The Mendele Review: Yiddish Literature and Language
(A Companion to MENDELE)

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Contents of Vol. 12.005 [Sequential No. 196]
Date: 20 February 2008

Partisans Issue (Part One)

1) This issue of TMR (ed).
2)
Der oyfrays fun a soldatn-heym (Part One) ('The Demolition of a Soldier's Home') [Moyshe Gildenman (Dyadya/Diadia Misha, pseud.)]
3) About the brochure Oyfn veg tsum zig ('On the Way to Victory')
4) Yiddish Partisan Songs: Multiple versions of "Zog nisht keyn mol az du geyst dem letstn veg"

[Part Two of the above story will appear in the next issue of TMR]

1)---------------------------------------------------
Date: 20 February 2008
From: ed.
Subject:
This issue of TMR

It took many years before the extent of Jewish resistance to the Nazis in the Shoa period was fully realized and the earlier "lambs to slaughter" view reversed. Today we know a great deal about heroic opposition in death camps and about the meagerly armed partisans in forests who strove to sabotage the German armies. In this issue of TMR we present the first half of an apparently true narrative by the partisan leader of a large guerilla unit that went under the name "Diadia Misha." [See the entry under the name Gildenman, Moyshe in Leksikon fun der nayer yiddisher literature (New York, 1958), vol. 2, cols 212-213.] Dyadya Misha was the pen name under which engineer and later writer Moyshe Gindelman of Korets (1898-1957) memorialized his fighters in stories which may be slightly fictionalized but are essentially realistic. Yad VaShem includes in its deeply moving internet exhibition of Shoa-associated artifacts three items which bear directly on the story "Der oyfrays fun a soldatn-heym." They are all powerful, but that of Motele's violin is the most central to the story: Motele's violin:

 

[This is thankfully taken from the new Artifact Exhibition in Yad VaShem. See too the Songbook of Misha and the eulogy prayer for fallen comrades.]

 

Gindelman's story of the violinist-partisan Motele gains in realism by being fixed in space Ovrutsh (Yiddish) / Ovruch / Owrucz / Ovruc / Owrutsch (see map) and in time August 1943 when a Red Army assault is awaited. Most essentially this is a story of revenge. Much Shoa writing centers on revenge, but as we may deduce from the quintessential Shoa song "Zog nisht keyn mol az du geyst dem letstn veg" [see below], victims often bravely moved beyond hatred of the enemy to nurture a vision of a more human future. But hate their enemies they did. Motele's partisan action in blowing up a German officer's club concludes with a scene in which he exults in his act of destruction, less a military victory than a private one. Motele experiences a powerful visceral emotion, some release from accumulated grief and sorrow this is no abstract and bloodless hatred. Motele's last words in the story as he views the burning Ovrutsh are: "dos iz far mayne eltern un far mayn kleyner Bashyele."

 

2)-------------------------

Date: 20 February 2008

From: ed.

Subject: "Der oyfrays fun a soldatn-heym" (Part One); 'The Demolition of a Soldier's Home' [M. Gildenman (Dyadya Misha, pseud.)], pp. 5-10.

 


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[Continued in TMR 12.006]

 

3)----------------------------------------------------
Date: 20 February 2008
From: ed.
Subject: Oyfn veg tsum zig ('On the Way to Victory'):
Peregrinations of a pamphlet.

On the 4th of April 1950 in Paris, approximately seven years after completing his 48-page brochure Oyfn veg tsum zig: tipn fun yidishe partizaner, Engineer Moshe Gildenman, writing under the pen name Dyadya Misha (as well as under his own) inscribed a copy of this collection of four stories to the Manchester (UK) Yiddish activist L. Alman. The latter contributed his library of Yiddish books to the Pevsner Library of the city of Haifa. About ten years ago, this municipal library decided there were too few Yiddish readers to justify maintenance of a large Yiddish section and threw or gave away most of it. [See below: stamp of ownership and on title page the stamp authorizing sale (or riddance) of the item. "Ha-sefer nimkar ke-blay" means 'The book is sold as wastage' (or as 'depreciation')]. I received the pamphlet which is the subject of this issue of TMR. The author dedicated his brochure "with sacred piety" to his "unforgettable comrades-in-arms who died for the honor of the Jewish people and whose graves are scattered throughout the forests of Ukraine and Belorussia." Copies of this somberly dedicated publication are today as scattered as the graves of the author's comrades. According to a recent catalogue of the bookseller Dan Wyman (see below), neither the Holocaust Museum nor Harvard own copies the situation may of course have changed since the catalogue appeared. Happily, a recent check of the National Yiddish Book Centre reveals that a digital copy of Oyfn veg. is being prepared. (All digital copies cost $48.00 to non-members; $36 to members.) In all of Israel I located a single copy at the Hebrew University & National Library.

Oyfn veg tsum zig

 

photo of the author

 

title-page and author's dedication to Alman

 

printed dedication to fallen comrades

 

47 Dartmouth St. Springfield, MA 01109
ph: 413.846.6357 e-fax: 208.567.8926
Dan@DanWymanBooks.com
www.danwymanbooks.com

48. 7554 (Korets) Gildenman, M. [ & Pseudonym Diadya Misha] KHURBN KORETS / HURBAN KORETS [BOUND WITH] YIDISHE TEKHTER [BOUND WITH] OYFN VEG TSUM ZIG : TIPN FUN YIDISHE PARTIZANER. Paris: M. Gildenman,1950. 1st Edition. Cloth, 8vo. 78, 208, 48 pages. Professionally rebound in cloth with marbled endpapers, retaining the original illustrated front cover for OFYN VEG... And the textual front cover of YIDISHE TEKHTER. Very Good Condition. 19 cm. No copy of any of the 3 at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Harvard lists only a 1955 copy of Yidishe Tekhter (may be a typo?). Oyfn Veg is from the Yidishe folks bibliotek series. Khurbn Korets is written under the name of Glidenman; the other two under the name of Diadya Misha. Somewhat scarce. $175.00

bookseller notice of three of author's works

4)-----------------------------------------------------

Date: 20 February 2008

From: Robert Goldenberg

Subject: Yiddish Partisan Songs

 

This is a remarkable web site which gives us no fewer than ten artists ( Khave Alberstein , Theodore Bikel , Adrienne Cooper, Shimon Israeli , Jan Peerce Sherm Labovitz Nekhama Lifshitz The Polish Army Orchestra Paul Robeson Paul Robeson (English Version) , Rebeca Wave & John Sonquist) singing the best known of all partisan songs, Hirsh Glik's "Zog nisht keyn mol az du geyst dem letstn veg." A famous rendition of this stirring song is that of the famed Paul Robeson, who sings the song both in Yiddish and English. Karaoke in Yiddish, English, French and Spanish is another feature of this site. A great deal has been written about the writer of this song, Hirsh Glik (1920-1944). See this same website's brief sketch at: http://savethemusic.com/yiddish/bin/music.cgi?Page=zognitkeynmol&Author=hglick and the following two sites: http://www.deathcamps.org/occupation/glik.html and http://epyc.yivo.org/content/11_7.php.

There are a number of other performances of this song. Meredith's rendition is also worth mentioning.

Click on the gramophone to hear Meredith sing "Zog nisht keyn mol az du geyst dem letstn veg"

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End of The Mendele Review Issue 12.005

Editor, Leonard Prager
Editorial Associate, Robert Goldenberg

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