In 1944, Veli Shargorodskii, a 42-year-old Jewish man from Odessa, wrote the song On the High Mountain, about the Soviets’ battles against the Nazis. The song ends with the words “Germany is in trouble, Hitler is kaput!”
This song and hundreds of others were collected during the war by Moisei Beregovsky, a Russian-Jewish scholar of both music and Yiddish. Beregovsky and colleague Ruvim Lerner planned to publish an anthology of the collected songs, preserving Jewish folk songs, and Yiddish and klezmer music but their plan was quashed by Stalin’s anti-Semitism. In 1950, Beregovsky was arrested and jailed for five years; the music collection was confiscated and believed destroyed.
Now, through a series of unlikely events, these songs, which were thought lost to history, have been rediscovered and published in Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II from Six Degrees Records. Not only that, the recording has been nominated for a Grammy in the world music category.
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