Tag Archives: Nathalie Maullin Nathanson

Those Thousands of Yiddish Books in Vilnius?



OPINION  |  YIDDISH AFFAIRS  |  VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE

VILNIUS—Reports are mounting of inquiries about thousands of Yiddish books donated between 2000 and 2018 to “Vilnius University’s Yiddish institute” being met with Orwellian responses along the lines of “they have been deposited until further donors come forward.” After the Vilnius Yiddish Institute was closed down in 2018, and the one actual Yiddish activity of its final eight years, the intensive Vilnius Yiddish summer program, abruptly discontinued, its executive director, Dr. Sarunas Liekis, a longtime member of the state’s “red-brown commission” on Nazi and Soviet crimes, made the books unavailable to students, local and visiting scholars and the wider community. According to sources, a claim is being made that they are the personal property of the heirs of the late Richard Maullin, the donor who “bought” the (some say fictitious) shares of the institute for $25,000 from Tel Aviv resident Mendy Cahan in 2005, and then, in 2010, purged the institute of Yiddish professors not willing to go along with state Holocaust revisionist PR (Maullin was honored by a Lithuanian government medal in 2015). As a result, the “Yiddish” institute was left with no Yiddish teachers for eleven months a year from 2010 onward, but continued with the widely acclaimed summer course that was established in Oxford in 1982 and moved to Vilnius in 1998.

A documented history of these events is provided by Defending History.

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Posted in Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Those Thousands of Yiddish Books in Vilnius?

Vilnius Yiddish Projects in Urgent Need of Support & Partnership (March -April 2020)



ONLINE

ALL FREE AND WITHOUT LOG-IN

(for future in-person programs, please see below)

1

Elementary Yiddish for Lithuanian speakers: Weekly Class, Tuesdays 6 PM ONLINE

Founded by Julius Norvila (Norwilla) in autumn 2019, the weekly class for beginners has been the first in decades in Vilnius (outside summer programs) to attract also local Jewish as well as non-Jewish students. To date, the instructor has contributed his time and photocopy expenses gratis. In March 2020, the course moved from JCIC premises in central Vilnius to online. Instructor contact: Julius Norvila (juno0630@gmail.com).


2

Yiddish Cultural Dictionary: A New English-Yiddish Dictionary

See YCD’s progress to date, including 12,000 entries and 275,000 words of Yiddish text. References from leading professors of Yiddish supplied on request.


3

Translation of the Bible into Lithuanian Yiddish

See Books Completed to Date for an update on progress. Only two hard-copy editions produced so far: the Book of Ruth (in 2017), and the Book of Esther (2020).


4

Digitization and Posting Online of In-situ Interviews with Last Native Yiddish Speakers in Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and parts of northeastern Poland & Ukraine

The project entails slow and meticulous location, identification, digitization and posting online of in-situ interviews in Yiddish with the last (prewar born) native speakers of Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, northeastern Poland and eastern Ukraine, 1990 to 2020. For online samples, please see here and other sections of Dovid Katz’s channel.


5

Online Yiddish Mini-Museum of Old Jewish Vilna

Descriptions in Yiddish (hopefully to be be made multilingual when support materializes). Index page is in English. There are 77 exhibits to date.


6

Online Yiddish Mini-Museum of Interwar Lithuania

Descriptions in Yiddish (hopefully to be made multilingual when support materializes). Index page is in English. There are 18 exhibits to date.


7

Creative New Online Webinars, Courses and Learning Groups

It is important that any new online Yiddish language courses be calibrated specifically for Lithuanian or Russian (etc.) speakers, so as not to duplicate the international program available at the Workmen’s Circle (which offers full scholarships to serious participants from the countries of the former Soviet area). Of course there is, separately, wide scope for creative new projects using English and other Western language that synthesize study of Yiddish culture and the Vilna and Lithuanian Jewish heritage, including virtual tours of Yiddish cultural history in Lithuania and beyond.


 ◊

IN-PERSON (IN THE FUTURE…)

Note: These projects too can be reconceptualized digitally!

