Outwitting History

Aaron Lansky, Helen Beer

06/03/2005 12:15 pm

It started out as a student adventure, and ended up as the rescue of a dying culture. In Outwitting History, Aaron Lansky tells the extraordinary story of how he and a few volunteers saved over 1.5 million Yiddish books of all kinds from dusty attics and dustbins across Europe and America.

With Dr Helen Beer, Lansky described the marvellous characters he met during his researches and the wonderful writers – from Mendele to Sholem Aleichem – whose treasured works he saved. “Because Yiddish has magic,” the scholar Max Weinreich once said, “it will outwit history.” Aaron Lansky has proved him right.

Aaron Lansky

Aaron Lansky is founder and president of The National Yiddish Book Center in Massachusetts.

Helen Beer

Helen Beer is Lecturer in Yiddish at University College London. She is currently working on a biography of Itsik Manger.