1: Film excerpt, interview with Yenta Mash, ca. 1990, in Boris Sandler’s "Fridays at Leyvik House," 2015.
In this interview with Yenta Mash, conducted in the early 1990s, Mash describes why she didn’t begin to write in Yiddish until her immigration to Israel. The interview is featured in the documentary, Fridays at Leyvik House (2015), beginning at 31:57 and ending at 35:54.
Suggested Activity: Watch the clip with your students and ask them to discuss their reactions. Why do they think Mash is often asked about beginning to write at an advanced age? What does that tell them about cultural expectations for the typical trajectory for a writer’s career, and why Mash didn’t follow that typical trajectory? In her response, Mash discusses the long-lasting impact of her traumatic experiences on her ability to express herself. Ask your students what Mash means when she says that “Siberia persecuted me” long after she had left the prison camp. In what ways was she persecuted and how did that impact her life? How do your students think that writing about her past from a distance of time and space might have shaped her work?
Source: Forverts, “Fridays at Leyvik House,” Oct. 4 2017, video, 47:15, https://youtu.be/Epeawwf1V6A.