The Czernovitz Conference 1908

The Czernovitz Conference 1908

The Conference began on Sunday, August 30, 1908, and lasted for a little under a week.

A quarter after ten in the morning … Dr. Nathan Birnboym opens the Conference reading his first speech in Yiddish fluently from his notes… He reads his speech in the Galician dialect. (Rasvet, September1908: quoted from Afn shvel 1968).

Isaac Leib Peretz.

“The weak, oppressed people awake, and struggle for their language, for their own culture against the nation-state. And we, the weakest, have also joined their ranks.  …
There is one people – Jews, and its language is – Yiddish.” (I. L. Peretz 1908)


A simple look at the agenda is was convened Conference, opened on Sunday, August 30, 1908.  The First Conference for the Yiddish Language, also known as the Czernovitz Conference:

1. Yiddish spelling
2. Yiddish grammar
3. Foreign words and new words
4. A Yiddish dictionary
5. Jewish youth and the Yiddish language
6. The Yiddish press
7. The Yiddish theater and Yiddish actors
8. The economic status of Yiddish writers
9. The economic status of Yiddish actors
10. Recognition for the Yiddish language resolved:to be to see that many issues have yet sufficient to discuss very important topics, formulated in the ten point Conference agenda. To what extent the Conference succeeded in finding the solutions to any of these ten problems has been a subject of discussions (sometimes quite fierce) ever since.

The Development of Yiddish Literature Since

In October 2008 Boris Sandler, Editor-in-Chief of the Forverts newspaper, gave a speech in Yiddish to attendees of the IAYC (International Association of Yiddish Clubs) conference about the development of Yiddish literature since this 1908 conference.

A transcript of his talk on this subject is available now in English and can be found within the “ERC Lecture Series” at the Museum’s Education and Research Center.

You can read a transcript of his talk at

www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/iayc2008-sandler.htm .

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