Online Performances of Songs from Testimonies

By Christy Bailey-Tomecek
May 1, 2020

The Fortunoff Archive, along with Yale’s Slifka Center for Jewish Life and YIVO hosted two online performances of songs from the Fortunoff Archive’s newly-released recording Where is Our Homeland?: Songs from Testimonies in the Fortunoff Video Archive, Volume One. The widely diverse compositions presented on the album form a multidimensional image of the lives of Holocaust survivors and the multiple identities they carried as Jews by faith and roots, and as European citizens. The songs bring to life insights into their experiences, both during World War II and in the period preceding the war, all of which are documented in their testimonies.


The songs shared in audiovisual testimonies exemplify the unique quality of testimony as a genre of documentation. The thirteen songs featured on Where is Our Homeland? were chosen by D. Zisl Slepovitch, who conducted research in the Archive for culturally and historically significant songs shared by survivors during their testimonies. He then transcribed, scored, arranged, and produced the recording. Former Geoffrey Hartman Fellow Sarah Garibova also spoke at the performances, providing additional context on the nature of song in testimony and the origins of the project.


The first performance by the Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble & Sasha Lurje, hosted by the Fortunoff Archive and the Slifka Center on Thursday, April 23, 2020 can be viewed on Facebook here


The second performance, hosted by the Fortunoff Archive and YIVO on Monday, April 27, 2020, can be viewed on YouTube here.