Moscow: Emes, 1937. Item #772
52 pp.: ill. 21x14 cm. In original illustrated wrappers, Yiddish and Russian titled on the front and back covers. Very good. Small tears of the wrappers, pale stains on some margins, previous owner’s bookplate on the recto of the front cover.
First edition. One of 5000 copies. Very rare. Translated into Yiddish by M. Fishman.
According to the 1897 census, 97% of the Jews of the Russian Empire called Yiddish their native tongue, after the revolution it was the official language of the “Jewish working masses” and was recognized as the language of general education and office work in the Soviet republics. In the 1920s-1930s, Soviet authorities made efforts to encourage "Soviet proletarian culture" in Yiddish as a countermeasure against the traditional Jewish "bourgeois" or "Shtetl" culture. The Jewish newspaper Der Emes (Pravda, i.e. The Truth) was published from 1918 to 1938. But like everything else of Jewish culture and other national cultures was suppressed during Stalin years in USSR.
This children’s book was printed by Der Emes which was a Soviet publishing house operating in Moscow from the early 1920s till 1948. Its main focus was on fiction in Yiddish and translations into Yiddish. After its shutdown director, chief editor and a few other employees of Der Emes were arrested.
After the WWII books in Yiddish were stopped from printing just like Jewish culture was suppressed, anti semitism became a state policy.
Worldcat locates copies at Center for Jewish History and Harvard.