Yiddish Culture in Prewar Warsaw, with Karolina Szymaniak
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: How was Jewish culture viewed by the surrounding non-Jewish Polish society in prewar Warsaw?
Dr. Karolina Szymaniak has a PhD in literary and cultural studies. She is Assistant Professor at the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Poland, where she heads the Yiddish Culture Unit and is a member of the Jewish Studies Department at the Wrocław University. She is a researcher, editor, translator from Yiddish and English, and a language instructor. Her research interests range across modern Jewish literatures and cultures, Polish-Jewish literary and cultural relations, the politics of memory, theories of modernism and of the avant-garde, women’s literature, and translation studies.
In addition to having taught Yiddish language and culture throughout Poland and Europe, she has served as a consultant for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. She was the editor-in-chief of “Cwiszn” (Tsivshn), a Polish-language literary and arts quarterly devoted to Yiddish culture. From 2010-2012 she was director of the Center for Yiddish Culture, where she now serves as an academic advisor, and the director of the International Summer Seminar in Yiddish Language and Culture in Warsaw.
Dr. Szymaniak has participated in the full edition of the Ringelblum Archive, translating texts of Yiddish writers, and collaborated in the project of the Database of the Warsaw Ghetto run by the Polish Center for Holocaust Research.
She has been invited to give talks in France, Sweden, Australia, Poland, Canada, Ukraine, and the US, and has received fellowships from a number of institutions, including the Polish Ministry of Education, , the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and the Institute for the History of Polish Jewry and Israel-Poland Relations (Tel Aviv University), among others.
Dr. Szymaniak spoke with us about Yiddish and Jewish culture in prewar Warsaw, and the relationship between the Jewish and non-Jewish communities there.