Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Maurice Schwartz and his Yiddish Art Theatre

For more than sixty years Yiddish acting great Maurice Schwartz has directed and performed in more than one hundred plays both domestically and abroad. His dedication to performing plays of the highest quality exemplifies the artistry that occurred within the Yiddish Theatre in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. The Yiddish Theatre, in all its glory, was at its zenith on the Lower East Side of New York City, especially in the area on or about Second Avenue.

The photograph included here is of Schwartz (left) and novelist I. J. Singer, author of the novel from which Schwartz created the play "Yoshe Kalb."

For those of you whose interest lies in Yiddish theatre, you will enjoy perusing the more than twenty pages found within this exhibition. You can not only read about Maurice Schwartz the man (a link to an unpublished biography of Schwartz can be found within this exhibition), but also the actor. You can also see photographs of many of his productions and learn a bit about many of the Yiddish Art Theatre productions themselves, i.e. not only the plays his troupe performed, but also those who worked behind the scenes as well and the playwrights themselves. You will also learn a bit about Schwartz's acting troupe itself and the myriad of talented actors and actresses that once graced the Yiddish stage.

For those of you who do research about the Yiddish theatre, you will find not only a listing of most all his YAT productions, but also a page that lists in greater detil more than one hundred of his productions. This is especially interesting because of information these listings contain, e.g. full cast listing of the majority of those productions listed. You will typically find the title of the production, the playwright's name, the location and name of the theatre in which the YAT performed this production at, and the month and year the production opened. I am still missing information on many of these listings as well as complete information on other YAT productions, so if anyone has information that isn't available on this webpage, please contact me.

Though some of the material found within this exhibition has previously been presented by this online Museum, there is much new to be seen. To see this exhibition, please click here. The aforementioned page listing the more than one hundred YAT productions with casts of characters can be found at here. You can also find a listing with links to most of the Yiddish Theatre material at the Museum of Family History's Yiddish World here.

Lastly, for those of you who wish to hear and read in Yiddish (and English) some poetry written by Itzik Manger and Peretz Miransky, please visit the Museum's Yiddish Vinkl Poetry Corner here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New film: "Martin: The Story of Dr. Martin Kieselstein"

Dr. Martin Kieselstein is both a Romanian/Transylvanian Jew and a Holocaust Survivor, having been imprisoned in Auschwitz, Rotschweig, Alach and Dachau.

Today he lives in Israel and has become a prodigious artist, having produced many sculptures relating to the Holocaust in such mixed media as glass, bronze, clay and wood. The Museum of Family History welcomes a ten-minute film about Dr. Kieselstein and his work which can now be found within the Museum's Screening Room. This film serves as a companion piece to the Museum's online exhibition about Dr. Kieselstein which presents to you two dozen of his sculptures.

You can find the online exhibition of Dr. Kieselstein's work here.

You can find the film about Dr. Kieselstein here. This film is in Hebrew with English subtitles.

The entire list of the Screening Room's thirty-two films with links to each can be found here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Jewish Community in the Carpathian Mountains: The Story of Munkacs

For those of you who are interested in Munkacs, or simply care to see how a wonderful institution has chosen to honor one of the many vanished Jewish communities of Europe, Yad Vashem has put together an interesting online exhibition about the town, both before and after the Holocaust. You can find it here.

The town has been known by names depending on the country which possessed it at the time. It has been known as Munkacs, Hungary; Mukacevo, Czechoslovakia; Mukachevo, Soviet Union; and what it is known as today, i.e. Mukacheve, Ukraine.

The Munkacs synagogue is pictured above, as it once existed circa 1930.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New at the Museum's Screening Room: "A Film Unfinished" About the Warsaw Ghetto

At the end of WWII, sixty minutes of raw film, having sat undisturbed in an East German archive, were discovered. Shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and labeled simply "Ghetto," this footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel complicated earlier readings of the footage. A FILM UNFINISHED presents the raw footage in its entirety, carefully noting fictionalized sequences (including a staged dinner party) falsely showing "the good life" enjoyed by Jewish urbanites, and probes deep into the making of a now-infamous Nazi propaganda film. A FILM UNFINISHED is a film of enormous import, documenting some of the worst horrors of our time and exposing the efforts of its perpetrators to propel their agenda and cast it in a favorable light.

