Colloquium, Lorin Sklamberg (YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York), “The Semer Record Label: Jewish Music in Nazi Berlin, 1933-38”

April 26, 2017 - 12:00pm
New Cabell Hall 236

Lorin SklambergCo-sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the Center for German Studies

The Semer label was created in Berlin in 1932 by Vilna native Hirsch Lewin, owner of the Jewish book store, “Hebräische Buchhandlung.” During the first five years of the Nazi regime (1933-38), Lewin recorded members of the Cultural Federation of German Jews (Kulturbund Deutscher Juden) – a group of Jewish musicians in Nazi Germany whose only creative outlet was to perform for Jewish-only audiences – on 78 rpm recordings. On Pogrom Night (Reichskristallnacht), November 9, 1938, Nazi Storm Troopers demolished the Hebräische Buchhandlung, including its 4,500 recordings and 250 metal master plates.

The 2001 publication, Vorbei/Beyond Recall: A Record of Jewish Musical Life in Nazi Berlin 1933-1938 (Bear Family Records), spearheaded by German discographer Rainer E. Lotz, documented the history of Lewin’s label and its recordings in a book accompanied by 11 CDs and a DVD.

Lorin Sklamberg presents this colloquium in his dual role as Sound Archivist of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, and as singer in the Semer Ensemble, an international group formed in 2012 by Alan Bern to perform reinterpretations of Semer repertoire. Moderated by Joel Rubin (McIntire Department of Music).

Free and open to the public

Lunch will be available

To rsvp, contact Tierre Sanford,



McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176