Aniksht Nicknames A Shtetl was often given a humorous or deprecating nickname by an outsider, usually a Jewish visitor to that shtetl, oftentimes based on a first impression, an event, a stereotype or a profession. Aniksht had a couple of nicknames: one based on a stereotype or first impression, the other on a profession. Once a nickname was uttered, it became grist for the kibitz mill. Perhaps a Jew visiting Aniksht on business encountered a snob or braggart, so upon returning home, the experience was described and before long the kibitzers were laughing about the Aniksht Show-Offs. The nickname often stuck. In another example, a visitor observed that most Aniksht Jews were engaged in the wool trades, so its Jewish residents were typecast as the Aniksht Woolens. Many shtetlach fared far worse. There were the Sereye arsonists, Simne corpses, Vilkiye clod-hoppers, Vilkomir bums, Ponevezh turkey- gobblers, Raseyn gluttons, Layzeve scratchers, Keydan hunchbacks, the Shavl treyf-eaters, to name a few. Almost every shtetl had a nickname. [Source: “The Shtetl Book,” by Diane K. Roskies and David G. Roskies, KTAV Publishing, 1979, pp. 45-47, used with permission.] For a people without a land or an army and powerless by conventional standards, Jews used humor as a weapon in their never-ending struggle for survival. They became masters of mockery, but rather than using the sharp edge of their humor against their enemy, they often turned it on themselves, to establish their own humanity by comic extension of universal folly.   Jewish Life