78 rpm Recordings of European Jewish Music

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Early Recordings of Jewish Music in Poland


I would like to thank the Littman Library which has kindly given its consent for the online publication of this article which was first published in Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, Volume 16: Jewish Popular Culture and its Afterlife (2003), edited by Michael C. Steinlauf and Antony Polonsky and published on behalf of the Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies and the American Association for Polish Jewish Studies by the Littman Library of Jewish Civilization.

I would also like to thank Helen Winkler for having given this article a temporary home at her Yiddish Dance website at: http://www.yiddishdance.com/


When I wrote this article which, despite its title, is more or less a summary of my Discography of Early European Recordings of Jewish Music, I had documented a mere 1,753 recordings. In the intervening years many thousands more recordings have been incorporated and the total now stands in the region of 14,000 spread across 113 different record companies. Please find further information on the project's mission and status here.


The only general statement in this article that needs major revision is the claim that: "The period 1918 to 1939 saw a steep decline, we may even say collapse, of the recording of Jewish music in Europe."  Whereas there most certainly was a great decline in production, my continued research during the last 8 years has demonstrated that this was by no means as dramatic as at first seemed the case.

One factual error needs to be corrected.  Dr Rainer Lotz has pointed out to me that the recordings in Table 2 noted as having been recorded in Tarnów would in fact have been recorded in Berlin.

Please click here for the article (as a PDF file.)

Posted 22 December 2008.

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Copyright 2008, Michael Aylward