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THE JEWISH PRESS IN VILNA UNDER FOUR REGIMES / עתונות יהודית בווילנה בצל ארבעה משטרים

מוסיה ליפמן and Mussia Lipman
Kesher / קשר
No. 2 (נובמבר 1987), pp. 51-60
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23891157
Page Count: 10
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Abstract

קהילת וילנה מנתה ב-1939 כמאה אלף נפש, שהיוו ארבעים אחוז מכלל אוכלוסיית העיר. קהילה יהודית גדולה זו חרבה רובה ככולה בשואה. תוך שנתיים עברו על הקהילה ההפוכות רבות, שקשה להעלותן על הדעת. עד ספטמבר 1939, שייכת היתה העיר לפולין. משנכבשה פולין בידי הגרמנים, השתלטו הרוסים על וילנה, ואחר פחות מששה שבועות נמסרה על ידם לליטאים. תשעה חודשים אחר כך, שבו הרוסים והשתלטו על וילנה. ביוני 1941, נכבשה העיר על ידי הגרמנים, והחלו ההתנכלויות ליהודיה ואחר כך השמדתם השיטתית. תהפוכות אלה התבטאו, כמובן, גם בשדה העתונות היהודית בווילנה, שנאלצה להתאים עצמה, תוך שינויי כיוון, אל שינוי המשטרים התכוף. במאמר זה יעשה ניסיון לעקוב אחר העתונות של קהילה יהודית גדולה זו, בעיקור בשנות השלושים, ובמהלך המלחמה — כל עוד הופיעה. Vilna, until its destruction during the Holocaust, was an important Jewish community in Eastern Europe for hundreds of years. The article examines the community's daily life in the years leading up to, and during World War II as expressed through Vilna's extensive Jewish press. The Vilna community lived under four regimes in less than two years. Vilna was part of Independent Poland until the outbreak of war on September 1, 1939. The Soviets entered Vilna for a few weeks, during which time they arrested Jewish intellectual leaders and exiled them to the Russian interior. The Russians then handed Vilna over to the Lithuanians, who held it for less than a year before the Russians returned. The Germans entered Vilna during their 1941 Russian campaign and began the process that led to the almost complete extinction of the city's Jewish community. Jewish cultural life, including the press, flourished during its Polish days. Before World War II there were five Jewish dailies, all in Yiddish, which was the language common to most of Vilna's Jews. These existed together with a host of periodicals catering to every level and walk of society, from academics and politicians to dental technicians. Competition among the dailies was fierce. Some were quality papers, and some, the tabloids, competed among themselves for readership with trashy novels and sensationalist scoops. With the outbreak of W.W. II the Russians immediately closed all the Jewish papers, although the Lithuanians did permit one to publish, whereupon various groups simply began to publish new periodicals and pamphlets. When the Russians came back to Vilna, they allowed the publication of one "representative" newspaper, the Communist Party's "Emmes" (Truth or Pravda). Once the Nazis had entered Vilna, the interdicted Jewish press, except for the Judenrat's duplicated "Ghetto News", went underground. A young Jew, sent by the Nazis to work at a printshop outside the ghetto, managed to smuggle back a press, piece by piece. Printed pamphlets and posters began to appear in the ghetto. The same young man later managed to build a press in the city proper for the partisans.

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