Sholem Aleichem in Weimar Berlin: The Cultural Semiotics of Eastern European Jewish Performances

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Abstract

In April of 1928, the Moscow State Yiddish Theatre – also known as GOSET – went on tour in central Europe , performing in Berlin for the first and only time in its history. The Berlin audience had high expectations of the company as representa-tive of the flowering of Yiddish culture under communism, leftist German intel-lectuals who had visited Moscow during the 1920s also already being familiar with it. The tour opened with 200,000 – a Yiddish stage adaptation of Sholem Aleichem ’s Dos Groyse Gevin (The Great Win) – directed by Alexei Granovsky .¹The Berlin theatre critics received the performance with enthusiasm – even She-maryahu Gorelik , theatre critic of the Zionist Jüdische Rundschau, laying ideology aside to praise the play as the epitome of an authentic Jewish performance: They captured the ancient treasures, the deep melancholy of the Jewish nigunim [chants]. [...] This music is not a sing-song, nor is it taken from the Ukraine ; rather it is the melody that has dwelt in Jewish souls for centuries. This melody does not come not from the east, from Russia ; it comes from remote surroundings, from the Mizrah [The East].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-278
Number of pages18
JournalAschkenas: Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Kultur der Juden
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014

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