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 (Shmuel) Bak's Oral History
Samuel (Shmuel) Bak, Jewish artist born in Vilna, was interviewed by Christa Whitney on December 3, 2014 in Weston, Massachusetts.
This interview was conducted in English and Yiddish.
Video highlights from this oral history
Identity in Flux: Reflections on Jewishness in the Modern World3 minutes 22 seconds
"Hearing Lithuanian in Vilna was like hearing Chinese in Boston," Samuel Bak On The Languages of Vilna1 minute 50 seconds
Avrom Sutzkever: The Shakespeare of Yiddish1 minute 20 seconds
Remembering Sutzkever5 minutes 32 seconds
He Was a Father at 14 and Died from Cholent: the Story of Samuel Bak's Great-Grandfather and Namesake4 minutes 56 seconds
A Good Jew? Reflections on Jewish Sentimentalism and Ethics3 minutes 8 seconds
War Comes to Vilna: Paradise Turns Into Hell1 minute 17 seconds
Yiddish Will Stay3 minutes 46 seconds
Each Language Opens a Horizon2 minutes 43 seconds
We Spent the End of World War Two Hidden Among the Books in Vilna3 minutes 30 seconds
More information about this oral history
- Family histories
- Jewish Identity
- Yiddish language
- Yiddish scene
- Yiddish speaker
- Immigration and migration
- Visual Arts
- Career and Professional Life
- World War II
- Eastern Europe
- United States
- Cultural transmission
- Yiddish personalities
- Jewish community
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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.
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