◊ 

1

Elementary Yiddish: Weekly Class, Tuesdays 6 PM at JCIC

Founded by Julius Norvila (Norwilla) in autumn 2019, the weekly class for beginners has been the first in decades in Vilnius (outside summer programs) to attract also local Jewish as well as non-Jewish students. To date, the instructor has contributed his time and photocopy expenses gratis.


2

Weekly Yiddish Reading Circle and Advanced Course at JCIC

Founded by Dovid Katz in autumn 1999, this  project, in its twenty-first year, urgently needs support, inter alia to enable a new rotating leadership and instructors. For the last five years, the project’s happy home has been the Jewish Cultutral and Information Center on Mesiniu Street in Vilnius’s old town, Wednesdays term-time at 6  PM.


3

Intensive International One-Week and Weekend Programs

A number of specific proposals, all entailing the goal of high-level Yiddish and East European Jewish cultural experiences guided by Yiddish specialist faculty, have been produced in recent months and years and provided to partnering organizations, and potential supporters. These are made available on request.


4

Revival of the Four-Week International Intensive Summer Program

The four-week summer course was founded at Oxford in 1982 by Dovid Katz, and moved to Vilnius in 1998, where it continued, under diverse auspices through 2018. The one-month model, entailing language instruction at four levels (elementary, intermediate, higher intermediate and advanced) proved highly successful and following an initial investment had for years proven itself self-sustaining both at Oxford and in Vilnius.  The program’s eventual revival will hopefully transpire free from interference from state “red-brown” commissions, genocide centers, Jew-free “Jewish” institutions with Holocaust revisionist aims, and their local satellites. Yiddish can and will flourish in a politics-free environment, where Jewish and non-Jewish participants feel equally at home, and with emphasis on academic, linguistic and educational quality, far from the politics of the time and place, least of all Holocaust revisionism in the spirit of the suave new antisemitic far right in Eastern Europe that works tirelessly to glorify local perpetrators, not seldom under cover of “Yiddish and Jewish projects.” The independence of the fragile field of Yiddish studies from politics is vital.


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Curious History of a Yiddish Professorship at Vilnius University & its “Vilnius Yiddish Institute”


LAST UPDATE



YIDDISH AND JUDAIC STUDIES MANIPULATED FOR HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM  | VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE  |  BORNS JEWISH STUDIES PROGRAM AT INDIANA UNIVERSITY  |  RICHARD MAULLIN

Its Prehistory (1990-1999), History (1999-2010) and Posthistory (2010-2018) from the Year of Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence Onward

CAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES STILL WRITE INDIVIDUALS OUT OF HISTORY IN POST-SOVIET SPACE? DO VILNIUS UNIVERSITY’S DEANS AND RECTOR APPROVE OF THE PRACTICE? CAN A PAST PROFESSOR WITH A PERFECT RECORD OVER 11 YEARS (NO COMPLAINTS, NO INCIDENTS) BE WRITTEN OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY’S HISTORY AND DEFAMED IN THE UNIVERSITY’S NAME ON ORDERS OF SOMEONE AT THE “INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE EVALUATION OF THE CRIMES OF THE NAZI AND SOVIET REGIMES IN LITHUANIA” (THE “RED-BROWN COMMISSION“)?

A “for the record” page in progress, developed in response to repeated public statements by the current director of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, a member of the state-sponsored Commission on Nazi and Soviet crimes, claiming that Defending History’s editor (a) was never a professor at the university, (b) if he was an elementary Yiddish alphabet teacher paid by some surfers in California, he got fired for not turning up to work. Further documents are being processed for inclusion in the bizarre but curiously telling chapter of the history of Yiddish Studies in the 21st century. The political manipulation (ranging from West European far-left to East European far-right) of Yiddish-less “Yiddish” is a theme in the final chapter of Yiddish and Power (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) by the Yiddishist in question, Dovid Katz.

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Posted in "Jewish" Events as Cover?, Bloomington-Borns Program Manipulated?, Free Speech & Democracy, Identity Theft of Litvak Heritage, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Richard Maullin, Views of Mr. Ronaldas Račinskas, Views of Prof. Sarunas Liekis, Vilnius Yiddish Institute, Yiddish Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Curious History of a Yiddish Professorship at Vilnius University & its “Vilnius Yiddish Institute”