Meeting in Argentina on Yiddish and memory

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On May 2 – 3, 2019 a regional seminar “Communities recall the Holocaust” took place in the town of Posadas, Argentina. It was organized by the Fundación IWO in cooperation with the the International Yiddish Center at the World Jewish Congress.

Over 200 participants attended the event. They came to Posadas from various cities of the Northern Region of Argentina, including Resistencia, El Dorado, Saenz Peña and Villa Angela. The number of participants was outstanding as compared to the usual attendance of such Jewish activities.

The opening speech was given by Mr. Marcos Alfici, President of the Jewish community of Posadas. He thanked the organizers for the permanent support they grant to Jewish communities in Argentina.

The academic program started with a lecture of Professor Abraham Lichtenbaum: “Yiddish literature created during the Holocaust in Europe, North America and Argentina”. He provided examples from works of various Yiddish writers, such as A. Sutzkever, Y. Glatstein, H. Leywik, and Kheos Kliger. At the end of the audience reacted with lots of comments and questions.

Ester Goren performed songs from Shmerke Kaczerginski’s “Songs of Ghettos and concentration camps”. Prof. Lichtenbaum explained the meaning of the lyrics and their historical context.

The second day started with a lecture of Prof. Lichtenbaum about the importance of personal diaries written during the Holocaust. The scholar presented the history of diaries by Immanuel Ringelblum, Herman Kruk and Yitzhok Rudashevski.

The next session included a book presentation. Josip Lewin kept his personal diary in which he registered all his significant experiences during and after WWII, until his arrival in Posadas at the end of the forties. After 70 years his heirs decided to entrust the Fundación IWO a Spanish translation of this precious document. Rosa Muzz from IWO team with supervision of Abraham Lichtenbaum completed the translation, and the book was recently published.

The presentation at a round table with participation of Dr. Carolina Repetto – the expert in literature from the National University of Misiones, and Prof. Osvaldo Mazal – local journalist and linguist.

Professor Lichtenbaum described the process of translation of this manuscript. At the end of the session, the members of Lewin family highly appreciated the work of IWO team, the support by the local community and the contribution of WJC YC for carrying out this event.

The seminar was concluded with a Shabbat dinner and traditional Yiddish songs.

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