[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 19.015

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Wed Nov 18 20:46:53 EST 2009

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 19.015
November 13, 2009

1) Looking for Yiddish for Joseph Rolnick poem (Leah Zazulyer)
2) rinshtok (Jack Berger)
3) cancer (Leyzer Gillig)
4) ayngeshtelt in firlekh/pirlekh (Roberta Newman)
5) ayngeshtelt in firlekh/pirlekh (Yale J. Reisner)
6) "Unter dayne vayse shtern" (Michael E. Kovnat)
7) "Unter dayne vayse shtern" (Moyshe Toybe)
8) "Unter dayne vayse shtern," cancer, ayngeshtelt in firlekh/pirlekh 
(Sholem Beinfeld)
9) Yiddish in movies (Simkhe Frydrych)

Date:   November 2, 2009
Subject: Looking for Yiddish for Joseph Rolnick poem

I do not know the title, or the full length of the poem, and certainly not
the actual words, (nor where or if this was ever published in a book). 
opening stanzas were translated into English by his widow in this manner
late in her life:

There are those special poems
That nestle in your breast
You hesitate to entrust them
To pen and paper test.

Not white enough the paper
Not fine enough pen's stroke;
For them you wish your fingers
would turn to wisps of smoke..

Thank you,
Leah Zazulyer

Date: November 1, 2009
Subject:  rinshtok

To the extent I have heard the word "rinshtok" used, I get the sense that 
it was an open
street gutter. I particularly conjure up the phrase, "es hert zikh vi fun 
a rinshtok." Loosely
translated, it means that it stinks like a sewer. I think this is less 
likely to have been
applied to a rain gutter or something attached to or part of a building.

The image of the beehive doesn't ring true with me.

Jack Berger

Date: November 2, 2009
Subject: cancer

A grus fun frankraykh

It is interesting that people in the Orthodox community who actually use 
Yiddish in day
to day conversation NEVER refer to "cancer" by any term. It is called 
"yene makhle" or
"yene mayse"  so as not to offer the malekh-hamoves an "in " The word that 
I have heard
used on very rare occasions is "rak," which is the Russian word for cancer

Leyzer Gillig

Date: November 7, 2009
Subject: ayngeshtelt in firlekh/pirlekh

Might "pirlekh" be a variant of "por" (pairs, couples)? The translation of 
the sentence
would then be something like:

You had to run, two abreast, and whoever couldn't keep up or who stepped 
out of the
rows was immediately shot.

Roberta Newman

Date: November 1, 2009
Subject: ayngeshtelt in firlekh/pirlekh

Tayere fraynt:

In response to Martin Jacobs' question of 29 October, I would suggest that 
the correct
reading is indeed "firlekh."

It appears to me -- and the context seems to support this -- that the Jews 
being abused
here are made to run in rows of four, i.e. as a column with four people to 
a row. They
were first made to stand (ayngeshtelt) in this manner (in firlekh) by the 
Germans and then
forced to run. The later reference to anyone falling out of their row 
being shot
underscores the fact that they were running in rows and not randomly.

Hence, "ayngeshtelt in firlekh" would be "lined up in fours" or "lined up 
four by four."
This kind of scene sounds terribly familiar from other Holocaust-era 
accounts, though the
number of people to a row varied.

A hartsikn grus fun varshe,

Yale J. Reisner

Date:  November 1, 2009
Subject: "Unter dayne vayse shtern"

Response to Wolfgang Schulze about the verse from "Unter dayne vayse 

Nemen usually means "to take"; here it means "take to chasing" or "to 
start to run or
chase (after something) or to start to chase regularly or habitually." 
Mikh means me
(accusative). Your verse might mean: getting used to being chased is 
strange to me, stairs
and courtyards uninhabited.
or possibly: getting used to being chased, to me strange
or possibly: starting to be chased is strange to me
or possibly: staring to chase, strange to me
or disregard the "nemen" and write: being chased, to me strange.

Michael E. Kovnat

Date:  November 1, 2009
Subject: "Unter dayne vayse shtern"

Concerning Wolfgang Schulze's question in Mendele Vol. 19.014, item 7:

nemen here is an auxiliary signifying "begin" with infinitive, hence:
"begin to chase me madly"
  gevoy is an abstract from voyen "howl," hence: "with a howl."

Moyshe Taube

Date: November 1, 2009
Subject: "Unter dayne vayse shtern," cancer, ayngeshtelt in 

In reply to Wolfgang Schulze:

In Sutzkever's "unter dayne vayse shtern," "nemen yogn mikh" means "begin 
to chase (or
hunt) me." "gevoy" may be Sutzkever's own creation, or at least a rare 
Yiddish word, but
the meaning is clear: "howling," from "voyen," to howl.

In reply to Arnold Wishnia:

"Krebs" may mean both "crab" and "cancer" in German, but in standard 
Yiddish "kreps"
can only mean "crab"; when used to mean "cancer," it is daytshmerish.  The 
term for "cancer" is "rak," of Slavic origin.  (In Russian, "rak" means 
both "cancer" and
"crayfish"; in Polish, it can mean "cancer" "crayfish" and "crab.")

In reply to Martin Jacobs:

In the text you quote, "in firlekh" cannot mean "in little carts," as the 
victims clearly are
on foot.  It seems to me that the author means "in groups of four," which 
makes sense in
the context of being forced to run to the train.

Sholem Beinfeld

Date: October 31, 2009
Subject: Yiddish in movies

I have seen two movies on the Turner Classic station this week, "Bed of 
Roses" (1933)
and American Madness. In both movies several lines are spoken in Yiddish. 
The lines
are wonderful and unexpected. Jimmy Cagney also spoke Yiddish lines in 
"Taxi" and
"The Fighting 69th." Does anyone know of other examples in the era prior 
to Mel

Simkhe Frydrych
End of Mendele Vol. 19.015

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