Lecture: David Wertheim on Leo Fuld’s Yiddish Repertoire

November 23, 2022

The Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies presents The 2022 Tobias Lecture
Paradoxes of a Pleaser: The Universal Appeal of Leo Fuld’s Yiddish Repertoire and the Centrality of Postwar Jewish Culture
David Wertheim, Director of Menasseh ben Israel Instituut for Jewish Cultural and Social Studies
University of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Jewish Cultural Quarter
Free and Open to the Public
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
4:00-5:30 p.m.
Memorial Union, Old Madison Room, 800 Langdon St
Zoom: Please click here to register

We’re excited to spread the word about The 2022 Tobias Lecture our colleagues at The Mosse Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies are presenting because David Wertheim will be talking about Leo Fuld, and we have many recordings by Leo Fuld in our Mayrent Collection of Yiddish Recordings. Want to familiarize yourself with Fuld’s vocal stylings? We suggest listening to these songs: Mazel, Wie ahin soll ich gehn, Yiddish ges’l, and Yaass.

78rpm record label for Yaass, sung by Leo Fuld, Hed Arzi 856
78rpm record label for Yaass, sung by Leo Fuld, Hed Arzi 856

From the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies description: With Yiddish hit songs such as My Yiddishe Mama and Wo ahin soll ich geh’n, the Dutch-born singer Leo Fuld became an international star in the early years after the Second World War, many years before the Klezmer revival. His work is riddled with paradoxes. It is Zionistic and diasporic, explicitly Jewish and very Gentile, and it exerted an appeal to non-Jewish audiences in Europe, the United States, and even the Arab world. What was his secret? Why did his audiences embrace his particular interpretation of Jewish music? And what does his success tell us about the reasons Jewish culture so often occupied a central place in the postwar era?

David J. Wertheim is a cultural historian and director of the Menasseh ben Israel Institute of Jewish Studies in Amsterdam. His research interests include modern German Jewish History and post-Holocaust Jewish non-Jewish relations. Among his publications are: Wertheim, D.J., Salvation Through Spinoza, A Study of Jewish Culture in Weimar and Wertheim, D.J. (ed.), The Jew as Legitimation; Jewish non-Jewish Relations beyond Antisemitism and Philosemitism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and Verloren in de tijd van Einstein, a book that traces the Dutch Jewish philosopher of science A.C. Elsbach. He just published a new book that discusses the centrality of Jewish themes in Dutch public debate: David Wertheim Waar gaat het over als het over Joden gaat? (Amsterdam: de Bezige Bij, 2022).

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic+.