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Remembering the Shtetl Through Music 

Klezmer Music Revived after the Holocaust

By Jewish Arts Collaborative

Published Apr 29, 2024


While Klezmer music may feel relatively standard as Jewish music in 2024, it wasn’t really until Hankus Netsky and his fellow musicians cared to save it that it wasn’t lost with the Holocaust. 

As Hankus shares in this video, he and his peers came up in a moment when Yiddish music felt representative of failures of the past. “What my generation did in the 1970’s was look back and saw it was great, there was a lot of great stuff that was comparable to other ethnic cultures and was something that needed to be rescued, revived… So we did.” 

In this performance, set on the stunning backdrop of the ocean in Rockport, MA at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, Hankus Netsky and violinist Abigale Reisman take us back to the days of the shtetl of the 1900’s through music and conversation. 

In this piece, Abigale plays a crucial role as a violinist. As she says, “a piece featured the band leader – and that person was usually the violinist. The violinist had a huge role in Jewish culture and performance, and served as catharsis for the people…” 

Listen as Abigale and Hankus Netsky take us through the shtetl and stories of people like the late Morris Hollander who came from Eastern Czechoslovakia, survived Auschwitz, and saved countless Yiddish tunes and cultural touchpoints through his work in a Boston-area synagogue. 


JArts’ mission is to curate, celebrate, and build community around the diverse world of Jewish arts, culture, and creative expression. Our vision is of a more connected, engaged, and tolerant world inspired by Jewish arts and culture.

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