Category Archives: 5783 / 2022-23 Programme

26 February Film: The Song Searcher: The Times and Toils of Moyshe Beregovsky, 8pm (meeting in person)

This film, directed by one of Russia’s leading documentary film makers, Yelena Yakovich, is the story of a man’s lifelong search for authentic Yiddish folk music and of his unique archive. Moyshe Beregovsky, a musician and scholar, criss-crossed Ukraine with phonograph in hand during the most dramatic years of Soviet history in order to record and study the traditional music of Ukrainian Jewry. Presumed to be lost forever, his archive was only recently discovered on hundreds of fragile wax cylinders in Kiev. His work began in the 1920’s and led to his arrest and imprisonment in a Stalinist labour camp in 1950, while most of those whose songs he recorded were ultimately shot and tossed into mass graves. Although Beregovsky succeeded in saving the musical heritage of Ukraine’s Jews, the personal price he paid was high. Filmed on location in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, and loaded with rare, unique video-footage and archival audio materials, this film is much more than an account of Moyshe Beregovsky’s life and work. Using haunting historical images, it tells the story of how Beregovsky and his fellow ethnomusicologists rescued Yiddish song before it was practically silenced in the Soviet Union. The music is heard throughout the film, either in its original archival version or performed live by some of the best contemporary klezmer musicians. The same team very recently made a subsequent audio documentary, Yiddish Glory. It is a remarkable programme and can be heard by accessing BBC Sounds on It tells of the 1.5 million Jews transported by the Soviet Union to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan during the War and of the songs, many of which were adapted to the situation which Jews found themselves in beyond the Urals, and which were sent back to Beregovsky in Kiev for safekeeping.

The screening will be introduced by Dr Phil Alexander, who will also be happy to discuss the film and any questions that may arise after the screening. Phil is well known to many of us in Edinburgh for his performance of klezmer, both with and without his quintet Moyshe’s Bagel, as well as tango and ‘salsa celtica’. He is an ethnomusicologist who received his PhD from SOAS, following his examination of klezmer music and performance in Berlin. He is currently a British Academy Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where he studies historical Scottish-Jewish musical interactions.

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8 January Kerstin Stutterheim: The Goldberg Condition, or how a famous person was forgotten and rediscovered (in person)

Emanuel Goldberg was an influential scientist, manager and visionary whose name was almost erased from history by the Nazis. Born in Moscow, he studied in Berlin and London. He was appointed as the first ever professor of photographic and reproduction techniques in his late twenties. A few years later, he headed the research department of one of the most important camera factories in Dresden, of which he became the manager until he was kidnapped by the SA in 1933. After a diversion via Paris, he migrated to Israel, where his laboratory became the incubation cell of Israel’s optical industry. One can say that there would be no drones made in Israel today without Goldberg’s revenge on Hitler. But he was not only a researcher who scaled down everything that seemed too big to him, he also wrote wonderful love letters.In a network of diverse research scientists, we have reconstructed his biography as best we could, made his estate accessible and secure, and interviewed his daughter and the rest of his family. One of the results was a documentary film made by Niels Bolbrinker and myself, from which I will show and discuss some excerpts. 

Kerstin Stutterheim is professor in creative practice and head of research at the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University. Her recent positions have included Rector of the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, and Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at Bournemouth University. Her most recent monograph is Modern Film Dramaturgy – An Introduction, Peter Lang Publishing 2019. A new work, Dramaturgie im Dokumentarfilm, is in preparation for 2023. As documentary filmmaker she wrote and directed several internationally awarded films, including Myth, Might and Murderer (1999, 89 min) about the idea of being the chosen within the Nazi ideology; Bauhaus—Model and Myth (2009 – 103 min) about the history and the aftermath of the Bauhaus academy, and Flies & Angels about two Ukrainian Jewish artists, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, and their art of the ‘total installation’ (D 2009. 90 min). Her filmography is at

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