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Idishe Shtime, Di

Daily Zionist newspaper in Yiddish, published in Kovno (Kaunas) from 21 July 1919 until 1 August 1940. Although formally the organ of the General Zionists, Di idishe shtime (The Jewish Voice) quickly became the main mouthpiece of Lithuanian Jewry and a platform for literary figures and publicists of various political movements during the interwar years. From 1926 to 1933, some of its material was prepared in Riga by correspondents of the newspaper Frimorgn.

Until 1925, Di idishe shtime coordinated its policies with the Jewish faction in the Lithuanian Seimas (parliament). Among the paper’s frequently changing editors during this period were the head of the Kovno Keren Hayesod Mordekhai Iatkunski; leader of the Lithuanian Tse‘ire Tsiyon and Seimas deputy Leyb Gorfinkel; critic and publicist Bal-Makhshoves; writer Izidor Leizerovich; Seimas deputy Jacob Robinson; and Zionist activist Mosheh Kleinman.

At the end of 1925, the popular journalist Ruvn Rubinshteyn became the de facto editor of Di idishe shtime, and under his guidance the paper achieved a high level of professionalism and financial and social success. It reflected significant events taking place in both Jewish and Lithuanian society, exposed antisemitism, and asserted Jews’ right to cultural autonomy. Among Di idishe shtime’s regular correspondents were Zalman Shneour, Ya‘akov Ze’ev Latzky-Bertholdi, Ya‘akov Helman, and Ester Eliashev. Several other publications were printed at Di idishe shtime’s printing house: the evening Yiddish newspaper Hayntike nays (Today’s News; 1934–1940) and the weeklies Di velt (The World) in Yiddish, Hed Lita (Echo of Lithuania) in Hebrew, and Mūss garsas (Our Voice) in Lithuanian.

In mid-July 1940, after Soviet troops had entered Lithuania, Rubinshteyn was dismissed as editor of Di idishe shtime and was later arrested; he was replaced by a left-wing activist, Pinḥas Lamdanski. The paper continued to cover the elections to the national Seimas as well as the reforms being implemented in Jewish life. On 2 August of that year, one day before Lithuania officially became Soviet, subscribers stopped receiving Di idishe shtime and began to receive the leftist, anti-Zionist organ Folksblat. Some of Di idishe shtime’s employees joined the editorial staff of that publication.

Suggested Reading

Rafa’el Hasman et al., eds., Yahadut Lita, vol. 2 (Tel Aviv, 1972), pp. 254–255, 374–375; Dov Levin, Tekufah ba-sograyim, 1939–1941 (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1989), pp. 140–141, also in English as The Lesser of Two Evils: Eastern European Jewry under Soviet Rule, 1939–1941, trans. Naftali Greenwood (Philadelphia, 1995).



Translated from Russian by I. Michael Aronson