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Russian Jews Turn from Yiddish, is Plaint at Moscow Conference

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Yiddish writers in Soviet Russia are losing their reading public, because Jewish youth is becoming assimilated and does not want to read any more Yiddish, many of the Yiddish writers attending the Conference of Yiddish Soviet writers just held here, complained.

“Our readers are deserting us,” the writers declared. “They prefer to read Russian literature, they are satisfied with reading the famous Russians, and they feel able to do without any more Yiddish literature.

“What is the use of our continuing to write in Yiddish if we have no readers?”

With such a situation, the conference was told, it is not surprising that some of the Yiddish writers are trying to find a place in the great literatures, Russian and Ukrainian, where they are more read.

Several other writers, however, took a more optimistic view. The fact that Yiddish literature is not read so much to-day, they said, is due rather to the aloofness of the Yiddish writer from the problems of Soviet Jewish life. The Jewish masses are making rapid cultural and political progress, and they want to be provided with reading matter which appeals to their present outlook.

If the Yiddish writers will deal with the actual problems of the day, they said, they will have plenty of readers. They also blamed the faulty circulation of Yiddish literature. Text books and educational works in Yiddish have a circulation of over 50,000 copies, they said, which is proof that there are Yiddish readers. And if works of Yiddish literature command a circulation of only 2,000 or 3,000 copies, it is evident that the fault lies with the lack of appeal of the particular type of literature that is turned out, and not with the lack of interest in Yiddish as a language.

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