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.
Samuel Bak, prominent Jewish artist from Vilna, shares memories about Avrom Sutzkever's good looks, his role in preserving Yiddish after the war, translations of his poetry, and their personal relationship.
This is an excerpt from an oral history with Samuel (Shmuel) Bak.
This excerpt is in English.
Samuel (Shmuel) Bak was born in Vilna, Lithuania in 1933.
This interview is part of the Yiddish and the Arts: musicians, actors, and artists series.
Other video highlights from this oral history
Remembering Sutzkever5 minutes 32 seconds
War Comes to Vilna: Paradise Turns Into Hell1 minute 17 seconds
Avrom Sutzkever: The Shakespeare of Yiddish1 minute 20 seconds
A Good Jew? Reflections on Jewish Sentimentalism and Ethics3 minutes 8 seconds
Each Language Opens a Horizon2 minutes 43 seconds
He Was a Father at 14 and Died from Cholent: the Story of Samuel Bak's Great-Grandfather and Namesake4 minutes 56 seconds
Yiddish Will Stay: Artist Samuel Bak Reflects on the Yiddish Language3 minutes 46 seconds
We Spent the End of World War Two Hidden Among the Books in Vilna3 minutes 30 seconds
"Hearing Lithuanian in Vilna was like hearing Chinese in Boston," Samuel Bak On The Languages of Vilna1 minute 50 seconds
Identity in Flux: Reflections on Jewishness in the Modern World3 minutes 22 seconds
More information about this oral history excerpt
About the Wexler Oral History Project
Since 2010, the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project has recorded more than 500 in-depth video interviews that provide a deeper understanding of the Jewish experience and the legacy and changing nature of Yiddish language and culture.
Tell Us Your Story
Do you (or someone you know) have stories to share about the importance of Yiddish language and culture in your life?