This is not just another Yiddish text book. It was written for non-Jews so that they could communicate with the Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants who had been arriving in relatively large numbers and settling in the East End of London since 1882.
Although the book has been reprinted, and you can buy a new copy on Amazon, mine is an original, printed at the Operative Jewish Convert’s Institution, Palestine House, Bodney Road, Hackney.
The book starts by teaching the alphabet – Yiddish is written in Hebrew characters. It ends with quite a comprehensive Yiddish grammar. In between is a phrase book.
This book was intended, for example, for members of the Police Force, and the phrase book section, some of which is reproduced below includes helpful phrases for an interrogation.
Can you speak English? (Kent ihr reden English?)
Can you hear what I say (Kent ihr heren vos ich sog?)
What is your name? (Vi heist ihr)
What is the name of the man who was at your house yesterday (Vi heist der mensh vos is nechten geven bai eich?)
Who lives in the next house (Ver voint in dem zveiten hois?)
Is your father at home (Is eier foter zu jois?)
Can I speak with your husband (Ken ich reden mit eier man?)
I wish my husband were here (Ich vinsh mein man volt hier geven)
He is in prison (Er is in gefengnis)