Warsaw as a Center of Yiddish Culture


The New Hebrew Culture in Warsaw | Dan Miron The new Hebrew culture ( born of the Jewish Enlightenment , the Haskalah ) was late to bloom in Warsaw , but it also withered away there before the destruction of the largest Jewish community in Europe during the Second World War . However , over the course of some three decades or more ( from the early 1880 s to the First World War ) , during the time of the Zionist “ Hebrew Renaissance , ” Warsaw was one of the leading centers of Hebrew culture in the entire world . The beginnings of this brief yet colorful and tempestuous flowering lay in the history of the Warsaw Jewish community and its standing and cultural institutions , in comparison with the Eastern European Jewish expanse taken as a whole . The Warsaw community was a long-established one , whose commercial standing ( dating from the end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries ) was owed to the city’s location at the crossroads between East and West , and between North and South . However , until the radical political plays . The theater company was consequently persecuted by the authorities , and was forced to change its name from time to time . The Azazel review theater ( 1926 ) was active in Warsaw , in the format of Polish literary cabaret . It had been founded by director David Herman . Despite the high level of the Yiddish dramatic theater , which also earned the unusual appreciation of its Polish counterparts , it was never profitable , nor did any of the theater companies have a permanent home ( unlike the popular light theater ) . Besides the unfair competition with the light theater , the dramatic theater companies had to contend with the radio , the mass press , and motion pictures . The writing on the wall was clear for the dramatic theater , but this did not deter its devoted directors and actors . In the realm of cinema , as well ( see the entry in this section by Natan Gross ) , Warsaw played an important role , attracting Jewish producers and actors from Europe and America . Two journals on the motion picture industry were published in Warsaw over the years ( Film-Velt [ Film World ] , 1928-1929 ; Film-Nayes [ Film News ] , 1936-1937 ) . The Jewish movie industry produced scores of motion pictures , many of which were intended for foreign audiences as well . For Further Reading : Natan Gross , The Jewish Film in Poland , 1910-1950 . Jerusalem 1990 ( Hebrew ) Chone Shmeruk and Samuel Werses ( eds . ) , Between Two World Wars : On the Cultural Life of the Jews in Poland in Its Three Languages , Jerusalem 1997 ( Hebrew ) Nathan Cohen , Books , Writers and Newspapers : The Jewish Cultural Center in Warsaw , 1918-1942 , Jerusalem 2003 ( Hebrew ) Chone Shmeruk , “ Aspects of the History of Warsaw as a Yiddish Literary Center , ” Polin 3 ( 1988 ) , pp . 140-55

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