The Semer Records Project

Vorbei, vorbei, vorbei
They’re gone beyond recall
A final glance, a last kiss
And then it’s all over
They’re gone beyond recall
A final word, a last farewell
Vorbei
Performed by Dora Gerson, German cabaret and film star who was killed at  Auschwitz

Alan Bern & The All-Star Band in the Jewish Museum in Berlin on July 12, 2012. Photographer: Adam Berry

Imagine if all the music that surrounds you – all of it, Broadway, beatbox, pop, classical, you
name it – just disappeared one night. It happened in Berlin seventy-nine years ago. That’s when the Semer Record company was destroyed by the Nazis.

Semer was a labor of love. In the 1930s when the Nazis banned Jewish artists from performing in public, Hirsch Lewin opened a simple recording studio to capture the musical artists of his
community. Thousand of these recordings were lost for over 60 years until a German music historian, Rainer Lotz, went on a Quixotic quest to to find them. Searching attics and basements, trunks and suitcases, flea markets and antique stores, he eventually recovered the vast majority of these  records.

Now, an amazing group of Yiddish musicians are recreating the music of Semer Records, including Lorin Sklamberg from the Klezmatics and my hero, Daniel Kahn, a Yiddish punk
cabaret performer. And while the Nazis may have destroyed the records, the music lives on. Joyous, humorous, beautiful music that gives us all a chance to experience just how vibrant the
German Jewish community was before it was destroyed.
Trust me on this one. Purchase one of the few remaining tickets for an evening with an amazing ensemble making their first tour to the USA. Personally, I think it will join our farewell concert to Theo Bikel as the most important music event I have ever had the honor of being part of. Be prepared to laugh and clap and sing and take deep, deep pride knowing that despite
every effort of the Nazis, the music of Berlin’s Jewish community lives again.

Semer Project
Tuesday, November 14, 8 pm
Granoff Center of Music
Tufts University, Medford

Click here for tickets.

Presented in partnership with Tufts University Music Department, Tufts Hillel and the German Consulate.