Vivi Lachs is a social and cultural historian, Yiddishist, teacher and performer. Her PhD, completed in 2016, offered a new reading of East End immigrant history gleaned from the lyrics of the popular culture of the Yiddish-speaking immigrant community. An examination of poetry, satire and music-hall song, showed details of insider debates on politics, sex and religion, analysed through the lenses of transnationalism and the push for anglicization.
Vivi’s most recent monograph positions London’s Yiddish popular culture in historical perspective within Anglo-Jewish history, English socialist aesthetics, and music-hall culture, and shows its relationship to the transnational Yiddish-speaking world, Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884–1914 (Wayne State University Press, 2018).
Her current research draws out social histories from Yiddish short stories written in and about thirties and forties London. The translated stories offer newly framed perspectives on fascism, antisemitism, Zionism and generational change.