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Survival in the Shtetl
Reflections of Polish Jewish Economic Life in the Guttmacher Kvitlekh
Mar 31 2011


WORKMEN'S CIRCLE/DR. EMANUEL PATT VISITING PROFESSORSHIP LECTURE • MAX WEINREICH CENTER

Glenn Dynner, Associate Professor, Sarah Lawrence College

During the second half of the 19th century, Eastern Europe underwent a difficult transition from an agrarian, feudal-based economy to a more urban, capitalist one. Jews, who played a key role in the older economy as factors and lessees of noble-owned taverns, were particularly affected. A horde of petitions (kvitlekh) to the mystical leader Eliyahu Guttmacher, “the Tsadik of Gratz” (Grodzisk Wielkopolski, 1796-1874), located in the YIVO archives, provides rare and poignant glimpses of shtetl Jews as they struggled desperately to adjust to a changing world.



Survival in the Shtetl Audio