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History General

Through the Eyes of the Eagle

The Early Montreal Yiddish Press

translated by David Rome

edited by Pierre Anctil

Vehicule Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2001
General, Jewish
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2001
    List Price

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The output of the Yiddish press published in Montreal, starting in 1907, sheds a bright light on the mass migration of East European Jews to the city at the beginning of the twentieth century. In the period about ten years following the appearance of the first Yiddish paper, Der Keneder Odler (The Canadian Eagle), Montreal Jews developed a dense network of religious, cultural and benevolent institutions. The number of Yiddish speakers was at that time increasing very rapidly in certain neighbourhoods in the city, and for the first time one could speak of a visible Jewish community. Translated into English for the first time by historian David Rome (1910-1996), and edited by Pierre Anctil, these selections from the early Montreal Yiddish press offer a rare glimpse of the forces at play in the community during its formative period. They also afford the reader a sense of the intense emotions that the Jewish newcomers grappled with. Writing in the Keneder Odler Yiddish-speaking immigrants reflected on their situation, made plans for the future and even laughed at themselves in a unique humorous vein. The Montreal Yiddish press at the time also contained exceptional descriptions of important strikes in the garment business, Yiddish theatre at the Monument National and even French Canada as seen through Jewish eyes. Illustrated with archival photographs selected by Janice Rosen, director of the Canadian Jewish Congress Archives.

About the authors

David Rome was the director of the Jewish Public Library (1953-1972). He became the national archivist and then historian of the Canadian Jewish Congress until his death in 1996. His last years were devoted to the compilation and translation of articles from Yiddish sources.Pierre Anctil has translated from Yiddish into French the memoirs of Israel Medres, Simon Belkin, and Hirsch Wolofsky. He is currently president of the Institut québécois d'études sur la culture juive and associate professor at the history department of the Université du Québec à Montréal.

David Rome's profile page

Pierre Anctil is an award-winning author, a member of the Royal Society of Canada since 2012 and a full professor at the Department of History of the University of Ottawa, where he teaches contemporary Canadian history and Canadian Jewish history. He has written at length on the history of Montreal’s Jewish community and on the current debates on cultural pluralism in Canada. His most recent English-language titles are Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu (2017) and A Reluctant Welcome for Jewish People: Voices in Le Devoir’s Editorials, 1910–1947 (2019), both at the University of Ottawa Press.

Pierre Anctil's profile page

Other titles by David Rome

Other titles by Pierre Anctil