-Meirke%20Stoler%20of%20Radin.jpg

mildlycurly
07-22-2019, 11:43 PM
It's incredible how these people kept their old way of life going for so long, surviving the pogroms and Nazi occupation and resisting secularisation.

I'd love to start learning Yiddish. After all, it's one of my ancestral languages. I did four years of German at school so I know some of the underlying structure behind it, but other than that nothing apart from a few expressions adopted into English.

StillWater
07-23-2019, 01:55 AM
It's incredible how these people kept their old way of life going for so long, surviving the pogroms and Nazi occupation and resisting secularisation.

I'd love to start learning Yiddish. After all, it's one of my ancestral languages. I did four years of German at school so I know some of the underlying structure behind it, but other than that nothing apart from a few expressions adopted into English.

Careful: my grandma was a Yiddish speaker who took German. While the difficulty was a joke, it ended up overwriting her Yiddish.

StillWater
07-23-2019, 03:15 AM
It's incredible how these people kept their old way of life going for so long, surviving the pogroms and Nazi occupation and resisting secularisation.

I'd love to start learning Yiddish. After all, it's one of my ancestral languages. I did four years of German at school so I know some of the underlying structure behind it, but other than that nothing apart from a few expressions adopted into English.

Knowing Yiddish doesn't qualify as being religious. Given their remote locations and age, they almost surely were more "traditional" than their grandkids' generation in cities like Moscow and St.Petersburg. However, they probably did as much as they could safely get away with during Soviet times. None of the women in Western Belarus had their head covered and I doubt the one in Ukraine had hers covered for religious reasons. How many men had beards? They probably kept Judaism to the same extent as my ancestors did in Soviet times, who were also born pre-revolution and went to heder (religious hebrew school). Using mine as a proxy, they probably avoided non-kosher animals, kept the main holidays, and went to synagogue weekly, assuming one was around where they lived, which is doubtful post-Holocaust.