Seeking Yiddish Speakers for Ellis Island Project

The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is seeking assistance helping with the transcription and translation of more than 8,000 sound recordings from the early 20th century of immigrant stories, songs, and other recordings, including many pertaining to the Yiddish immigrant experience, reports The Forward, in an article which originally appeared in Yiddish in Forverts, The Yiddish Daily Forward.

One of the songs in the collection, “Business in America” (1912) describes how corruption in American business pervades everything: “Proste poyerim vern doktoyrim do in goldn land” (“ignorant peasants become doctors here in the golden land”).

A second song, “Fish For Shabbos” (1921) portrays the tension between a female customer and a fish peddler. Resentfully, the customer pockets more fish than she paid for, not knowing that the peddler has witnessed this. (He gets his own sweet revenge.)

To learn about the challenges involved in the project, particularly in finding Yiddish speakers to assist, go to The Forward.

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