Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty

Music is not just a few notes strung together to create a tune, often accompanied by lyrics. Music is much more then that. It is therapy. It gives hope where there is despair. It gives joy where there is grief. It can transport you back to the days of yore, when time was complicated. It gives you an outlet to voice an opinion in a creative way. It gives meaning to your soul.

Mordechai Gebirtig must have realized the power of music.

Mordechai Gebirtig , was an influential Yiddish poet and songwriter of the interwar period. He was shot by Germans in the Kraków Ghetto, Poland, during the Holocaust.

He had three daughters, for whom he wrote and performed his poems. The words were set to improvised melodies, and most of his songs resemble entries in a diary.

He was self-taught in music, played the shepherd’s pipe, and tapped out tunes on the piano with one finger. He earned his livelihood as a furniture maker. However music and theatre were his hobbies.

During the first years of the war, most Jews were expelled from the city of Kraków. In November 1940, along with his wife and daughters, Gebirtig settled in a nearby village, where – without a real income, adequate shelter, food or health services. Gebirtig gave many of his papers to his friend Hoffmann, who managed to preserve them throughout the war.

On October 2, 1940. Mordecai Gebirtig wrote the song ” Minutn Fun Bitokhn-Moments of certainty” to raise the spirits of the persecuted Jewish community in Krakow. The poet’s reference to “Haman” alludes to the ancient Persian enemy of the Jewish people.

But when daily deportations of Jews to the death camps began in January 1942, his songs became increasingly pessimistic and dark.

Es brent “It’s burning”, also known as undzer shtetl brent “our town is burning”, in Hebrew translation) is a Yiddish poem–song which was written in 1936 by Gebirtig. Although the poem is generally said to have been written in response to the Przytyk Pogrom of 1936, after the Holocaust the song was often used in Holocaust commemoration or in programmes of World War II Ghetto music, both in the original Yiddish and in Hebrew translation.This is probably Gebirtig’s best-known composition.

By 1939, with the changing political situation in Europe, he had changed the final line of the poem from “if the town is dear to you” to “if life is dear to you.”[4] Rising antisemitic censorship in Poland also made it so that Gebirtig was occasionally forbidden to perform the song in public.

During the war, the song was adopted by Jewish Partisans against the Nazi regime, particularly in Krakow. According to some recollections, whistling its melody was used as a code by imprisoned resistance fighters in the Montelupich Prison.

On 4 June 1942, Nazis surrounded the ghetto and began marching Jews to waiting cattle cars. The screams of the soldiers were accompanied by gunshots; all those too slow to keep up, or too ill or weak to stay on their feet, were shot. Among the first Jews to die on the way to the cars was Gebirtig. Although both the poet and his wife were murdered, his daughters managed to survive in hiding.

Sources

http://aha.org.pl/en/projects-en/15-the-mordechai-gebirtig-project

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/fr/places/ghettos/krakow/gebirtigmordechai/

https://archives.cjh.org//repositories/7/resources/3533

The August 11 Krakow pogrom.

Kupa

The 11th of August marked the 76th anniversary of the August 11 Krakow pogrom. August 11,1945, is a date after Poland was liberated ,in fact it is nearly 4 months after the war in Europe had ended.

The text below comes directly from 2 sources, which I also shall link at the bottom of the blog. Both links will also mention other pogroms which happened in Poland shortly after the war in Europe. Despite the fact that the information comes from very reputable sources ,amongst them historian David Engel and eye witnesses, and despite one link is from a Polish site there will still be people who deny these ever happened. Since the war wasn’t officially over yet they were war crimes committed by Polish citizens. Some will say they were not Polish but communists, as if communist is a nationality.

The really disgusting thing here that the one fatality ,although there may have been more but could not be verified, was a lady who had survived Auschwitz.

“On August 11, 1945, during the Sabbath, there was a pogrom of the Jewish population in Krakow. The pretext for the incident was rumors that the bodies and blood of Christian children had been found in the synagogue.”

“The Jews who were praying on Saturday morning in the Kupa synagogue were attacked by the crowd gathered in the nearby square”

In Krakow, a Jewish woman was arrested in late June for allegedly attempting to kidnap and murder a Polish child. The arrest sparked dangerous rumors. Tension mounted throughout the summer, as the rumor circulated that the bodies of thirteen murdered Christian children had been discovered. By the beginning of August, the number of rumored corpses had grown to eighty. A mob gathered every Friday night and Saturday outside Kupa Synagogue in Kazimierz to throw stones at the building and at the Jews praying inside while screaming, laughing and taunting, behavior that did not stop even after guards were posted near the synagogue. Finally, the situation reached the boiling point.

On Saturday, August 11, 1945, a 13-year old Polish boy ran out of Kupa Synagogue screaming “Help! They want to murder me!” The crowd of about 60 Poles outside broke into the synagogue looking for the Christian children’s corpses. They destroyed and plundered the synagogue, tore Torah scrolls, and attacked not only the Jews who were there, but other Jews in the area. The synagogue was set on fire. Roza Berger, an Auschwitz survivor, was murdered; there may have been as many as four other casualties, but this remains unclear. The violence spread throughout the Kazimierz quarter of Krakow;robberies and beatings were recorded in a dozen different apartments. Five Jews were wounded, among them Hanna Zajdman. She gave an account of her experience to the Jewish Historical Commission on August 20, 1945. According to Zajdman’s account, even in the ambulance to the hospital the wounded were called “Jewish scum” by the soldier and the nurse who accompanied them. Once at the hospital they were beaten by other patients and by soldiers. They were threatened repeatedly, even by nurses, who said that, “they were only waiting for the surgery to be over in order to rip us apart.” The scourge of the pogroms had reached the big city.

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Pogromy z 1945 i 1946 roku. Krwawe wydarzenia we wspomnieniach świadków

Click to access Microsoft%20Word%20-%203128.pdf

https://www.yadvashem.org/articles/general/anti-jewish-violence-in-poland-after-liberation.html

https://www.yadvashem.org/articles/general/anti-jewish-violence-in-poland-after-liberation.html#footnote29_d02srsx

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krak%C3%B3w_pogrom

https://peoplepill.com/people/roza-berger/