Various Artists - Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II (Six Degrees Records)

Add Date: 02/20
Focus Tracks: 1, 2, 4, & 6
FCC: Clean
Format: World, Triple A

Artist Info: The roots of Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs from World War IIbegin in the midst of World War II, when a group of scholars led by ethnomusicologist Moisei Beregovsky (1892 – 1961) endeavored to preserve songs that were written by Jewish Red Army soldiers, refugees, victims and survivors of Ukrainian ghettos. Following the war, the researchers were arrested during Stalin’s anti­ Jewish purge. The scholars’ works were confiscated, and they died thinking the collection was lost to history. In the early 2000s, a lucky coincidence brought University of Toronto Professor Anna Shternshis to Kiev where she learned that these songs had actually survived in the intervening decades following the researchers’ arrests.

The result is Yiddish Glory, a remarkable collaboration between artist Psoy Korolenko, Shternshis, and producer Dan Rosenberg, which brings together an ensemble of elite soloists including vocalist Sophie Milman and Russia’s greatest living Roma violinist, Sergei Eredenko, to pay homage to the victims of the Holocaust and act as a warning against fascism.

Yiddish Glory gives voice to Jewish children, women, refugees whose lives were shattered by horrific violence of World War II,” said Anna Shternshis, Al and Malka Green Associate Professor in Yiddish Studies, University of Toronto. “The songs come to us from people, whose perspectives are rarely heard in reconstructing history, none of them professional poets or musicians, but all at the center of the most important historical event of the 20th century, and making sense of it through music. I cannot be more excited and humbled by this project that brings their voices back to life.”

Many pieces in Yiddish Glory were the first grassroots testimonies of German atrocities against Jews, detailing massacres in Babi Yar, Tulchin and other places in Ukraine. The raw emotional ballads sung in Yiddish convey despair, hope, humor, bravery, resistance and revenge. One song was written by a 10 ­year ­old orphan who lost his family in the ghetto in Tulchin, and another by a teenage prisoner of the Pechora concentration camp. For the first time, the public will hear the music of the Soviet Jews who were thought to be silenced by Hitler and Stalin on Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II.