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.

"Imaginary Characters More Real and True than Real Characters": Describing Sholem Aleichem's Writing

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Bel and Sherwin Kaufman, grandchildren of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, describe Sholem Aleichem writing as if they're talking to someone completely unfamiliar. Bel elaborates on Sholem Aleichem's ability to write realistic, compelling characters.

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

This excerpt is in English.

Sherwin Kaufman was born in Odessa, Ukraine in 1920. Sherwin died in 2019.

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