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 (09-010.21-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 470

No streaming derivative is available.

Date: May 30, 2007

Participants: Kaviner, Aba Davidovich. Interviewed by Dov-Ber Kerler, Moisei Lemster.

Location recorded: Khmel'nyts'kyy, Khmel’nyts’ka Oblast', Ukraine

Language: Yiddish, Russian

Culture Group: Jews, Yiddish-speakers, Ukrainians

 Recording Content:   

This recording is a continuation of a formal interview with Aba Davidovich Kaviner on May 30, 2007 (b. 1921 in Derzhanya, Ukraine). (Part 2 of 2. MDV 469)

00:00:00 This tape is a continuation of a formal interview with Aba Davidovich Kaviner (b. 1921 in Derzhanya, Ukraine). Kaviner recalls seeing the Torah scrolls burned in his town during the war, a traumatic moment for him. He also comments on the fact that all the non-Jews in the town spoke Yiddish.
00:01:31 Kaviner discusses the literature he has read in “loshn-koydesh” (biblical Hebrew), including Chaim Nachman Bialik and Shimon Frug.
00:02:47 Kaviner further describes the system of learning in his yeshiva, based on “taytsh” (translation) and both individual and collective learning.
00:04:32 After the war, Kaviner worked as a wood technician/carpenter.
00:06:16 Kaviner reads the research team’s notes on the interview that they keep in Yiddish.
00:06:58 Kaviner further describes the curriculum of the Yiddish school he attended, stating that each subject had its own teacher. He lists the writers he read in school, including the Soviet Yiddish literati later murdered by Stalin. He then recites poetry from Osher Shvartsman, as well as a fragment from Hofshteyn. Kaviner and the research team begin a discussion about Hofshteyn, his influence and his family, as well as the sons and daughters of Soviet Yiddish writers and their activities today. Kaviner often read the poetry of Yoysef Kerler (Professor Kerler’s father) in the journal Sovetish Heymland.
00:12:48 Kaviner subscribed to Sovetish Heymland and knows well the body of Soviet Yiddish literature. Professor Kerler and Dr. Lemster talk about their recent creative work in Yiddish. Kaviner also shares his opinion that he does not hold Arn Vergelis’ work in high regard.
00:15:30 Kaviner wrote his own original Yiddish prose and poetry before the war, but burned all his works after the war because “such were the times" and he was afraid of being sent to prison. Before the war, Kaviner had trouble getting his writings published, but points out that Perets could not get his first works published either.
00:17:55 Kaviner asks the researchers their opinion about literature, asking if they can compare anyone with Bialik. He shares with the team quotes from Maksim Gorki praising Bialik as a second Pushkin.
00:20:26 Kaviner comments on the works of Shimon Frug and says that the stories live within him to this day.
00:20:49 Kaviner shares his wartime experiences. After finishing school in Leningrad, he served as an aviation engineer in the army. Over the course of his eight years’ service he received many awards and medals.
00:24:45 His father, Duvid (b. 1889), worked as a barrel maker and his mother, Ester, was a housewife. He does not remember his grandparents, but he had two siblings: Milke (b. 1920) and Shmilikl.
00:27:54 Professor Kerler gives Kaviner a copy of his father’s book. Kaviner reads the poems aloud, commenting on the difference between Soviet and Standard Yiddish orthography. The research team arranges a subscription to the newspaper Forverts for Kaviner, and he talks about the Soviet Yiddish writers now working for the Forverts newspaper. They also talk about non-Jewish writers who knew Yiddish.
00:34:39 The research team explains the mission and goals of AHEYM more in depth.
00:36:10 Kaviner recalls how he once met with Soviet Yiddish writer Shmuel Halkin in Moscow in 1948, and how he helped a friend publish his book of poetry.
00:40:21 Kaviner briefly recounts his lack of marriage ceremony in 1949.
00:40:58 Kaviner further talks about literature and his desire for more books, a wish the researchers will fulfill.
00:45:09 Kaviner asks if the researchers are religious, stating that he prays, although he is not too religious ("ikh bin oykh nit keyn tsodik, keyn fanatik"). He has held onto some very old sidurim (prayerbooks).
00:48:36 The tape ends with scenes of Khmel'nyts'kyy from the researchers’ car.
00:51:37 End of Recording.