6: Oral history video excerpt, “My Grandmother's Folk Tales and Card Games,” 2012.
In this clip from the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, Avrom Lichtenbaum, a Yiddish teacher and the director of the IWO (Yiddish Research Institute) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, speaks to what it was like growing up in Argentina, and balancing his Eastern European roots with his new Argentinian identity.
Suggested Activity: Play the excerpt for students. Ask them what they take away about Lichtenbaum’s experience as an immigrant in Argentina. How do his experiences as an immigrant compare to those portrayed in Gerchunoff’s story and Jusid’s film (resources # 3 and 4 above)? How did his experience living in the capital city of Buenos Aires differ from the experiences of those who immigrated to Moisés Ville? In what ways was his experience similar to theirs?
For a larger project, have students plan, conduct, and record an interview with a family member, friend, or community member on their immigration experience. Review and discuss the basic principles of oral history with students before they begin their interviews. For tips on how to conduct an oral history interview, visit this helpful page from the Library of Congress.
Sources: Avrom Lichtenbaum, interview by Christa Whitney in Vilnius, Lithuania (Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, July, 31, 2012), http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/collections/oral-histories/excerpts/woh-ex-0002336/my-grandmother-s-folk-tales-and-card-games. For the complete interview with Lichtenbaum: http://www.yiddishbookcenter.org/collections/oral-histories/interviews/woh-fi-0000329/abraham-avrom-lichtenbaum-2012