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Shadows of Berlin


A captivating novel of a Berlin girl on the run from the guilt of her past and ...
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"Don't embarrass yourself with Yiddish in front of other Jews. What do you think, this is the Ukraine?" What do you think Rachel's parents meant?

Created: 04/29/22

Replies: 4

Posted Apr. 29, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gloriak

Join Date: 02/25/21

Posts: 10

"Don't embarrass yourself with Yiddish in front of other Jews. What do you think, this is the Ukraine?" What do you think Rachel's parents meant?

As a child, Rachel's family only speaks German ("the language of assimilation") in public. She's told, "Don't embarrass yourself with Yiddish in front of other Jews. What do you think, this is the Ukraine?"

What do you think her parents meant?

(page 28)


Posted Apr. 29, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorinned

Join Date: 10/13/14

Posts: 165

RE: "Don't embarrass yourself ...

I am not sure because I'm not knowledgeable about the Ukraine in the timeframe of the book, but if Ukraine was the free-thinking country that it is today at that time, then Rachel's parents were simply being cautious. The point would have been not to act Jewish in public in order not to attract attention to yourself. The pogroms were already in existence in Europe long before the Second World War started.


Posted May. 03, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carriem

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 99

RE: "Don't embarrass yourself ...

From the book and prior knowledge in the Ukraine Jews did speak Yiddish at home as well as in public before the Nazi era and it was common practice. In German, on the other hand upper and middle Jews spoke German in public even before the Nazi era partially because they thought it was more cultured.


Posted May. 03, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 90

RE: "Don't embarrass yourself ...

It's very interesting that the Ukraine was referenced in this book, given the horrible circumstances occurring now. I think speaking Yiddish was a source of shame as being "lower class" and more "common" as opposed to being more sophisticated.


Posted May. 09, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
swchis39

Join Date: 09/26/12

Posts: 137

RE: "Don't embarrass yourself ...

Most people want to be assimilated into their country, not stand out as different. Speaking Yiddish in public identifies you as perhaps a less cultured Jew. Perhaps given what went on in Germany Jewish people might have liked to keep a low profile.


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