*re: yiddish in Czech lands #austria-czech

Tom Venetianer <tom.vene@...>

Dear all,

I find this thread fascinating. In the part of Czechoslovakia where I was born
and raised (southern Slovakia) people barely spoke yiddish. Instead they either
spoke Hungarian, Slovak, and/or German. At home I was raised speaking those three

Most of the Czechs I knew spoke either German or Czech. Even older people, born
in the 19th century spoke mainly German - "hoch Deutsch" for that effect. As John
noted, it was a sign of good uprising to speak German or French with fluency.

Yiddish wasn't spoken at all with the exception of few words which even the
gentiles employed - huchem (wise guy), shmok (moron), hulile (G-d forbids),
ganef (thief), kuvet (praise) are some examples.

I kept discussions about this subject at Hungary-SIG, and was challenged several
times, mainly by member with ancestry >from the Carpathian region (Munkacs, Bereg,
Ung). Of course there yiddish was lingua franca because most of the local Jews
were immigrants >from Galicia and Bukovina and of strict Orthodox upraising.

I would love to hear other people's experiences with yiddish in Bohemia and Moravia.

Shavua tov to all

Subject: yiddish in Czech lands
From: Nora Freund <jonora@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 09:57:46 -0500

How did the Jews speak in Bohemia and Moravia?

In the prewar years, the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia spoke both
German ( the older generations ) and Czech and since 1918, the
creation of the Czechoslovak Republic, Czech. I was born in 1930 and
spoke only Czech. My mother's mother tongue of Czech and my
father's German.`As many Jews were members of professions and
akademia , speaking properly was a sign of ones education.
However, back to the book by Ruth Bondy.

The vocabulary lists and explains words which are partly of Yiddish,
Hebrew, Czech and German origins. just a few examples:

"mecie" goods purchased at a law price "kile" the Jewish Community
"ganef" thief, bad person
"herzensganef" thief of hearts ( a cute kid )
"sejchl" a bright brain
John Freund.

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