Indiana University Bloomington

Home Projects AHEYM Project

AHEYM Project

Dov-Ber Kerler interviews Motl Derbaremdiker in Kiev in 2005The Archives of Historical and Ethnographic Yiddish Memories (AHEYM — the acronym means "homeward" in Yiddish) is a linguistic and oral history project that includes Yiddish language interviews with approximately 350 people, most of whom were born between the 1900s and the 1930s, conducted in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia. The interviews include linguistic and dialectological data, oral histories of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, Holocaust testimonials, musical performances (including Yiddish folk songs, liturgical and Hasidic melodies, and macaronic songs), anecdotes, folk narratives, children's ditties, folk remedies, fragments of Purim plays, reflections on contemporary Jewish life in the region, and guided tours by local residents of sites of Jewish memory in the region. The interviews address issues of memory, Jewish life cycles, family structure, religious observance, community organization, cultural activities, education, health, recreation, cuisine, folklore, language, and linguistics. At the same time, they document and trace dialectological data in order to map out the historical make-up and the geographical distribution of Yiddish dialects, the development of the Yiddish language, and the dynamics of interregional connections via the spread of Hasidism, Enlightenment, and modernization.

The Archives of Traditional Music is providing preservation services for the project by transferring the more than 800 MiniDV tapes that were recorded for the project between 2000 and 2010. The ATM will house the original recordings and the digital preservation masters. The ATM is also assisting in the creation of descriptive metadata about the recordings and their content. The collection is among the larger collections at the Archives.

To learn more about the project and to view samples of the video recordings, visit the project website at www.aheym.org.