CFP (Conference): AJS Conference 2018 (Deadline 15 April 2018)

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Call for Papers
April 15, 2018
United States
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, German History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies

Yiddish Culture behind the Iron Curtain

In the aftermath of the Second World War and particularly after the Iron Curtain came down on Eastern Europe, few people could have imagined the fate of Yiddish culture in that part of the world. The high hopes that some harbored with respect to communism and its equalitarian tenets turned into nightmares by the time Jewish cultural figures began suffering “accidents” or simply vanished. Yiddish began slowly—but, most observers would have it, surely—to die.

And yet, the Jewish state theaters in the Soviet Union (1920-1949), Romania (1948-) and Poland (1949-); the small amateurish theater studios of the 1980s in the Soviet Union (Kishinev and Vilnius); the publication Sovetish heymland (1961-1991); the persistence of klezmer music in what was then East Germany through Lin Jaldati’s activity; the tireless efforts of Yiddishists such as Boris Sandler, Rokhl Boymvol, Hershl Polianker, Israil Bercovici, to name but a few, speak volumes of Yiddish’s stubborn refusal to succumb to its death pronouncement.


We invite paper proposals that address but are not limited to the following topics relating to Yiddish culture in Eastern Europe during the time of the Cold War:

  • Famous artists of the Yiddish stage: Solomon Mikhoels, Ida Kamińska, Sidy Thal, Sevilla Pastor, Ruvim Levin, Sidy Thal, etc.;
  • Hits and flops of the Yiddish stages;
  • Yiddish theaters as state institutions—challenges and successes;
  • Klezmer ensembles and their underground or mainstream activities;
  • Writers and intellectuals and their relations with the communist authorities of their respective states;
  • Writers and intellectuals in the archives of the secret police forces of former communist countries;
  • Yiddish language education behind the Iron Curtain;
  • Doublespeak in Yiddish language literature and press;
  • The legacy of the Yiddish language press in the post-communist era.


Please submit abstracts of 250 words to Joanna Mazurkiewicz ( and Corina L. Petrescu ( by April 15, 2018. You must be a member of the AJS at the time of your submission.

Contact Info: 

Joanna Mazurkiewicz (

Corina L. Petrescu (