Pessimism of the Intelligence, Optimism of the Will

Actually, even if it were possible, Rachel Ertel would not have tried to revive Eastern European culture. She wants only to preserve its memory and apply some of the political insights  associated with the tradition to contemporary France. Yiddish belongs to an annihilated people, she explains, who should never be forgotten, but whose past should not be trivialized either by folkloric imitations. 
–Judith Friedlander, Vilna on the Seine: Jewish Intellectuals in France Since 1968, 62

Beginning in 1945 Yiddish organizations continuously addressed the Holocaust in a collective mode of Jewish response to catastrophe (Yizker books), ingathering the Ashkenazic cultural treasures (Dos Poylishe yidntum),  and rallied around their cultural heroes, the survivors and exiles. This world-wide activity, with its on-going  publications and performances, involved the participation of hundreds of thousands of Yiddish writers, readers, and activists.  After 1945 Yiddish continued its daily existence as both a mother tongue and a cultural vehicle for a minority of American, Canadian, South American, Soviet, Polish, and Israeli Jews.
–Jan Schwarz, Survivors and Exiles: Yiddish Culture after the Holocaust, 243

The title is a maxim of Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci.

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