15 2022

From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg: Yiddish Poetry and Witnessing

5:00PM - 7:00PM  

Annual Toby & Saul Reichert Lecture - Live Zoom Webinar and Q&A

Why was the only memoir of the world's most famous Yiddish poet written out of collective memory until very recently? And what can we learn about the beginning of Holocaust history through a memoir first written in Moscow in 1944? In this talk, 2022 Canadian Jewish Literary Award recipient Justin Cammy  introduces us to the literary and political challenges of translating Sutzkever's From the Vilna Ghetto as he guides us back into a time and place where Yiddish defined and interpreted the world. 

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Justin Cammy is a literary and cultural historian with research and teaching interests in Yiddish literature, Eastern European Jewish cultural history, and contemporary Israel. He is chair of both the Program in World Literatures and the Program in Jewish Studies, director of the Translation Studies Concentration, faculty co-director of STRIDE (Student Research in Departments), and Secretary to the Faculty. He also is a long-time member and advisor in the Programs in Middle Eastern Studies and Russian and East European Studies. 

Cammy's publications range from essays on Yiddish literary history to scholarly translations of historical texts to introductions to new editions of works by Yiddish writers and memoirists. He is a leading authority on the writers of the interwar literary group Yung-Vilne (Young Vilna). His critical edition of Abraham Sutzkever’s From the Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg won the 2022 Canadian Jewish Literary Award and was a finalist of the 2021 National Jewish Book Award.

Cammy has served as resident research fellow at the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan (winter 2020), translation fellow at the Yiddish Book Center (2018), resident research fellow at the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (2014), and Mellon Senior Scholar on the Holocaust and visiting professor of English at UCLA (2009). He is a longtime faculty member of the Steiner Yiddish summer program at the Yiddish Book Center and the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish summer program at Tel Aviv University (for which he also has served as on-site director since 2019). 

Cammy is an associate editor of Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish Literary History, and sits on the academic advisory boards of both the Jonah Goldrich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Tel Aviv University (where he was a senior fellow in 2013-14, 2018-22) and the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies at UMass-Amherst.