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.
"So Much of the Foundation of that Company Was About Finding a Reason to Stay Alive": The Origins of the Vilna Troupe
Caraid O'Brien—writer, performer, and director, including of Yiddish works—discusses the founding and emergence of the Vilna Troupe during World War I. She references Leib Kadison, Luba Kadison and Joseph Buloff's involvement in the influential theater company that served as departure from all the pain people were surrounded by during the years of dislocation and war in the 19-teens.
This is an excerpt from an oral history with Caraid O'Brien.
This excerpt is in English.
Caraid O'Brien was born in Galway, Ireland in 1974.
This interview is part of the Yiddish in the Academy: scholars, language instructors, and students series.
Other video highlights from this oral history
"As An Eight-Year-Old, He Was Already Supporting His Family": Yiddish Singer Seymour Rexite's Early Life
4 min 1 sec
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"Stories that Would Have You Weeping And Laughing at the Same Time": My Irish Family
3 min 52 sec
Slide 1 of 14
“I Recognized Something That Seemed Very Comfortable To Me”: Caraid O’Brien On Discovering Yiddish Culture Through A Love of Literature and Irish Culture
7 min 15 sec
Slide 6 of 14
Finding a Mentor in Luba Kadison, Last Surviving Member of the Vilna Troupe
3 min 41 sec
Slide 7 of 14
Path Altering Learning: Studying Yiddish with Ruth Wisse and My Great Friendship with Luba Kadison Buloff
2 min 49 sec
Slide 9 of 14
Seymour Rexite, Miriam Kressyn, and "a Vast Theatrical Movement, United by Performing in Yiddish"
2 min 9 sec
Slide 10 of 14
Yiddish Theater in the 20th Century: an Interconnected, International Scene
1 min 56 sec
Slide 11 of 14
Learning Yiddish and the Physical, Sensory Experience of Engaging with the Books: Internship at the Yiddish Book Center, Summer 1994
2 min 43 sec
Slide 12 of 14