« Yiddish and Music at the Los Angeles Winter Yiddish Intensive! | Main | David Chevan, "Days of Awe" review »

Jewish Music in Poland Between the World Wars

cover of original book in Yiddish

I am pleased to announce a new web page, finished in time just before the New Year 5764.

It is a virtual page of commemoration of Jewish Musicians in Poland between the Two World Wars and in the Holocaust. It is based on the book of Issachar Fater: "Jewish Music in Poland between the World Wars" Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House Ltd., Tel Aviv 1992 ISBN 965-02-0060-6


Shalom ve'Shana Tova,
Ada Holtzman

I am very thankful to Mr. Fater for giving me the honor to translate, extract and post parts of this book in the Internet. Nowadays all the world knows about one musician, which appears in the lexicon of that book many years before he became a legend in a film, and this is of course Wladislaw Szpilman, "the Pianist", in the well known film of Roman Polanski.

But very few know about his father, the musician Szmuel Szpilman, perished in ghetto Warsaw, or his uncle, Reuwen Szpilman, a pious Jew, gifted with many musical talents, born in Ostrowice, father of 8 musician children and musical grandchildren, murdered in Treblinka... These were part of a whole world of Jewish musicians, who graced this earth with their music, classical and traditional, jazz and folklore, singing and playing endless instruments, conductors, masters, violinists, pianists, composers... Unfortunately most of them were not as fortunate as Wladislaw Szpilman who survived the Holocaust, and their music as their lives were cut off in the middle of creation and the middle of life, by the Nazis and their collaborators.

The web site contains the table of contents of the book, 24 names of the detailed biographies in the book, of the greatest musicians considered by the author:

BEIGELMAN Dawid, BERNSTEIN Abraham Mosze, DAWIDOWICZ Abraham Cwi, EISENSTADT Dawid, EISENSTADT Marysia-Miriam, FAJWISZIS Israel, GEBIRTIG Mordechaj, GERSTEIN Jakub, GIMPEL Bronislaw, GLATSTEIN Jakub, GLATSTEIN Israel, GOLD Henryk, HUBERMAN Bronislaw, KAMINSKI Josef, KIPNIS Menachem, KON Chanoch (Henech), RUBINSTEIN Artur, SIROTA Gerszon, SLIEP Abraham, SZERMAN Pinchas, SZLOSBERG Icchak, SZNEUR Mosze, TAUB Rabbi Szaul Jedidja Eleazar and ZAKS Icchak.

As you can see from the above list, not all of these musicians were murdered in the Holocaust. But the book laments the grand Jewish culture which reached in Poland its highest climax and which was lost, destroyed by the Germans in the Holocaust.

All these musicians were part of this great spirit, nourished and developed in Poland in the first half of the 20th century. I have translated one biography of Marysia (Miriam) Eisenstadt, as a mirror to the young Jewish Polish generation of great talents and promise, so cruelly destroyed in the prime of life.

The lexicon itself contains 368 names (a partial list) was compiled by the author Mr. Issachar Fater from tens of books about Jewish music, Jewish Theater and culture and from tens of Yizkor books, which the author studied, during 15 years of his life...

The book was originally written and published in Yiddish and recently a Polish version was also published in Poland. I have extracted the details about the musician's musical subjects, his years of birth and death, if available, his town of birth and town of main activity. The book itself contains a biography about each musician. I hope this memorial web page will help to inspire people to study and remember the great Jewish-Polish heritage which was and is no more...


Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)