Modern Yiddish Culture on the example of the activity of the Kultur-Lige and the art of Khana Levin
Dr. Joanna LisekWrocław University
July 17, 2012
Center for Urban History, Lviv
The First World War, the Russian Revolution and the expansion of new directions in European art, above all Russian futurism and German expressionism, became an impulse for radical changes in the creative culture of Yiddish on the old continent. Under the Ukrainian People's Republic (UNR) Kyiv played a key role in the process of these changes. In April 1918 in Kyiv the Kultur-Lige was founded—whose task was the creation of structures to serve the development of modern secular Yiddish culture, primarily in education, literature, theater and fine arts. In 1918-1920 the Kultur-Lige was especially active in Ukraine. The model of development of secular Yiddish culture, created in the Kyiv Kultur-Lige, was taken up also in Poland, Lithuania, and Romania.
After 1917 Kharkiv became an important center of Jewish migration. Among the thousands of Jews who arrived here were artists and literary figures. In particular, one of these was the writer and feminist Khana Levin—the most significant representative of the development of the art of Jewish women on the territory seized by the revolution. Khana Levin was the first in the USSR to originally and bravely represent in her art the problems of contemporary female Jewish identity.
The lecture is open to the general public in conjunction with the Third Summer School in Jewish History and Culture of East Central Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.