chapter
16 Pages

Introduction

This chapter shows how experiences of performing and teaching in Europe fit into, enrich and challenge the wider American Jewish narratives in which the contemporary Yiddish music scene. In Central and Eastern Europe, Yiddish language and culture was shaped by a thousand years of close contact with co-territorial peoples; in the same places its future was cut short and its speakers murdered by the Nazi regime. Yiddish music was not entirely absent from the German soundscape during the post-war decades, and its prominence increased in Germany and Austria during the 1970s and 1980s. By profession a documentary filmmaker, Waletzky's film work has intersected with his interest in Yiddish music on several occasions. He directed and edited Image before My Eyes, a film about Jewish life in Poland during the 1930s, and Partisans of Vilna, a documentary about Jewish resistance during the Second World War.