This article originally appeared in the Yiddish Forverts.
In this video, master storyteller Shira Gorshman describes her impoverished childhood in a Lithuanian shtetl. She vividly describes her brutal stepfather, her very competent but combative grandmother and her adoring grandfather, who was the first person to introduce her to the beauty of the outdoors.
Imbued with idealism, Gorshman settled in British Mandate Palestine in 1924 as a pioneer but returned to the Soviet Union in 1928 to build another utopian community: An agricultural colony in Crimea, where she, an overseer of 500 animals and single mother of three, fell in love and married artist Mendl Gorshman, who would later become the illustrator of her storybooks.
This documentary is one of ten in which acclaimed Yiddish writers of the pre-war generation speak openly about their lives. The films, in Yiddish with English subtitles, were directed by award-winning writer and former Forverts editor Boris Sandler and produced through the Forward Association as a DVD series called “Monologues of Yiddish Writers.” The name of the DVD about Shira Gorshman is “Shira Gorshman: Lithuania, Palestine, Crimea.”
During the next several months, the Forverts will post the installments one by one, every two weeks.