Fragments: Jewish Life in Central
and Eastern Europe – 1981 to 2007
The Post-War Photography of Yale Strom

September 10 to November 28, 2014

About the event

Opening reception: Wednesday September 10, 2014 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Special Event

Two events will be held as part of the exhibit: Tuesday October 7 6.30 pm – 8:30 pm. Carpati: 50 Miles, 50 Years A film by Yale Strom about the remaining Jewish community living in a small town in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine.   Thursday October 16 6.30 pm – 8:00 pm. Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi A performance by Yale Strom, Elizabeth Schwartz, Norbert Stachel, and Peter Stan will perform music from Eastern Europe, combining klezmer with Roma, jazz, classical, Balkan and Sephardic motifs. Space is limited and reservations are recommended. 212-431-7993 or email Yale Strom was a pioneer among revivalists in conducting extensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans among the Jewish and Roma communities since 1981. Initially, his work focused primarily on the use and performance of klezmer music among these two groups. Gradually, his focus increased to examining all aspects of their culture, from post-World War II to the present. Over more than 3 decades and 75 such research expeditions, Strom has become one of the world’s leading scholar-ethnographer-artists of klezmer music, history and culture.  

About the exhibit

Few events in recent history have been as momentous and consequential as the fall of the Berlin Wall. This autumn, which marks the 25th anniversary of this event, The Anne Frank Center USA is proud to host Fragments: Jewish Life in Central and Eastern Europe 1981-2007 by photographer and musician Yale Strom.

Fragments is an exhibit of 36 photographs and sheet music that explore the Post-War traditions of Central and Eastern Europe’s remaining Jewish communities. The project began over thirty years ago, when Strom visited Eastern Europe and saw Jews living in small towns and villages reminiscent of the pre-War “shtetl” made famous by Chagall’s paintings and Roman Vishniac’s iconic photographs. In these communities, he found the remnants of orthodox or Hasidic worlds, alongside Jews who were still devoted communists and some who just wanted better lives for their children and grandchildren.

Today, some of these locations do not have a single Jew living in them. And yet in larger towns, Jewish life and culture thrives. Where there was once barely a minyan in Warsaw, there are now several. Where once there was one respected Jewish Day School in Budapest, there are now several with both Jewish and non-Jewish students. And where once Jewish music could only be heard in a Jewish club in Krakow, now there is an international Jewish musical festival that attracts people from all over the globe.

It is this world – vibrant, varied, and ever-changing – that Strom captures in Fragments. The exhibit focuses on nine countries – Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, East Germany, the former Soviet Union (Moldova and Ukraine today), the former Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Belarus, and the Ukraine (after the Wall came down) – and depicts images from both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A musician, Strom also pays special attention to the role of klezmer music, with several photographs dedicated to the subject. Original sheet music – “lost” melodies the artist learned on his journeys – will also be displayed alongside the photographs.

This exhibit is made possible by The New York Department of Cultural Affairs, The Puffin Foundation West, and The Anne Frank Center USA, and is sponsored by The Hungarian Consulate and the Polish Cultural Institute.

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