Archive for January, 2014

Jan 07 2014

Yiddishland in Switzerland

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It’s been awhile! Hi!

A friend of mine wrote an article for the Forward on his trip around Swiss Yiddishland. Take a look at it here (if you read Yiddish).

Leyzer writes that Jews came to Switzerland in the 17th century and spoke Western Yiddish. The particularly settled in 2 towns, not far from Zurich, Endingen and Legnoy. In the mid-1800s, Jews started leaving for the big cities (Zurich and Geneva). There isn’t much left of those communities now. No Western Yiddish speakers–but there is a project to document it.

He visited the towns and remarked that they did not have the typical church at the center of town. They each had restored synagogues, however–which are still in use, on occasion. The Jewish houses are distinguished by two entry doors. In between the towns there is a Jewish cemetery. He doesn’t see much of a Jewish future in the towns, but points out the history of these places has been mostly friendly, reminding readers that Jews lived peacefully with their Christian neighbors and left for economic opportunities.

I heard of these towns while living in Switzerland–they were depicted in paintings at an art museum I visited and I have wondered about them since. I’m hoping to be back in Switzerland this May or June for a short visit. Maybe I will get Sore to take me to Yiddishland while I’m there. In the meantime, I am writing my dissertation. Wish me luck.

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