The Interwar Period
YIVO (Yidisher Visnshaftlekher Institut) – The Yiddish Scientific Institute
Jewish science and culture organizations operated in Vilna, including the "Kultur Liga" (Culture League), the Philology Organization, and organizations for Historiography and Ethnography (Folklore and Music) founded by Shloyme Zanvl Rappoport (known by his penname, S. Ansky). In 1925, YIVO – the institute for research into Yiddish history, culture, economy, psychology and education – was founded. Among YIVO's activists were the historian Simon Dubnow and Eliyahu Golomb. The institute published a scientific journal and academic works – among them history and folklore publications, and monographs on Socialism and the Jewish media – held world conferences, and ran a circle of researchers. Private archives, such as that of Esther-Rachel Kaminski, were donated to the institute and the institute began to form a museum of the history of Yiddish theatre.
YIVO published volumes in its series of books Archives, among them Articles On the Economy, Articles On Psychology and Pedagogy, a study dedicated to the Czernowitz Yiddish Language Conference of 1908, and Simon Dubnow's publication, The History of Hassidism (1931).
Researchers at YIVO collated a huge amount of material on the lives of Jews in the Diaspora, and in particular, of Yiddish speakers. The institute presented itself as non-partisan, and thus won the support of many Zionists. Writers, historians, editors and artists from across Europe, the US, Argentina and Eretz Israel attended YIVO's world congress in 1935. Albert Einstein, Zigmund Freud and others sent greetings. During the institute's existence, it held an exhibition of Jewish artists in Poland, with the participation of Marc Chagall.
By the beginning of WWII, the YIVO library had collected some 100,000 volumes and over 100,000 titles, including journals, documents, etc. Some of the material was lost during the Holocaust. Some was transferred by the occupying German forces to Germany, and after the war to the branch in New York, which became the new YIVO centre in 1940.