Screening of Beregovsky Film in New York

On August 6, 2023, the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage hosted a screening and presentation of the film Song Searcher: The Times and Toils of Moyshe Beregovsky, dedicated to Moisey Beregovsky, an outstanding musicologist and researcher of Jewish folklore. The film was created by the Russian director Elena Yakovich and first shown in 2021 in Moscow under the title Moisey Beregovsky’s Motives.

Among the participants of the film were the Toronto professor Anna Shternshis and the singer Psoy Korolenko, the creators of Yiddish Glory, a musical project nominated for the 2019 Grammy Awards. The project is based on WWII texts from Beregovsky’s collection.

Lyudmila Sholokhova and Yevgeniya Khazdan, leading experts on the legacy of this great musicologist, talk in the film about Beregovsky’s biography and the discovery of 1,200 phonograph cylinders with sound recordings, which Sholokhova managed to find during the 1990s in the collections of the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine.

The history of this remarkable discovery is a real detective story. Thanks to this great treasure, the voices of Sholem Aleichem and Mikhoels came back to life along with the whole world of people who spoke Yiddish and who tragically died in the Holocaust… The film features digitized songs from the ghettos and camps recorded by Beregovsky among survivors in the first years following WWII.

The film creators kindly shared with our website photos from the documentary and its filming, which took place over the course of three years, mainly in Ukraine. The vast geography of the documentary also includes the former territory of Ozerlag, the Gulag camp where Beregovsky was sent in 1950. Some scenes were also filmed in the US, Canada, Italy and Israel.

After the screening, a detailed conversation was held with the film’s participants. Julia Zilberquit, the executive director of the Heritage Projects Foundation, informed the audience about the new biobibliographic index of Moisey Beregovsky, compiled by Evgeniya Khazdan and published by the Muzyka publishing house in Moscow. The electronic version of this book is available on our website.