Music researcher and cantor David Kohan (1920-1995) worked as a freelance journalist for press and radio in Berlin. He began compiling his music collection in 1945, and it grew to include 325 tape recordings. The recordings include Yiddish songs and presentations, Jewish melodies, Klezmer music, prayer chants, and Hebrew and Sephardic songs.
The Berlin Senate and the University of Bamberg purchased the collection in 1995. With the support of Prof. Karl E. Grözinger, the University of Potsdam began scholarly research on, and the digitalization of, the collection, an effort that was supported by funding of €750,000 from the Volkswagen Foundation, the Robert Bosch Foundation, and the Thyssen Foundation.
The recordings hold more than 600 hours of music (which corresponds to more than 12,000 tracks). They have been digitized and entered in David Kohan's Jewish Music Archive Wikiwhich is accessible via the Potsdam University intranet. The University Library developed the wiki in order to facilitate cooperative processing of these materials by the scholarly community. Numerous tracks have already been catalogued.