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 (09-010.21-F) -  Shelf Number: MDV 473

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Date: May 26, 2008

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 (b. 1921 in Derazhnya). (Part 3 of 4. See MDV 471, MDV 472, and Accession # 09-010.48-F MDV 674)

00:00:00 This tape is a continuation of a formal interview with Aba Davidovich Kaviner (b. 1921 in Derazhnya). He continues a story about a “lomed-vuvnik” (one of the thirty-six righteous figures hidden among the Jewish people in any generation) he once met. He recalls seeing one of his town’s “crazy” residents who once brought a girl back to life and then disappeared by morning.
00:05:01 Kaviner begins to tell a story about how his father once saw Eliyahu haNuvi (Elijah the Prophet).
00:05:32 Kaviner takes a break
00:06:14 Kaviner continues the story about his father and Eliyahu haNuvi as well as another tale by Avrom Reyzen that he read in Sovetish Heymland.
00:15:04 Kaviner comments on the work of Soviet Yiddish writer Eli Shekhtman and also talks about the content of his own novels, one of which, entitled “Erev,” had the same title as one of Shekhtman’s works.
00:18:54 Kaviner speaks briefly about wedding customs and terminology.
00:20:20 He also describes how Purim was celebrated in his town with “sholekh-hamunes,” (traditional Purim gifts), drinking, dancing, singing, and noise-makers (“gragers”).
00:21:42 Kaviner comments that “upshpreykhers,” or woman folk-healers were on almost every street in his town. He then mentions some of their different healing customs.
00:23:49 Kaviner tells a short story about the town of Satanov, a shtetl named for Satan and the dibek (dybbuk).
00:24:59 Kaviner remembers seeing Yiddish theater performances in Derazhnya before the war, including plays by Goldfaden and Sholem Aleichem, performed by visiting troupes as well as local actors. In the postwar period, Kaviner saw performances by famous touring actors and singers, such as Sidi Tal and others.
00:27:49 Kaviner comments on the various shtetl types and characters in his town, including scholars, rich and poor people, actors, card players and water carriers.
00:31:22 Kaviner reports that mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews happened before the war, but were much more rare than they became during and after the war.
00:31:50 Kaviner briefly describes postwar Khmel'nyts'kyy where he settled in 1947. He comments that Jews from shtetlekh moved to bigger cities after the war seeking economic opportunities. Since mass emigration was allowed, there are few Jews left, only “narunim, kaptsunim in goyishe makhetunim” (lit., fools, paupers, and non-Jewish relatives).
00:33:50 Kaviner and the researchers briefly discuss issues related to sociolinguistics and dialectology.
00:36:34 Kaviner discusses being Jewish in the Soviet army and encountering anti-Semitism there. He also details the scope of Jewish service in the Red Army during the war.
00:41:50 Kaviner sings the song “Avek di yinge yurn” in Yiddish, and then in a mixed Yiddish/Ukrainian version.
00:45:36 Kaviner talks about and sings the song “Afn pripetshik.” He discusses the relationship between Sholem Aleichem and Mark Varshavski and the “folklorization” of the latter’s oeuvre with Professor Kerler.
00:51:05 Kaviner explains the lack of love stories or conversion tales in Soviet Yiddish literature and folklore.
00:55:38 End of Recording.