1 December: Yiddish and Ukraine — A View through the Translation

Talk with Katerina Kuznetsova and Iryna Zrobok

With Katerina Kuznetsova and Iryna Zrobok

Yiddish and Ukraine have a long and rich history of literary interconnections. In the event, we will speak about how these connections were realized in translations, both from Ukrainian into Yiddish and from Yiddish into Ukrainian. The first part will include an introductory lecture about Yiddish culture in Ukraine after the October Revolution, the translation politics in the Soviet Union, and translations between the two languages in the 1930s. In the second part, Yiddishist and translator Iryna Zrobok will speak about the Ukrainian publications of Yiddish writers in the last decades and will present her translational project.

Katerina Kuznetsova is a Berlin-based researcher of Yiddish literature and a Yiddish teacher. She has a master’s degree in Yiddish Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she was writing about the translations of Sholem Aleykhem’s works.

Iryna Zrobok, originally from Lviv, lives in Berlin since the beginning of the war. She is a translator and Yiddish literature scholar. Iryna works with the “Dukh i litera” Research and Publishing Association that published, among others, translations from Yiddish into Ukrainian and research on Yiddish Studies.

Thursday, 1 December 2022, 7PM
during the exhibition MIR ZENEN DO! [photos]

The event will be held in the English language, with examples of poetry in Yiddish and Ukrainian.

Hasselwerder Str. 22
12439 Berlin-Schöneweide

Admission free — Donations welcome

With the kind support of the Partnership for Democracy Schöneweide with funds from the federal program Democracy Live!

22 November: Ukraine in the works of Sholem Aleichem

Das verschneite Denkmal des jiddischen Schriftstellers Scholem Alejchem in Kyiv
The statue of Sholem Aleichem in Kyiv, Ukraine (c) Oleh Kushch / Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, the event is cancelled due to illness.

With Oleksandra Uralova (Kyiv/Berlin)

Within the literatures of Eastern Europe, Sholem Aleichem is one of the most important Jewish writers who wrote in Yiddish. Sholem Aleichem deals with the life of Jewish communities at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the relationships between Jewish and Christian neighbors, the connection between world history, politics and Jewish everyday life – and all of this is encountered in these texts against the background a Ukrainian landscape.

Born in Pereyaslav in Kyiv region, Sholem Aleichem, the master of “laughing through tears”, has visited many places that can be found on the contemporary map of Ukraine. And so our sarcastic author describes in his works the Ukrainian villages and towns parallel to the shtetln, where in the time of the Russian Empire the Jewish population had to live in the so-called Pale of Settlement.

Oleksandra Uralova is a researcher, writer and Yiddish teacher from Kyiv, who also works in the field of literary translation from Yiddish into Ukrainian. In 2019 she received the Feller Kovba Prize of the Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies for her translation of Sholem Aleichem’s “Tevye, the Milkman”, and in the spring of 2022 her translations of Avrom Sutzkever’s “From the Vilna Ghetto” and “Green Aquarium” were awarded awarded the Sholem-Aleichem State Prize.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022, 7PM
during the exhibition MIR ZENEN DO!

Event mainly in german language.

Hasselwerder Str. 22
12439 Berlin-Schöneweide

Admission free — Donations welcome

Kindly supported by the Partnership for Democracy Schöneweide with funds from the federal program Demokratie leben!

9 November: Opening of the exhibition MIR ZENEN DO!

Poster der Ausstellung MIR ZENEN DO!
The flyer for Mir Zenen Do, November 2022

From H.J. Psotta’s 85th birthday to the 10th anniversary of his death, moving poets berlin/NOVILLA are exhibiting images from seven decades and releasing Psotta from oblivion. The focus is on his _rosa paraphrases, a cycle that began as part of the collage series Pornography in 1978–79, when Psotta first reproduced a childhood photograph of his mother Rosa. His engagement with this photograph continued in various guises, culminating in his Peruvian drawing cycles from his time with Grupo Chaclacayo (1982-88), where he linked the image of the mother with that of Saint Rosa of Lima, stylizing it into a universal symbol of suffering. This preoccupation lasted almost a decade and this last act alone encompasses more than 100 A3-sized sheets… We are displaying some of them.

