Letter from Moses Bruner to Shmuel Zaynvl Pipe, 1938. From Moses Bruner (Emil W. Brunner) in Lwów, Poland (now L'viv, Ukr.), to Shmuel Zaynvl Pipe in Vilna, 12 December 1938, reporting that he is sending him heder-related riddles and that Agudas Yisroel organized a literary evening in his honor at the largest hall in Lwów. Yiddish. RG 107, Letters Collection. (YIVO)

Find more information about

at the Center for Jewish History:

NOTE: you will be redirected
to the Web site for the

Pipe, Shmuel Zaynvl

(1907–1943), Yiddish folklorist. Born in Sanok, central Galicia, Shmuel Pipe learned the tailoring trade from his father. He was active in the youth organization Ha-Shomer ha-Tsa‘ir, advancing to the position of youth leader and educator. He became an enthusiastic collector for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in Vilna, submitting Yiddish folktales and songs, children’s games, and other folklore materials.

Pipe was a product of YIVO’s efforts to develop mature and dispassionate scholars of East European Jewish studies. In 1930 he was among the collectors who participated in the YIVO seminar in Vilna, conducted by Yehudah Leib Cahan, who encouraged him to pursue gathering and studying folklore. Pipe was invited to become a YIVO aspirant (research trainee) from 1935 to 1939, and in this capacity he contributed important studies on Yiddish folk songs, children’s songs and games with coterritorial variants, folk anecdotes about Napoleon and the Jews, Yiddish songs of Soviet Russia and sources of folk songs collected by Y. L. Peretz. Pipe also provided information about the folklorization of the songs “Der arbeter” (The Worker) by David Edelstadt and “Di mashke” (Whiskey) by Mikhl Gordon, and he researched folk songs for the YIVO volume of folklore (1938). Pipe believed that folklore exists not only among the lower classes, as Yehudah Leib Cahan maintained, “but even among those who have a higher status. I would say among the whole people” (Gottesman, 2003, p. 152). His classification of children’s games, he felt, would not only aid the folklorist but also the child psychologist, as well as the modern Yiddish school.

Upon completing his second year as an aspirant, Pipe became a research assistant at YIVO. While on a visit to his home in Sanok, he met the fate of his family in World War II and perished in 1943 in Zasław, near Przemyśl, Galicia.

In 1971 Dov Noy and Meir Noy edited a volume of folklore studies devoted to Pipe, comprising the Yiddish folk songs that he collected from Galicia, his correspondence with his brothers, the folklorization of Edelshtat’s “Der arbeter,” copious annotations, notes, and indices. Pipe’s correspondence with Cahan is found in Cahan’s Shtudyes vegn yidisher folksshafung (Studies on Yiddish Folklore; 1952).

Suggested Reading

Itzik Nakhmen Gottesman, Defining the Yiddish Nation: The Jewish Folklorists of Poland (Detroit, 2003); Eleanor Mlotek, “Soviet-Yiddish Folklore Scholarship,” Musica Judaica 2.1 (1977–1978): 73–90; Dov Noy and Meir Noy, Yidishe folkslider fun galitsye (Tel Aviv, 1971).