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Bialystok. They started a Yiddish course. Before World War II, this language was common in the city

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A Yiddish course has started in “The Place” – a mini-museum devoted to the history of Jews, which has recently been established in Białystok. More than 20 people came to the first lesson. You could go back in time and learn the language that was common in the city before World War II.

– In Yiddish, what is mine is mine and what is yours is also mine. Yiddish borrowed from various languages ​​that were around him. For example, if Jews lived in Russiathen from Russian, and if in Poland, then from Polish – told us Julius Norvilla from Kaunas.

On Friday, June 23, he came to Białystok to teach the first Yiddish lesson. More than 20 people came. Classes were held at “The Place”, i.e. in the mini-museum at ul. Modlińska 6.

The classes were conducted by Julius Norvilla. He came to Białystok from Kaunas Tomasz Mikulicz

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There are stacks of Yiddish newspapers in the archives

– Known Julius for many years. He is passionate about Jewish history. He completed Yiddish language courses. He also knows several languages. I thought it would be worth inviting him to visit us – said Tomasz Wiśniewski, one of the creators of “The Place”.

When asked where the idea to start learning this language in Białystok came from, he replies that in the archives in Białystok, Grodno and many other cities there are piles of newspapers that were published in Yiddish, and no one explores these historical sources.

Tomasz Wiśniewski: There are a thousand words in Polish implemented from YiddishTomasz Mikulicz

– But how is he supposed to explore it when, with a few exceptions, no one knows this language? So I hope that Yiddish will be a source of knowledge not only of Jewish culture and history, but also of our common history. Bialystok Jews spoke Yiddish, they wrote literature in this language, our interlocutor noted.

The first such course after World War II

He read somewhere that in Polish there are a thousand words implemented from Yiddish that are still in circulation.

– In the parliament they shout: chutzpah. It’s a word from the Jewish language. As far as I know, Yiddish courses are held in Wrocław, Łódź, Kraków and Warsaw. The one that starts today in Białystok is the first since World War II. Classes will probably be continued in September and October, emphasized Wiśniewski.

Participant: good time to start

We also talk to the participants of the classes.

– I am Jewish, and there was never an opportunity to learn Yiddish. So I thought it was a good time to try it,” Zofia Piech told us.

Zofia Piech: this is a good time to try it

Zofia Piech: this is a good time to try itTomasz Mikulicz

Greta Ellmers will also learn Yiddish.

– I have Jewish roots. I remember that when my mother and her sister wanted to talk to each other so that I could not understand them, they spoke Yiddish. I am very happy that the idea to learn this language was born in Białystok and that there is someone who still knows it – she told us.

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More than 20 people came Tomasz Mikulicz

Similar to German, but you have to learn from scratch

During the course, participants asked what is “good morning” or “thank you” in Yiddish, it turned out that these phrases sound similar to those in German. However, as the host warned, although Yiddish and German are quite similar, both languages ​​must be learned from the beginning.

– It’s not that if someone speaks German, they will immediately know Yiddish – emphasized Julius Norvilla.

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Not to be confused with Hebrew

However, when asked about the origin of Yiddish, he explained that it should not be confused with Hebrew – the main language of Judaism – and its sources must be sought in the language used in the 10th century by the Jewish population of the Rhineland.

They learned basic phrases Tomasz Mikulicz

– Some even wonder if Yiddish is older than German or vice versa. However, this is an academic discussion – noted the lecturer.

We read not from left to right, but from right to left

He also said that Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Polish Yiddish were used in our part of Europe, and that Bialystok lies on the border between Lithuanian and Polish. On the other hand, moving on to learning the language, he reminded us that Yiddish is read in the opposite way than, for example, in Polish. So not left to right, but right to left. He also pronounced the sound of individual letters and showed that some of them had similar spellings.

There is still a lot of work ahead of the course participants…

Main photo source: Tomasz Mikulicz



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