Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise And Fall Of a Forgotten Nation

David Schneider

04/03/2007 4:45 pm

David Schneider spoke to Paul Kriwaczek about his engaging and entertaining, though controversial book on the history of the Yiddish-speaking Jews. Why does he describe Yiddish as a civilisation rather than a culture or language? Why does he start his story with the Roman Empire and end it in the 19th century when Yiddish continued to flourish for at least another century? What is the legacy of Yiddish and what its future? A strong challenge to traditional thinking about Yiddish, drawing on the author’s extensive and eclectic knowledge of the field, the conversation was both stimulating and highly entertaining.

David Schneider

David Schneider researched a PhD in Yiddish drama at Oxford before becoming the hilarious writer of – and actor and comedian in – award-winning comedy shows and films such as I’m Alan Partridge and Mission Impossible.

Paul Kriwaczek

Paul Kriwaczek escaped from Austria with his parents in 1939. He worked as a dental surgeon in Asia and Africa before joining the BBC. He was responsible for the television series Living Islam and The Last Exodus, about the Jews of Russia. Short listed for the Jewish Quarterly - Wingate Literary Award, Yiddish Civilisation, the Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation, was a Sunday Telegraph Book of the Year.