Sunday, January 30, 2011

The March of Time (1937): Poland and War

I am currently watching one of the "March of Time" thirty-minute films (Volume 3, Number 11), this one from 11 Jun 1937, and one part of it is entitled "Poland and War."

In one scene (the segment is less than six mintues long) the film's narrator is talking about the increasing attacks on the Jews of Europe, and they show a number of certificates that I believe are hanging on an office wall in some European town or city, and there are names of Jews printed on these certificates.

I can't say from what city/town these certificates hung--perhaps Danzig, or Warsaw, Galicia, Lithuania, or a town in the Bialystok region, I can't tell from the newsreel footage--but I would be remiss if I didn't pass these names on to you. I can't really read what else is printed on these
certificates, but can tell you the names as they are the largest printing on said certificates.

So then here are the names:

Estera Adlermanowna
Mendla Apfel
Abraham Schwannanfeld
Abraham Selig Rappaport
Wolf Mamber (the second 'm' and 'b' are a bit suspect)
Sarah z Tuchmanow Krebsowa
Leib Schwarz
Gedale Loffler

I'll keep my eyes open for more names, etc. One never knows where one may find a name of interest.

If you'd like to see a complete list of segments of all the "March of Time" films, click here.
To view links to complete "March of Time" segments, including the one mentioned here, click here. To do this, you'll be asked by the website to create a user name and password.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Jewish Folk Style in the Wooden Wall Paintings of Eastern Europe

A new online exhibition entitled "The Jewish Folk Style in the Wooden Wall Paintings of Eastern Europe" is now available for viewing at the Museum of Family History. This exhibition should be of interest to those of you who are interested in art history, or simply the old wooden synagogues that once existed aplenty in Europe, particularly in the Ukraine.

This exhibition is replete with many black and white and color photographs, including a number of the exteriors of some wooden synagogues and more of the interior wall paintings of others. This exhibition comes to you courtesy of an associate professor of art history in Kharkov, Ukraine. Professor Kotlyar gives interesting insights into the paintings themselves, as only an art historian can.

Most of the photos of wall paintings presented are of synagogues associated with the Ukraine. They represent such towns as (in alphabetical order): Drogobych, Gorodok, Gvozdetz, Khodrov, Kopys, Mikhalpol, Moghilev on the Dnieper, Norinsk, Novomirgorod, Smotrich, Talne, Targoritza, Unterlimpurg and Yaryshev.

The exhibition may be found by clicking here. More exhibitions are always welcome from those on the outside who are willing to contribute them for display at the Museum. Please contact the Museum if you're willing to put together an exhibition for online display.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" Museum Transliteration Project Complete

The Museum has now completed the transliteration from Yiddish to English of all names listed within the six volumes of Zalmen Zylbercweig's "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre."

On this database is included the following information (all when available):

Surname, given name, alterate names, date of birth, date of death, and town and country of birth (usually the name of the town at the time they were born--most were born in the second half of the nineteenth century or first decade of the twentieth).

Also listed is the page on which each name appears in these six volumes, not only the original book page number, but also the page number on the pdf version that's online--this is a very helpful finding aid when trying to locate a specific page. In addition, there are also thirty Yiddish theatre organizations included within this master list.

YIVO orthographic (name spelling) standards have been used most often in compiling this database, though this was a daunting task.

There are more than 2,700 individual names listed within this master list. The most often represented town/city of individual births is not unexpectedly Warszawa; the number is 213, more than double the number of the second most frequent, Lodz; then farther down the list but close behind comes Odessa, Lemberg, Vilna and Iasi.

These six volumes of the Lexicon were published in either New York City, Warsaw or Mexico City between 1931 and 1969. The entire six volumes are in Yiddish, so while transliterating the names was a very time-consuming task, it was doable even for a non-Yiddish speaker.

There is much good information biographically for most of those individuals listed. It is hoped that fluent Yiddish speakers will come forth and volunteer to translate some of these passages into English. If you'd like to volunteer to translate--perhaps you have a town of interest and would like to add a translated biography to your own town webpage--please contact the Museum.

It should be noted that not all Yiddish actors and actresses that ever lived are included within these six volumes, but there is more than enough names and information about individuals and organizations and theatre groups to maintain one's interest, assuming one's interest lies in the Yiddish theatre.

Within these six volumes, there are also many photos of scenes of plays, of actors in their roles and many illustrations.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" Museum Transliteration Project

The Museum is currently in the midst of a small project to transliterate (in this case exchange the Yiddish/Hebrew letters listed for the English) Zalmen Zylbercweig's six-volume "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre."

This is a bit of an undertaking as these volumes are rather large, but the project is at least halfway done. The names listed in volumes 3, 4 and 5 have been transliterated to date, and Volume 1 will be completed shortly.

Even though the transliterated names and associated page numbers for Volume 5 can be found on JewishGen by clicking here, the Museum's name listings are more complete. The Museum has corrected many errors and omissions that were found in the Volume 5 listing.

Also the Museum's own listings for each of the volumes, not only have surnames, given names and "alternate names" been included, but when listed, the individual's date of birth and death are given, as well as the town/city and country of their birth. The Museum has tried to use the YIVO orthographic standards in the spellings of the names, though there are no doubt errors here too.

You can now find Zylbercweig's six volumes online (for free) by clicking here. Simply search for these volumes by using the words "Leksikon fun Yidishn teater".

Also, not only are the actual page numbers listed for each entry as in the original Yiddish-language volume, but the pdf page number has been added too, so all you have to do is enter that page number where the individual's name (and most often photos) appears.

It might be interesting for those of you who have familial ties with European countries and towns to see what person associated with the Yiddish theatre in some way came from that town or city. It should be to no one's surprise that the towns/cities that are most associated with these many names are Warsaw, Lodz, Vilna and Lemberg(L'viv).

The Museum hopes to complete this project within the next two or three weeks. If you need any lookups, please let the Museum know by e-mail. Of course you might want to wait till the Museum is finished with all six volumes. I understand that Volume 7 has never been published, and that parts of it sit in various repositories, so it is unlikely that the Museum be able to transliterate the names in that volume unless the institution/person that has it makes it available.

The Museum is hoping to put this information, once completed, on a free, online searchable database.