You can see the film preview here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chicago's Vishnevets Landsmanshaftn Society Members List, cir 1930s

For those of you who are Vishnevets, Ukraine researchers, you might like to visit my "Landsmanshaftn in America" page on Vishnevets. Vishnevets is located in Western Ukraine (see photo). The Vishnevets webpage contains a partial listing of members of the Chicago Vishnevets landsmanshaftn society, cir 1930s. There are about thirty-five names there, though these weren't all the members of the society. There is another list somewhere that has many more, and hopefully I'll receive this second list and add it to the one currently online.

To view this list, visit the main exhibition page here and click on the "enter" link at the end of the introductory text. Then on the Table of Contents page click on the page name listed under Vishnevets. As a bonus, you will also find what presumably is their contact (home) address at the time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Update on Two Upcoming Exhibitions at the Museum of Family History

The Museum of Family History is readying two new online exhibitions about the Jewish "experience" in Europe before, during and after World War II and the Holocaust.

These two exhibitions (and a third one to come later this year or early next) will, after the exhibition is finished, be partly integrated into the Museum's "World War II and the Holocaust" wing.

These two exhibitions will deal mainly with the Jewish ghettos that were formed in Europe during World War II as well as more than three dozen concentration, extermination, labor and transit camps that much of the Jewish population of Europe were incarcerated in.

The third exhibition, entitled "Persecution and Flight: The Nazi Campaign Against the Jews," will similar in nature to the other two exhibitions, though it will mostly deal with the period before the Second World War.

Within these exhibitions you will see photographs taken in Europe before, during and after the war. You will also see and hear testimony from some who survived the War. Most interestingly, perhaps for some, will be the many pieces of postal mail that will demonstrate to the Museum visitor some of the types of mail that were sent between those imprisoned (as well as from some who worked in the ghettos and camps) and the outside world. I would suspect that most who will visit these two exhibitions have never seen such examples, or at least very few at best.

There is still time for those of you who might have interesting period photographs, audio and video clips, written testimony, that might fit in well with the theme of these exhibitions. If you do have such material and wish for the Museum to add it to the exhibitions, please contact the Museum at postmaster@museumoffamilyhistory.com with the following phrase in the Subject line of your e-mail "World War II and the Holocaust Exhibitions."

The first ones to view these two new online exhibitions will be those who have signed up to receive the Museum's e-newsletter "Perspectives," which to date has only been published twice, the last time quite a while ago. This is a perk of signing up for the newsletter, i.e. you get a chance to preview selected new exhibitions before the general public.

Perhaps three or four weeks subsequent to the sending out of Perspectives, a general announcement will be made to the public of its availability. Thus if you have not already done so, you might like to sign up for Perspectives. You can do so by clicking here. Please read the entire Perspectives signup page before signing up.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Six more films by Tomek Wisniewski

At the Museum of Family History you can now view six new short films created from both pre-WWII and current photographs and film clips by Bialystok, Poland native Tomek Wisniewski.

The film titles include:
--Bialystok Cemetery: Painted Gravestone (Bialystok)
--The Fourth Partition of Poland: Bialystok Brest 1939 (Bialystok)
--Lodz Litzmanstadt 1939 (Lodz)
--Szczuczyn Kolno Wizna Łomża 1939 (Lomza)
--The Old Jewish Cemetery on Okopowa Street 1942 (Warsaw)
--Snapshots of Jewish Warsaw 1939-1942 (Warsaw)

You can find the links to these six films of Tomek's (along with links to fifty-one of his other films) by clicking here. The films and links on this page are listed according to the name of the town or city associated with the particular film.