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Berlin through the lenses of an unfinished Yiddish novel

  Prof. Dr. Mikhail Krutikov, Professor of Slavic and Judaic Studies, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Frankel Center for Judaic Studies, University of Michigan

Meir Wiener (*1893, Krakau), one of the major Yiddish scholars and writers, left a very vivid portrait of the Weimar Berlin and East European Jewish intellectuals in his 450-page novel which he wrote in the Soviet Union during the 1930s, but which remained unfinished because Wiener was killed in 1941 defending Moscow from the German army. I am treating Wiener as a key figure in the cultural and ideological interaction between East and West, German, Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian, Judaism and Marxism.

This project will serve as a link between my work on Wiener’s intellectual biography and a new comparative study of Jewish culture in the three imperial capitals, Berlin, Vienna and St. Petersburg before, during and after World War I. The focus of this study will be on the ways in which Jewish intellectuals viewed and interpreted the respective empires – before, during, and after their collapse.

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