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Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish: The Trilingual Culture of Jews in Poland • Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin)

February 21, 2017 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

A number of scholars have stressed the multilingual character of Jewish culture in various countries. In the case of Polish Jews the three main languages were Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish, although German and Russian also played a role, especially during the time of the Partitions. An eminent scholar in the field of Yiddish, Chone Shmeruk, perceived the culture of Polish Jews as a dynamic polysystem whose strength lay in the interaction of the linguistic areas and not their isolation. Nowadays more and more scholars see the need and even a necessity to look at the culture of Polish Jews from such a perspective. This is visible in the newly established Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw and various publications. Although secular Yiddish culture was largely destroyed in the Holocaust and it aftermath, the growing academic and popular interest in Yiddish language and literature reveals that understanding them requires the knowledge of the two other components: Hebrew and Polish. This lecture will present the main characteristics of the trilingual culture of Polish Jews in both a historical and modern perspective.

m-adamczyk-garbowska-photo2015Monika Adamczyk-Garbowska is Professor of American and Comparative Literature at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland. She is the author and translator of more than 300 publications in Polish, English, French, Russian, Hebrew and Yiddish. She is the recipient of the Jan Karski & Pola Nirenska Award for her research and teaching on Jewish culture and Yiddish literature and language. She is a member of the editorial board of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry and Studia Judaica.


This talk is made possible by University Studies Grant from the International Visegrad Fund.


February 21, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm