Mordechai Gebirtig's house

Address:
ul. Joselewicza 5, Kraków

Description

This outbuilding of the house located at no. 5 Berka Joselewicza Street used to be occupied by Mordechai Gebirtig. This famous folk poet and Jewish bard was born in Kraków on the 4th of May 1877. He came from a poor family and belonged to the working-class society. His education ended in a cheder, a traditional Jewish school. At first, he worked as a carpenter, then as a furniture renovator in his brother Leo's furniture shop at no. 28 Starowiślna Street. Around 1909 he married Bluma nee Lindenbaum, with whom he had three daughters: Charlotte, Eva and Leonora.

This outbuilding of the house located at no. 5 Berka Joselewicza Street used to be occupied by Mordechai Gebirtig. This famous folk poet and Jewish bard was born in Kraków on the 4th of May 1877. He came from a poor family and belonged to the working-class society. His education ended in a cheder, a traditional Jewish school. At first, he worked as a carpenter, then as a furniture renovator in his brother Leo's furniture shop at no. 28 Starowiślna Street. Around 1909 he married Bluma nee Lindenbaum, with whom he had three daughters: Charlotte, Eva and Leonora.

Most importantly, however, he was an artist. Endowed with tremendous sensitivity and artistic talent, he played in the Jewish Amateur Troupe and wrote poems and songs, which he then sang on the streets, although he was seldom recognised as their author at that time. He is mostly known for being the author of folk and poetry songs, lullabies and stage duos, which were often performed at Jewish variety shows. He published collections of poems entitled Folkstimlekh ("of the folk", 1920) and Meine lider ("my songs", 1936). Since he probably was not familiar with musical notation himself, the melodies to his poems were written down by the musicians he had befriended, of whom the most notable were a composer and musicologist, Juliusz Hoffman, and a conductor of synagogue choirs, Baruch Sperber.

Mordechai Gebirtig was killed on the 4th June 1942 on the street of the Kraków Ghetto during the mass transportation of Jews to the Bełżec death camp, where the Germans killed his wife and daughters. His last poems written during World War II were compiled into a collection called S'brent ("it is burning", 1946). The most famous of his songs, "S'brent", was written in 1938 in the Kraków Ghetto and later became the anthem of the belligerent youth. It is traditionally performed in Israel, during ceremonies commemorating the Holocaust victims. Today, his songs are sung mostly in Israel, where a great deal of his lyrics were translated into Hebrew. In Germany, one of the admirers and popularisers of Gebirtig's work is Manfred Lemm, a performer, and an author of a broad study of Mordechai’s life. Many of Gebirtig's poems were translated into Polish by Natan Gross, Jerzy Ficowski and Agnieszka Osiecka.

Date: 2013-01-31 Show ticket
News author: PAWEŁ KRAWCZYK
News Publisher: Redakcja MPI
Tags: city, tourism
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