Yiddish Music Preservationist Chanah Mlotek Dies At 91


Chanah Mlotek, the matriarch of a prominent New York family active in the preservation of Yiddish culture, died on Nov. 4. She was 91.

A native of the Bronx who became a music archivist and anthologist, she was the mother of composer-conductor Zalman Mlotek, executive director of the Folksbiene Theatre, and widow of Joseph Mlotek, longtime director of the Workmen’s Circle Yiddish school system.

Mr. Mlotek died in 2000.

Mrs. Mlotek in her 20s became the secretary of Max Weinrich, founder of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the first of several positions she held in New York City’s world of Jewish culture. She and her husband later wrote a bi-weekly column for the Yiddish Forverts about Yiddish poetry.

Senior Archivist Fruma Mohrer comments, “Chana had every single piece of music from the YIVO Archives at her fingertips: every arrangement, every title, from the 19th century to the present,” said YIVO Senior Archivist Fruma Mohrer. “She was a woman of vast knowledge, and yet was unfailingly unassuming and unpretentious.”

Mrs. Mlotek is survived by two sons, Zalman, and Moish, a board member of the Folksbiene Theatre.