The Yiddish Book Center's

Wexler Oral History Project

A growing collection of in-depth interviews with people of all ages and backgrounds, whose stories about the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture offer a rich and complex chronicle of Jewish identity.

Learning Empathy During the Russian Revolution

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Bel Kaufman, z"l, granddaughter of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem and author of award-winning novels, describes being sent away to a camp for the "Children of the Proletariat" because they served the children one square inch of meat a day. She discusses how this episode and her other experiences with hunger and privation as a young girl in the Soviet Union led her to develop a strong sense of empathy, which in turn helped her to be a better writer.

This is an excerpt from an oral history with Bel Kaufman.

This excerpt is in English.

Bel Kaufman was born in Berlin, Germany in 1911. Bel died in 2014.

This interview is part of the Beyond the Books: Yiddish writers and their descendants series.