An Unknown Yiddish Masterpiece That Anticipated the Holocaust

Written in 1923, “In the Crucifix Kingdom” depicts Europe as a Jewish wasteland. Why has no one read it?

From a portrait of Uri Zvi Greenberg by the Israeli painter Ziona Tager. Wikipedia.

From a portrait of Uri Zvi Greenberg by the Israeli painter Ziona Tager. Wikipedia.

Observation
April 15 2015
About the author

Michael Weingrad is professor of Jewish studies at Portland State University and a frequent contributor to Mosaic and the Jewish Review of Books. 


In a dark Yiddish masterpiece that predated the Holocaust by two decades, the poet Uri Zvi Greenberg envisioned the annihilation of Jewish life in Europe. Today, seven decades after that vision became cataclysmic reality, as Jews this week observe the annual commemoration of the Holocaust on Yom Hashoah, and as the Jewish horizon in Europe darkens once again, his work speaks with fresh immediacy.

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More about: Arts & Culture, History & Ideas, Poetry, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Yiddish literature