Children of a shtetl as depicted in the documentary “A Yiddish World Remembered.”

SARATOGA SPRINGS– Saratoga Jewish Community Arts  and Temple Sinai of Saratoga Springs will present a Zoom panel discussion of “A Yiddish World Remembered” on Sunday, April 11, at 7 p.m.

“A Yiddish World Remembered,” a 2002 Emmy-award winning documentary by Andrew Goldberg, originally aired on Connecticut PBS. It interviews elderly survivors who remember the shtetls from their childhoods and includes vintage photos and archival films from various sources.

Long before the Holocaust, anti-Semitism threatened Jews. Many Jews immigrated to Eastern Europe after expulsion from Western Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries, and the communities became more concentrated when the Russian government confined Jews to various areas, specifically what is the modern-day Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, and parts of northern Hungary.

Pogroms, violent riots aimed at the massacre or expulsion of an ethnic or religious group, particularly Jews, regularly occurred and Cossacks often tore through Jewish neighborhoods, raping, maiming, killing and looting. However, terror and hostility unified the Jewish community by forcing them to rely on one another.

The documentary takes a realistic look at the all-but-vanished way of life, both the wistful memories and the abject poverty and peril according to Phyllis Wang, coordinator of Jewish Community Arts.

“As the world was changing during a rapid period of modernization and industrialization in the late 19th century,” said Wang, “the political and economic climate became gravely impactful and the shtetl world began to break apart. Close to two million Jews left Eastern Europe and went to the U.S. and other places in search of opportunity. However, for many others, who could not or would not abandon the old country, the fragile shtetl life continued, finally disintegrating in the throes of the Holocaust.”

Registration is required for the Zoom discussion and may be obtained at sjca.sjcf@gmail.com.