Other aspects are offered by the cycle Ode tsu der toyb. In early 2022, Arndt Beck once again took up a theme from the Yiddish poet Avrom Sutzkever by interweaving the photograph of Martha, the very last North American passenger pigeon who died in captivity in 1914, with Sutzkever’s book-length poem. This ode is complemented by Psotta’s earlier works and photographs by Beck, all of which thematically play with the symbol of the pigeon.

In Psotta, we find an artist who added something unique to his time, who waves at us from the beyond with a smile, full of unspent beauty, because he preferred to fly under the radar.

Opening: November 9, 7 pm
Music: Zhenja Oks

Hasselwerder Str. 22
12439 Berlin-Schöneweide

Opening hours: Wed 6-9 pm | Sat 4-7 pm | Sun 2-5 pm

at all events and by appointment: mobe@movingpoets.org | +49 177 3154530

Not on 24/25 December


Further events in cooperation with yiddish.berlin:

November 22, 7 pm: Ukraine in the Works of Scholem Aleichem with Oleksandra Uralova (Facebook event) cancelled due to illness!

December 01, 7 pm: Yiddish and Ukraine – A View through the Translation with Katerina Kuznetsova and Iryna Zrobok (Facebook event)

December 08, 8 pm: Queer Yiddish with Jake Schneider (Facebook event)

December 14, 7 pm: New Yiddish Song with Sveta Kundish & Patrick Farrell (Facebook event)

December 29, 8 pm: H.J. Psottas Yortsayt with Arndt Beck (Facebook event)

Detailed info coming soon here.

2 November: The Newest Yiddish Poetry

Flyer for reading in Yiddish and English.

Yiddish Berlin presents:
"the newest yiddish poetry"

jake schneider
katerina kuznetsova
jordan lee schnee

arndt beck

berlin kreuzberg
dresdener str. 14
november 2, 8PM"

Yiddish.Berlin is thrilled. After years of hard work, three gutsy, talented voices from our own circle are ready to present their own original Yiddish poetry. Be there when Jake Schneider, Katerina Kuznetsova, and Jordan Lee Schnee share their creations with the public for the first time. With an introduction by Arndt Beck.

Counterclockwise from top-right: Arndt Beck, Jake Schneider, Katerina Kuznetsova, Jordan Lee Schnee

Spring and Summer 2022

After the closing of our successful exhibition Mageyfe | Milkhome | Mame-Loshn in June, we’ve taken a short break from organizing events to enjoy a busy summer of other Yiddish activities. The one exception is our twice-monthly conversation group (shmueskrayz) “Shmues un Vayn,” which will be meeting next on the 4th and 16th of August. If you are in town and would like to join us, please email us for the locations and to join the shmueskrayz mailing list. Recent guests to the shmueskrayz have included Karo Wegner from Poland, Reb Noyekh Barrera from California, and Prof. Sara Feldman of Harvard University.

An announcement image for the conversation group. The white handwritten Yiddish text, on a blue and pink gradient, translates to: "Conversation and Wine 11: Thursday Fourth of August 2022, 19:30"
Announcement for the 11th Shmues un Vayn meetup (location removed)

On the somber 70th anniversary of the Night of the Murdered Soviet Yiddish Poets, we will not be hosting our own commemoration as we have the past four years. However, we will of course be individually involved in at least two of the many events to mark this sad occasion organized by other groups and institutions. We encourage you to join us at the symposium and reading at the Jewish Museum Berlin on 14 August as part of the Yiddish in Berlin summer program, or the night of remembrance on 12 August in Weimar, as part of Yiddish Summer Weimar.

