Yiddish studies professor Anna Shternshis was honoured with a Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia Fiddler on the Roof award at a ceremony in Moscow late last year.
Shternshis, director of the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies in the Faculty of Arts & Science, alongside collaborator Psoy Korolenko, a Russian-based poet, songwriter and performer, took home the Cultural Event of the Year award for the album, Yiddish Glory: The Lost Songs of World War II.
Shternshis discovered the collection of lost Yiddish songs at the Ukrainian National Library in Kyiv while researching Yiddish culture in the Soviet Union during the Holocaust. The trove of songs — some typed, most hand-written on paper, but all very fragile — was created during the darkest chapter of European Jewish history.
During her acceptance speech, Shternshis thanked Kyiv-based folklorist Moisei Beregovsky, who had worked to preserve the music during World War II in order to safeguard Jewish culture of the 1940s, but was arrested during Josef Stalin’s regime.
The Fiddler on the Roof award is the latest accolade for Shternshis’s project, which garnered a 2019 Grammy Award nomination for Best World Music album and had its concert debut in Israel last summer.
Established in 2002, the Fiddler on the Roof awards recognize contributions made by individuals and organizations that positively influence Russia’s social and cultural life regardless of nationality and beliefs.
Watch a clip from the ceremony below:
Please note: the video is in Russian with English subtitles.