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Judaica Collected by Ansky Put on Display in Amsterdam

An unusual exhibition of Jewish relics and artifacts collected by the Russian-Jewish writer known as Sh. Ansky more than 80 years ago went on display at the Jewish Historical Museum here.

It is being seen for the first time outside Russia and will remain in Amsterdam until November. The exhibition will travel afterwards to Cologne, Frankfurt, New York and Israel.

Many museums abroad had been competing for the honor of being the first to mount the exhibition. But it was the Jewish museum here that managed to convince the State Ethnographical Museum in St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad, to lend it the material that had been hidden away for years.

Much of it had to be repaired in St. Petersburg before it was fit for display.

Ansky — or S. An-Ski, as it is sometimes written — was the pen name used by writer and ethnographer Solomon Rapoport. He collected a vast amount of material on his expeditions to southwestern Russia between 1911 and 1914, including the 300 objects on display here.

Rapoport, who was born in Vitebsk, Russia, in 1863, was educated among the Hasidim but schooled himself in the literature of the Jewish Enlightenment. In Yiddish, he wrote short stories, novels and dramas, incorporating Hasidic themes.

He is best know for one drama above all: “The Dybbuk.”

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