JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen RE:Tavern Keepers #general


Ava Cohn <avatom@...>
 

"I would appreciate any comments about the fact there there were so
many tavern keepers..."

My SHENKMAN family were tavern keepers in Volyntsy, Vitebsk gubernia,
now Belarus, near the border of Dvinsk, Lithuania. My grandmother
talked about how non-Jews would frequent the tavern, get drunk and
dance all night in the tavern. Whether it was a bed and breakfast as
Howard Margol has suggested of taverns in Lithuania, I do not know. I
can, however, attest to antisemitism against the tavern keepers. A few
years ago, Yuri Dorn sent me a famous Byelorussian "fairytale" about
Jewish tavern keepers, "Lantuch v shenke" (Ghost in the Tavern). This
antisemitic tale, by coincidence just happens to be about the tavern
keeper in Volyntsy, Vitebsk guberniya, my SHENKMAN family. The tale
centers around a ghost that inhabits a tavern and causes such havoc
that the tavern keeper is forced to turn over his business to a
Byelorussian. Lo and behold, once the Jewish entrepreneur is gone, the
ghost departs. As with every endeavor our ancestors were involved in,
antisemitism was never far >from the door. By the way, the surname
SHENKMAN is Yiddish for tavern owner.

Ava Cohn
Long Grove, IL

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