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.

Ida Maze: The "Den Mother" of Yiddish Montreal

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"Ida Maze: The 'Den Mother' of Yiddish Montreal" is the premiere film of the Wexler Oral History Project's "Beyond the Books" film series showcasing Yiddish literary figures and their descendants. This short documentary presents the life and works of Yiddish poet Ida Maze, an author who sought commitment beyond her personal writings of children's poetry to foster and mentor a substantial community of Yiddish writers in Montreal. The film interweaves an interview with her son, Irving Massey, a literary scholar who has written extensively about his mother's poetry and even translated a body of her work, with archival audio recordings of an event held in honor of Ida Maze at the Jewish Public Library of Montreal in 1956. Together, Irving's eloquent memories of his mother and the praising voices of Ida Maze's colleagues make for a compelling reprise of her life, poetry, and legacy.

This is an excerpt from an oral history with Irving Joseph Massey.

This excerpt is in English and Yiddish.

Irving Joseph Massey was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1924.