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A Bibliography of the Jewish Press in Polish / ביבליוגרפיה של עתונות יהודית בשפה הפולנית

אלינה צאלה, אברהם הנדלזלץ and Alina Cala
Kesher / קשר
No. 8 (נובמבר 1990), pp. 70-73
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23902884
Page Count: 4
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A Bibliography of the Jewish Press in Polish / ביבליוגרפיה של עתונות יהודית בשפה הפולנית
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Abstract

Dr. Alina Cala is a young Polish historian who for the last few years has been devoting herself to bibliographic research of the Jewish press in Poland, having learned Hebrew and Yiddish in order to help her is this work. She did her doctorate on "The Problem of Anti-Semitism in the Polish Kingdom." Taking up the bibliographic research of the late Paul Glickson on the daily and periodical Jewish press in Polish during 1823-1982, sponsored by the Hebrew University's Center for Research of the History and Culture of Polish Jewry, Dr. Cala recently completed a volume of research that covers the period up to 1939. Dr. Cala stipulates that her research is incomplete, for two reasons. First, she limited her work to libraries and archives in Warsaw, although there is a great deal of material to be found elsewhere in Poland and in other countries. Second, it is difficult to detect which publications are Jewish in nature, in cases where the names of the publications are not Jewish. In the introduction to her research, Dr. Cala points out that Glickson had traced over 500 periodicals, based on bibliographic sources primarily in the British Museum in London, the Library of Congress in Washington and the National Library at the Hebrew University. In 1986 she took up where he had left off, initially planning to cover all the libraries in Poland. She discovered that there is so much material extant, that she would limit herself to the libraries in Warsaw: the National Library, the Warsaw University Library, the Public Library, the College for Planning and Statistics Library, the United Labor Party Central Committee Archive and the Jewish Historical Institute. She was also assisted by the Bibliography Laboratory of the History Institute at the Academy of Sciences, as well as by Polish-language material at the National Library at the Hebrew University. Dr. Cala documented 1,060 titles, with an addendum of an additional 203 partially documented titles. Some of the periodicals were published outside Poland — in Eretz Israel, in various European countries and in North America. The oldest Polish Jewish newspaper, Dostrzegacz Nadwislanski ("The Wisla Shore Observer"), appeared during 1823-24. The largest number of periodicals were published between the world wars, although many of them were short-lived. A considerable number of papers were bilingual (Polish and Yiddish, or Polish and Hebrew), and some were trilingual (Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew). Dr. Cala also listed calendars and reports of events, even though they cannot be classified as periodicals, because of their importance as historical source material. Jewish periodicals in Polish were published by a variety of institutions — professional, economic, student, mutual aid, army veteran, medical, charitable and cultural. There were also a large number of political periodicals, especially Zionist organs. Interestingly, despite efforts to use Hebrew, it was the Polish language that served to convey the Hebrew national message to the Jewish community. The second-largest group of political publishers were the left-wing Jewish organizations — the Bund, socialists and communists. Only a few periodicals promoted the idea of assimilation, even during the period between the wars when the pace of assimilation was rapid. Oddly, there were about ten Orthodox periodicals which were published in Polish. In addition to solving the problem of identifying Jewish periodicals whose names gave no hint of their Jewishness, Dr. Cala also had to decide whether to include periodicals whose subject matter was not Jewish — such as professional or economic journals — but whose membership or readership was virtually entirely Jewish, and therefore of historical interest within this context. A related problem was the relevance of the self-image of individuals in the publishing field — whether they defined themselves as Jews or not, and whether including their publications in the research might not stretch its perimeters too much. Dr. Cala defined her approach to these questions as flexible while remaining faithful to the criterion of the essential Jewishness of the publications in question.

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