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Collection Guide: YIVO Digital Assets

A comprehensive overview of the digital assets of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

A street scene in Kaunas, Lithuanua right L. Fainas drugstore, 1930s. RG 120. YIVO

YIVO Encyclopedia Online

The YIVO Encyclopedia Online is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in Eastern European Jewish history. You can access an overview of the encyclopedia’s contents here (link will download a PDF).

If you are searching for a particular entry, please make note of YIVO’s standardized Hebrew and Yiddish transliterations to maximize your chances of finding exactly what you're looking for (links will download PDFs).

Beyond encyclopedia entries, the website also contains:

Online Exhibits

A number of curated online exhibits of YIVO holdings are available online. They include:

The Strashun Library of Vilna: Rescued from the Ashes

The Strashun Library was one of the most important libraries of Jewish learning in pre-World War II Europe, Its founder, Matityahu Strashun (1817-1885) was a major book collector, who owned thousands of Hebrew texts and manuscripts, including religious writings, fiction, poetry, scientific works, Jewish and Karaite historical works, travel accounts, and Hasidic texts.

This exhibition presents some of the treasures of the library and tells the dramatic story of its destruction in World War II, the rescue of some of its books, and a project to digitally reunite the collection online.

Stories from the Archives: Jewish Immigration to America

Every immigrant has a unique story. Every piece of paper and every photograph in YIVO’s immigration and migration collections is a gateway to those stories.

Shaul Goldman: Educator, Labor Leader, Bundist, Bialystoker

Jewish Bialystok was almost completely erased in the Holocaust. Poland’s fourth largest city before the war, it was a teeming metropolis with a Jewish majority, a fact that gave its local culture a very Jewish flavor. Yiddish theaters, Yiddish newspapers, Yiddish schools – much of the city’s life was lived in Yiddish.

Born and raised in Bialystok, Shaul Goldman helped found the Yugnt Fareyn, a charitable organization that built the first secular Yiddish-language school in Bialystok. He was also instrumental in founding the Sholem-Aleichem Public Library, one of the largest in Poland. His good works as an educator and as a Bund representative for the people of Bialystok were many.

This website was created to explore the legacy of Shaul Goldman, the Bund, and the Yiddish secular schools in Bialystok. 

YIVO Bruce and Francesca Cernia Slovin Online Museum

You can check out the first exhibition of YIVO's online museum, Beba Epstein: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Girl, here.

Lectures and Events

All of YIVO's events are recorded and posted on YouTube. Here, you can find lectures, musical performances, panels, and more.

Yiddish Place Names

Yiddishland: Countries, Cities, Towns, and Rivers was the first attempt to collect of the Yiddish place names in Central and Eastern Europe. YIVO has made the index available online.

Yiddish Plant Names

Through YIVO, you can access a free PDF download of Dr. Mordkhe Schaechter's pioneering dictionary Plant Names in Yiddish.