mercredi 10 juin 2009

the center for jewish history in New York

Last week end I was in NY and went to the center for jewish history (http://www.cjh.org/). 

Inside this center there is the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research Founded in 1925 in Vilna, Poland (Wilno, Poland, now Vilnius, Lithuania), as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, the YIVO is dedicated to the history and culture of Ashkenazi Jewry. Headquartered in New York City since 1940, today YIVO is the world's preeminent resource center for East European Jewish Studies; Yiddish language, literature and folklore; and the American Jewish immigrant experience. The YIVO Library holds over 385,000 volumes in 12 major languages, and the Archives contains more than 24,000,000 pieces, including manuscripts, documents, photographs, sound recordings, art works, films, posters, sheet music, and other artifacts.

The team there was very helpful. You can make research on web databases (online research here) and ask for the books in the library.

I asked for the Yizkor book of Skuodas, The Yizkor books were written after the Holocaust as memorials to Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust.  They were usually put together by survivors from those communities and contain descriptions and histories of the shtetl, biographies of prominent people, lists of people who perished, etc.  They are often embellished with photos, maps, and other memorabilia.

I got mine in hebrew (lucky me :-) ) so it took me longer than expected to go through it. there is a lot of detailed stories about the day to day life in the skuodas community, from the open hours of the bank, to the organisation for children or detailed about schools. 

Good news : you can have access on the web to digitilized Yizkor books on the New York Public Library web site.

Here is the Skuodas Yizkor book

Thanks to Milla who works at Yivo and was so nice with me.

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