Re: Yiddish in Czech lands -- and all over Europe - Breugus #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>

I would like to contribute to the discussion on Yiddish in Bohemia and Moravia
[and Vienna], which was accidentally started when our knowledgeable
nona-genarian SIG member, Hans Weigl >from Breclav [Lundenburg], sent me a joke.

Breclav frontier/railway jokes were a genre well-known in his youth and now
sadly forgotten. They arose because of the severity of the customs officials at
this Moravian border town with Austria and the ingenious excuses [some in Yiddish,
of course] made by the Jewish railway passengers when challenged.

Animated discussion raged behind the Austria-Czech SIG scenes all this week,
culminating in John Freund's interesting posting and Michael Bernet's scholarly

Breclav/Lundenburg, naturally, is the birth place of Franz Josef BERANEK
[1902-1967], the author of the only scientific work on Yiddish dialects in
Czecho-slovakia. I expect he had heard all these railway jokes in his youth:
[ref in Czech only]. He is the author of "Die Mundart von Sudmahren".

There are two Bohemian? Yiddish words to which I would like to give an airing
in my next posting - perhaps the first and last time they will ever appear in

But first to the word "Breugus" which has always intrigued me and has an unusual
origin. I know it was used both by my father who hailed >from London [of Polish
lineage in the 1800s] and my mother's family with their Viennese, Pressburg,
Bohemian and Moravian ancestry. I never hear it used today in my circles
[perhaps the wrong ones?]; has it died out?

The word means "offended" or "beleidigt" in German and I have traced its origin
to the Italian "imbroglio" [a row]; however I always assumed it to be a yiddish
word which has established itself all over Central Europe and Jewish London.

It appears in this rather amusing discourse:

Celia Male [UK]

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