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April 12, 1991 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

HOLOCAUST I

A new choice for the frail elderly

Independent Living with
Supportive Services

A new caring alternative for
the frail elderly is now
available at the exciting new
and elegant West Bloomfield
Nursing and Convalescent
Center.

• Deluxe semi-private or private
mini suites all with private
baths and a beautiful view of
a courtyard or wooded
grounds.

Town Center Plaza with a
It's called Independent Living •
snack shop, beauty salon,
with Supportive Services. It's
flower and gift shop and an
the choice between
old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
independent living and skilled
nursing care for the elderly
• Fine dining in an elegant
person who needs the
dining area with meals
essentials of living such as
prepared by an executive chef
housekeeping service, meals,
and served by a courteous,
laundry service and
friendly staff
medication, if needed.
Licensed nurses are on duty 24
hours a day.
• Exciting and varied activities,
planned and supervised, to
Residents in this program can
keep residents involved and
enjoy a relaxed, elegant
happy
atmosphere that includes:

Honor us with o visit. Weekdays 9 a.m-8 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

An Affiliate of William Beaumont Hospital

• Pastoral and weekly Sabbath
services provided by Rabbi
Moshe Poker

ireaVing 6445 West Maple • West Bloomfield, Ml
Phone: 661-1600

Cen ter'

Their language revealed their life in the camps.

At Auschwitz, Hitler
Was 'Der Shmirer'

ROBERT MOSES SHAPIRO

Special to The Jewish News

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42

FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 1991

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espite untold suffer-
ing endured by Jews
in the ghettos and
Nazi concentration camps,
Jewish folklore continued to
be produced there — in-
cluding Jewish slang, say-
ings, jokes, anecdotes,
greetings, warnings and
maledictions, which served
to keep spirits up and to
facilitate clandestine com-
munication.
Israel Kaplan, a Lithua-
nian Jew who was held in
numerous ghettos and con-
centration camps, undertook
to preserve such fragile oral
artifacts of Jewish folk cul-
ture. Mr. Kaplan's rare little
Yiddish volume, Dos Folks-
Moyl in Natsi-Klem,
published in Munich in
1949, provides a glimpse
into the verbal texture of
ghetto and camp life.
Mr. Kaplan was the editor
of the pioneering Yiddish
monthly Fun Letstn Churbn,
or About the Recent Catas-
trophe, which was first
published in 1946 by the
Central Committee of the
Liberated Jews in Ger-
many's American Zone.
The publication carried ar-
ticles by Mr. Kaplan and
other former "Katsetler," as
they referred to themselves
from the Yiddish abbrevia-
tion "Katset," for concentra-
tion camp.
Since Germans could
understand many Yiddish
words, Jewish slang was
often derived from common-
ly known Hebrew words and

Robert Moses Shapiro is assis-
tant professor of history at
Baltimore Hebrew University.
This article originally ap-
peared in the Philadelphia
Jewish Exponent.

phrases from the traditional
prayer book. To signal the
approach of a work super-
visor, a Jew might say
"yaaleh v'yovo," or "he will
arise and come forward." A
higher official was a "hallel
godol," while his departure
was conveyed by the word
"nirtza," which comes after
Hallel in the Passover Hag-
gadah.
Among German Jews in
Riga, a common warning cry
was "achtzn," or 18, a varia-
tion on Achtung. Yiddish-
speaking Jews in nearby

Hermann Goering
was known as .. .
the "drekfartreter,"
or garbage
deputy."

camps changed the warning
to "chai," which is 18 in
Hebrew letters.
The runic letters used by
the SS were reminiscent of
the numeral 44, which
Lithuanian Jews, or Lit-
yaks, expressed with the
Hebrew word "dam," or
blood, which has the nu-
merical value 44. Polish and
Czech Jews also warned of
the approach of the SS with
the expression "malech
hamoves," or angel of death.
Although Mr. Kaplan
decided not to include
Yiddish profanities among
his entries, there were also
impudent retorts sometimes
voiced aloud in the face of an
overseer, but more often
covertly grumbled to the
other Jews present.
When some German
taskmasters echoed the
German proverb, "arbit
macht das leben vis," or
"labor makes life sweet,"
the widespread reply in
Poland was "mir zaynen nit

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