Writings On Yiddish and Yiddishkayt, The War Years, 1939-1945 is the first major effort to fill the gap between the Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer's Yiddish and English oeuvre. David Stromberg, editor of the Singer Literary Trust, presents 25 never-before-translated essays originally published between 1939-1945, which were selected from over 150 written by Singer during WWII.
Knowing that a whole world, a whole way of life, a whole cultural treasure bound up with Yiddish and Yiddishkayt--that they were all going up in flames before his very eyes--was crushing for Singer, driving him to put pen to paper and write. His wartime writing--appearing in an intensely urgent tone--sought to record not only the customs but also the immediacy of the loss that was taking place at that very moment.
David Stromberg's chronological presentation of Singer's highly readable articles takes readers on a dual journey: one of history, and one of a writer watching history unfold. Every piece in Writings on Yiddish and Yiddishkayt was originally published in the Forverts, the world's largest and most influential Yiddish newspaper. Stromberg's careful curation, contextual explanations, and excellent translations give the readers a unique lens onto the past. While Singer's foresight, expressions of hope, and scathing critique of demagogues and fascism are products of their time, they are just as essential—and as chillingly relevant—in 2023.