Meanwhile, members of Yiddish.Berlin have recently been involved in:

  • An ELES Seminar in Rheinsberg about Yiddish run by four of us (Jordan Lee Schnee, Anna Rozenfeld, Irad Ben Isaak, and Katerina Kuznetsova) and featuring a performance by Daniel Kahn
  • The conference “The Avant-Garde in Yiddish Culture: The 100th Anniversary of Khalyastre” at Bar-Ilan University, including a presentation by Irad Ben Isaak
  • Generation J, a Yiddish-themed summer camp for young adults in Weimar
  • The first ever UK Yiddish Sof-Vokh: 48 hours of nonstop Yiddish in Yorkshire, including a Yiddish poetry writing workshop with Jake Schneider
  • Shtetl Berlin’s latest jam-packed “kleznick” (Klezmer picnic) by the Landwehr canal (photo below)
  • The bountiful musical, cultural, and Yiddish language programming at Yiddish Summer Weimar
A photograph of the kleznick (klezmer picnic) in July, showing several dozen people sitting on picnic blankets, playing instruments including fiddles and accordions, and chatting in a grassy, leafy setting
The Shtetl Berlin “Kleznick” in July. Photo: Arndt Beck

Some of us will also be taking part in the comprehensive Yiddish in Berlin summer program organized by the Paris Yiddish Center – Medem Library in partnership with the FU’s Institute for East European Studies , which begins next week and is partnering with us for our second August shmueskrayz gathering.

We will be announcing more events of our own soon, and meanwhile we hope to see you af der yidisher gas!

26 May: Shmues un Vayn 7 – Yiddish Conversation Evening

Our Yiddish conversation group, or shmueskrayz, was launched at the beginning of the year and has been meeting once or twice a month ever since at bars and members’ private apartments. Our gatherings are casual and unstructured, and our conversations follow their own natural flow. The only rule is that we speak Yiddish the entire time. Interested Yiddish speakers of any level are always invited to get in touch with us and we will let you know the upcoming dates.

During the exhibition Plague | War | Mother Tongue, we are opening the group’s seventh meeting to the public. Anyone who speaks Yiddish (or has learned in the classroom and would like to try chatting out in the world) is welcome to show up spontaneously – no RSVP needed – and join our conversation.

26 May 2022, 7 pm

Galerie Zeitzone
Adalbertstr. 79
10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg

21 May: Lider mayne, dumes mayne // Думи мої, думи мої – Yiddish-Ukrainian Literary Connections

Image designed by Iryna Zadnipriana

Today, we find it especially important to raise awareness of Ukrainian culture, literature, and language. We are Yiddishists, and our contribution to this cause is speaking about Yiddish and Ukrainian connections, mutual influences, and literary and cultural intertwinings.

As languages, Yiddish and Ukrainian have much in common. They both still suffer from neglect and stereotypes, often being dismissed as “not proper languages” but rather dialects of the dominating German and Russian. The attitude towards the languages reflects cultural and political oppression.

In the event, we will give voice to Yiddish and Ukrainian poets of the 19th and 20th centuries by reading their works in original and translation. The first part focuses on the Ukrainian classics: Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, and Lesya Ukrainka. In the 1930s, Dovid Hofshteyn, a Yiddish modernist poet born in Ukraine, translated their works into Yiddish. This project was more than just a translation. Hofshteyn found a way to express his own ideas on national identity and alienation through the works of Ukrainian poets.

The second part of the event includes works by Leyb Kvitko translated by the famous Ukrainian poet Pavlo Tychyna, as well as Yiddish modernist poetry by women such as Dvoyre Fogel. Our special guest, Ukrainian Yiddishist Iryna Zrobok , a Lviv-born translator from Yiddish and German into Ukrainian, will present her project about Yiddish female writers.


Katerina Kuznetsova, Sofya Chernykh, Dina Gidon, August Kahn, Alina Klimanska, Boris Shavlov, Jake Schneider, Iryna Zadnipriana, Iryna Zrobok

Reader for the event (pdf)

21 May 2022, 7 pm

Galerie Zeitzone
Adalbertstr. 79
10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg

The language of the event is English, with poetry readings in Yiddish and Ukrainian. (A booklet with all the texts, including English translations, will be available.)

Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

Facebook event

The event is a part of the exhibition “Plague | War | Mother Tongue” (20 May – 1 June 2022), where you can see works by Helmut J. Psotta, Ella Ponizovsky-Bergelson, and Arndt Beck.

28 May: The Yiddish Encyclopedia Returns to Berlin

A Book Presentation with Historian Barry Trachtenberg

We are pleased to host a book presentation by historian Barry Trachtenberg of Wake Forest University, author of the new book The Holocaust and the Exile of Yiddish:  A History of the Algemeyne Entsiklopedye (Rutgers University Press). His study traces an ambitious project that started in the 1930s, right here in Berlin: to publish a comprehensive encyclopedia of general knowledge completely in the Yiddish language. This dream drastically changed course within several years as the editors fled the Nazi regime and their intended readership of Eastern European Jews was decimated by genocide, dispersed by mass migration, and diluted by cultural assimilation.

In the mid-twentieth century, the project sparked tremendous controversy in Jewish cultural and political circles: What should a Yiddish encyclopedia be for? What knowledge and perspectives should it contain? By the time the last volumes were published, in 1960s New York, both the Yiddish-speaking world and the encyclopedia itself had been completely transformed by postwar circumstances. As Trachtenberg argues, this is not only a story about destruction and trauma, but also one of tenacity and continuity, as the encyclopedia’s compilers strove to preserve the heritage of Yiddish culture, to document its near-total extermination in the Holocaust, and to chart its path into the future.

The English-language book presentation by Barry Trachtenberg will be moderated by Jake Schneider of YIDDISH BERLIN. Questions from the audience are welcome – feel free to ask them in English, Yiddish, or German. This event accompanies our current exhibition Plague | War | Mother Tongue, which you can view at the gallery, featuring artworks by Ella Ponizovsky Bergelson, Arndt Beck, and the late Helmut J. Psotta.

More information about the book here  on the website of Rutgers University Press.

Event information

  • 28 May 2022, 7pm
  • Galerie Zeitzone, Adalbertstraße 79, 10997 Berlin
  • Admission free
  • Presentation and discussion in English, questions in Yiddish or German welcome
  • Copies of the book will be available for sale

Facebook event

Barry Trachtenberg holds the Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History at Wake Forest University in North Carolina (USA). He is the author of The Revolutionary Roots of Modern Yiddish, 1903-1917 (2008) & The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance (2018).

8 March: YIDDISH BERLIN reads Yiddish poetry by women

8 March 2022: YIDDISH BERLIN Reads Yiddish Poetry by Women

In response to the war in Ukraine, which has deeply shaken us all, we adjusted the focus of our event on International Women’s Day. Many of the Yiddish poets we presented were born or lived in Ukraine. We spoke about their experiences with war, invasion, and displacement and emphasized their connections to Ukraine. We, YIDDISH Berlin, are unanimous in our support for all people living in Ukraine and used this event as an opportunity to raise awareness of Ukraine’s history and culture.

At the event, we also collected donations, which we used to acquire medications for people in need in Ukraine.

The program included recitations of poems and musical renditions of work by the following authors, all of them women:

Marina Alexeeva | Rivka Basman Ben-Hayim | Celia Dropkin |  Irena Klepfisz | Rokhl H. Korn | Anna Margolin | Kadia Molodowsky | Miriam Ulinover | Debora Vogel

The participants included:

Arndt Beck | Patrick Farrell | Hilde Haberland | Sveta Kundish | Katerina Kuznetsova | Anna Rozenfeld | Jordan Lee Schnee | Jake Schneider | Maria Stazherova

Tuesday, 8 March 2022, 6 pm

PANDA platforma
Knaackstr. 97
10435 Berlin

Free admission

The event was also livestreamed, thanks to PANDA platforma. You can watch a recording of the event here:

A reader of originals and translations corresponding to the performances can be found here (pdf).

Sponsored by the Ursula Lachnit Fixson Foundation