Six Degree Records has unearthed a very special piece of musical history, and will release the recording next month.
Yiddish Glory — The Lost Songs of World War II will be released Friday, Feb. 23. The recording features new takes of 18 Jewish songs originally crafted by Jewish survivors of the Holocaust as well as Jewish Red Army soldiers and Jewish refugees. Work on the collection started during WWII when ethnomusicologist Moiei Beregovsky led a group of scholars in an effort to preserve the noted songs.
The group was arrested after the war during Lenin’s anti-Jewish purge, and its collective work confiscated. Fast forward to the early 2000s, when University of Toronto Professor Anna Shternshis visited Kiev and discovered the group’s research had survived its confiscation decades earlier. After many more years of work with artist Psoy Korolenko and Producer Dan Rosenberg, Yiddish Glory — The Lost Songs of World War II was finally created.
The recording features performances of the vintage musical compositions by a new group of individuals including vocalist Sophie Milman, famed violinist Sergei Eredenko and others. The songs themselves pay homage to the Holocaust victims while also serving as warnings against fascism, making it clearly relevant in today’s society. As Shternshis noted in an interview about the compilation, “Yiddish Glory gives voice to Jewish children, women, refugees whose lives were shattered by horrific violence of World War II.”
Shternshis added, “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.”
The rarely heard Russian Jewish compositions featured in this collection are only one part of what makes it stands out. Along with those songs, the compilation also features a 40+-page booklet rich with archival images, notes by Sternshis and equally extensive lyrics and liner notes.
Shternshis will be speaking publicly about Yiddish Glory alongside contributing musician Psoy Korolenko, who will perform some of the songs featured in the compilation. The currently scheduled dates are noted below.