Seven Tales of Jewish Life Before, During, and After Nazi Occupation
Publication Year: 2013
Der Nister paints a sympathetic portrait of the father, a member of the Jewish Council, even though he collaborates with the Nazis in a misguided attempt to help his people. To repair the father’s mistake, his daughter joins the resistance, seduces a traitor, and delivers him to his death. Accounts are settled within the Jewish community. The Nazi enemy is largely passed over in the silence his infamy deserves. Der Nister’s characters are crafty, and they do not hesitate to use force when necessary. After the defeat of the Nazis and Soviet takeover, Der Nister suggests, the maneuvering will continue. The morally complex characters and richly layered stories of Regrowth ultimately reclaim a more nuanced view of crimes still not fully reckoned.
Published by: Northwestern University Press
Series: Northwestern World Classics
Title Page, Series Page, Copyright
Acknowledgments and a Note from the Translator
“What? When was that?!”
It was approximately the sixth or seventh year* when Meylekh Magnus (as people still called him then) became a regular at Feygele’s. Even though her cheeks had a sickly red to them (because her lungs weren’t right, she often joked), Feygele had many suitors, many followers, many admirers. . . . She...
I take up my diary:
Day. . . . Month. . . . Year. . . .
Dear tate, soon it will be a year that you aren’t here anymore. You, my pride and my honor, joy of my heart, and the one who brought me up—under whose protective wing I was taken and grew, without a mother, whom I didn’t even know. You, the...
We are talking, here, about two half families—a man without
a wife, and a wife without a man*—who lived, with facing doors,
on the same floor of a single building in a big Soviet city.
No further details about them or their activities are necessary. It is enough to say that one of them was Dr. Zemelman. He...
Heshl Ansheles was well known among the intelligentsia of the city—among journalists, writers, and the like. They would often come to ask his expert opinion about work they had finished, and, when they planned something requiring exact knowledge they lacked, they drew on him in advance—as from a reference book, an encyclopedia...
It was a few days after their arrival. . . . People were saying that the city commander had already informed representatives of the Jewish community that they had the responsibility to carry out commands and orders that would be issued specifically for the Jewish population...
Rive Yosl Buntsies
Even in a little, antiquated, piously preserved Jewish-Polish
shtetl, she was a marvel—a kind of historical relic, to be displayed
in a museum.
Rive Yosl Buntsies, who could be seen, winter and summer, in a long dress with unhemmed skirts and an old-fashioned...
An Acquaintance of Mine
I got to know him while still in my youth. He captivated me with his good-natured, almost-sweet smile—that of a clever person, someone who was an expert at everything. But beneath the smile, one sensed the bitterness of someone for whom things weren’t going well—who wasn’t meeting with success in some...
Afterword: Der Nister and the Art of Concealment
The Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 c.e. robbed the Jewish people of a state. The foundation of Israel in 1948, while providing a real homeland to millions and a nominal one to many more, has not resolved the pressures of living, in the biblical phrase, “scattered among...