JEWISH GEOGRAPHY: Shtetl nicknames in Lita #lithuania


LEW & CARLA CHILTON
 

Hello Litvaks,

Having read the Litvaksig digest sporadically over the years (but not
having been a contributor), I may have overlooked posts that mention a
wonderful book about Poland and Lita: "The Shtetl Book, An Introduction
to East European Life and Lore," by Diane K Roskies and David G. Roskies
(copyright 1975, 1979 by KTAV Publishing House). It may be out of print.
I purchased my paperback copy in a Judaica bookshop in the 1980s.

A very funny section of the book describes shtetl nicknames in Lita. For
example:

The Musnik oath-breakers, Simne corpses, Sereye arsonists, Kelmer
sleepers, the Vabolnik broth, the Subotsch kugl, the Utyan bear-trainers,
Yaneve boors, Vilkiye clod-hoppers, Aniksht show-offs, Vilkovishk roosters,
Vilkomir bums, Pumpian sacks, Shaki and Gorzd horse thieves, Shavl
treyf-eaters, Raseyn sinners, Kalvarye Germans, Keydan hunchbacks,
Ponevezh turkey-gobblers, Raseyn gluttons, Shkudvil farfl-tsmises,
Layzeve scratchers, etc., etc.

These names were created to poke fun at the Yidn of those shtetlach, based
on an actual event, a first impression, a sterotype, a profession, or
an association. Are you a Keydan hunchback or a Ponevezh turkey-gobbler?
As for me, I'm an Aniksht show-off!

Another section of the book describes the gefilte fish line, an imaginary
boundary between Poland and Lithuania. Jews west of this boundary (Poland)
sweetened their gefilte fish with sugar while Jews on the eastern side
(the Litvaks) seasoned theirs with pepper. How you season your gefilte fish
may well detemine where your ancestors came from!

If you don't know about this book, you're missing out on a great resource.

Lewis Chilton (Aniksht show-off)
Northridge, California
USA

Researching TOKAR and MULIAR >from ANYKSCIAI, VIRBALIS, TROSKUNAI and
SVEDASAI; and MARMUT >from VILNIUS and RUDAMINA.

MODERATOR'S NOTE: This message is NOT the beginning of a thread about
gefilte fish recipes.

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