BRUSSELS (Aug. 29)
Three members of the European Parliament who asked the European Economic Community’s Executive Commission to allocate funds to subsidize a Yiddish theater in Western Europe were told that there is no money for such a project.
The three European Parliament members — German Christian Democrats Emst Mueller-Hermann and Wilhelm Hahn and German Socialist Olaf Schwencker — pointed out in a letter to the EEC Commission that there are no Yiddish theaters in Western Europe and that the only Yiddish theaters outside Israel are in Warsaw, Bucharest and Moscow.
The letter also noted that only 50 years ago the Yiddish theaters were flourishing institutions but in the subsequent decades they, along with the Yiddish language, began a precipitous decline and by now have all but disappeared from the scene.
The World Council for Yiddish and Jewish Culture, headed by Yitzhak Korn, a member of Israel’s Labor Party and a former MK, the Arts Academy of West Berlin, and a group of individuals representing various arts and cultural groups are trying to create a center for a Yiddish theater in Western Europe.
The three parliamen tarians said in their letter that there is a possibility of establishing such a center at the Hebbel Theater in West Berlin, which is presently vacant. From this center, tours of the EEC member-states could be organized. That was the reason, the European Parliament members said, for requesting financial aid aimed at “safeguarding the Yiddish tradition which represents one of the facets of European diversity.”
The EEC Executive Commission, in its reply, declared that it was fully aware of the importance of Yiddish culture in Europe, but added that the EEC’s financial aid in the field of regional languages and culture “can unfortunately be only extremely modest” and depends on criterions and priorities listed in various European Parliament resolutions.