Genya Sandler, an interviewer of the AHEYM Project
Genya Sandler, an interviewee of the AHEYM Project


Location: Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia
Dates: 2000-2003, 2005-2009
Format: MiniDV tape
Accession Numbers: 09-006.01 to 09-010.60-F

The Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories (AHEYM — the acronym means "homeward" in Yiddish) is a linguistic and oral history collection that includes Yiddish language interviews with approximately 350 people, most of whom were born between the 1900s and the 1930s, conducted in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia. The interviews include linguistic and dialectological data, oral histories of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, Holocaust testimonials, musical performances (including Yiddish folk songs, liturgical and Hasidic melodies, and macaronic songs), anecdotes, folk narratives, children's ditties, folk remedies, fragments of Purim plays, reflections on contemporary Jewish life, and guided tours by local residents of sites of Jewish memory in the region. The interviews address issues of memory, Jewish life cycles, family structure, religious observance, community organization, cultural activities, education, health, recreation, cuisine, folklore, language, and linguistics. At the same time, they document and trace dialectological data in order to map out the historical make-up and the geographical distribution of Yiddish dialects, the development of the Yiddish language, and the dynamics of interregional connections via the spread of Hasidism, Enlightenment, and modernization.

To learn more about the project and to view samples of the video recordings, visit the project website at The Archives of Traditional Music is providing preservation services for the project by transferring the nearly 800 MiniDV tapes that were recorded for the project between 2000 and 2009. The ATM is housing the original recordings and the digital preservation masters. The ATM is also assisting in the creation of descriptive metadata about the recordings and their content. The collection is among the larger collections at the Archives. The hundreds of recordings are grouped into approximately 80 different sub-collections based on the geographical area in Eastern Europe in which the recordings were made.

Sample: This edited sample contains short clips from several recordings showing the range of materials and events documented.

A brief sampling of the kinds of recordings in the AHEYM Project collection, including informal and formal singing as well as oral histories with Yiddish speakers.