The "Gefilte Fish line" dividing Litvaks & Galicianers #belarus


Following is the URL linked to a fascinating report on the presentation of a
scholarly paper offered by Professor Michael Steinlauf at a genealogy meeting.

The topic of this paper was the "Gefilte Fish line" in Eastern Europe, a line
which purportedly divides Yiddish accents, and Galicianers >from Litvaks. The
thesis of the paper is that, for Jews of European descent, the decision as to
how one seasons gefilte fish is proof of the location of one's ancestral
shtetl. The Galicianer cooks use sugar in their preparations while the Litvaks
emphatically avoid that sweetness. The URL is: [MODERATOR NOTE: I could not verify
this URL as I kept getting error reports using Internet Explorer]

Though my mother's father was a Galicianer, and her mother was Hungarian,
both of my father's parents were proud of being >from Vilna, so much so that I was
given the impression that coming >from anywhere else in Eastern Europe must
have been second-rate. To my father, the highest compliment was saying that
someone spoke a "pure Litvak Yiddish." Having now read more of the history of
how the Jews were treated in Lithuania, I can't say that I understand this
misplaced pride.

Thus, growing up in New York during the 1960's, I heard plenty of Galicianer

Yet my closest friend's parents were Galicianers and, predictably, they made
Litvak jokes.

Personally, I have to say that, 60 years after the annihilation of the Shoah,
these distinctions seem meaningless, mean-spirited and divisive, and that I
feel such discussions should be saved only for the history books.

Judy Segal, NYC

Join to automatically receive all group messages.