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Leon Blank, z"l

Leon Blank with partner Edith Haglund in Dalarna, 2006. Photo Roland EngvallFrom Ruth Schwartz, on the Jewish-Music mailing list: To all listers who knew him: Leon Blank passed away last Friday, the funeral will be on Tuesday in Stockholm.

From Leon Blank's website, www.klezmer.se:

"I grew up in Poland in a Jewish family with Yiddish as my parents main language, which means that I have a good passive knowledge of Yiddish but I was not interested in learning to speak it when I was a youngster. Even while attending the Jewish primary school as a boy, my contact with Jewish literature was through the Polish language. As a teenager I attended many summer camps organized by the Jewish Cultural Association in Poland. We sang Yiddish songs, danced around the camp-fire, and felt that we could be ourselves as young Jews, for a time. … In the middle of 1960s, I came to Sweden and wanted to continue my competition dances but found it difficult to find a partner. So I started with folk dances, both Swedish and international.… I met the American group Klezmorim at a folk music festival in Falun, Sweden, some seventeen years ago. It was like a spark igniting! I realized that this was my music.… I have started giving workshops in traditional Jewish dances for interested dance-instructors in Sweden. In the year 2000 I have started the Swedish Klezmer Association.… [More]

For dance videos, see his website, www.klezmer.se/dance_videos.htm

Leon Blank poster from Klezmore AustriaFrom Leon Balaban: I'm very saddened to hear that Leon Blank died. I met him at the Ashkenaz festival 2006 in Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. We talked (in Polish) about dance and music and particularly the revival of Yiddish dance. Here is a video of Leon Blank ז"ל doing what he knew best: video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8915545871081725907

From Sylvia Schildt: "What sad news. Met him at Klezkamp several times. He was a lovely man and a master Yiddish dance teacher. He should have had more recognition on the global Yiddish music scene."

From Roberta Levine: "What a sweet, sweet man."

From Michal Borzykowski: "Koved zayn ondenk. Un zol er hobn a likhtikn ganeydn."