Tag Archives: Mordechai Gebirtig

Do widzenia Krakowie – Farewell Kraków – Auf Wiedersehen, Krakau – blayb gezunt mir, kroke – בלײַב געזונט מיר, קראָקע

_DSC5181For everything there is a season, says Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), the first of my Holy Trinity of poets ever. There‘s a time to come and a time to leave. For Gabi & me the time has come to leave – and to say farewell to Kraków. Or more precisely: to Kraków‘s district Kazimierz. The Jewish district was our home for twelve years and we are grateful for each day we could spend in this both tragic and magic place. There were good times and there were difficult times – for sure, it was never boring. It happened that my book about the Yiddish poet and singer-songwriter Mordechai Gebirtig (1877-1942), the great son of Kazimierz, became my farewell gift to Kraków – my gift to my father‘s place of birth.

When I came to Kraków for the first time, exactly 30 years ago in 1989, I was told: „Don’t enter Kazimierz! You won’t know whether you’ll come back dead or alive!“ Of course, I ignored the warning and I entered Kazimierz. And I survived. And I came back, again and again, until I settled in Kazimierz. But, as Bob Dylan – the second of the Holy Trinity of poets ever – says: the times, they are a‘changin‘. The times have changed, Kazimierz has changed, we have changed – and now the time has come to move and to go somewhere else.

I‘m a writer, not a singer. But if I could sing, I would join Leonard Cohen – the third of my Holy Trinity – in singing:
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

I leave Kazimierz with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah. I don’t know yet if it‘s broken or holy. I did my best, but it wasn’t much. But what I do know is: Our time in Kazimierz was – to say it in my favorite language Yiddish: bashert.

Blayb gezunt mir, kroke …

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Help us to honor Mordechai Gebirtig!


Zum Weiterlesen bitte hier klicken: ja-38-16-seite-03-gebirtig!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BGm0zAvtJU&w=560&h=315]

“If history had been different, if several million Jews had not been exterminated and their culture canceled from the face of the earth, Gebirtig clearly today would be as important as the Gershwin brothers.”
Rudi Assuntino

Boris Dorfman, the hero of our documentary Boris Dorfman – A mentsh, sings a song written by one of the greatest poets ever: Mordechai Gebirtig (1877 – 1942). The beautiful and touching Kinder-yorn is one of the approx. 160 poems and songs by Gebirtig which survived the Shoa. We want to remember and honor the life and legacy of the quite unknown and even forgotten Yiddish Superstar.

Why not doing it together?

It’s the perfect time: In 2017, we will commemorate the 140th anniversary of birth and the 75th anniversary of death of “the most beloved Yiddish folk poet and composer“ (Sean Martin).

Please support the Mordechai Gebirtig Project and donate (tax deductible) to:
Weiterdenken e.V. – Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Sachsen
IBAN: DE73 4306 0967 1183 0763 00
Purpose: Gebirtig

Of course, we’ll show our deepest gratitude to all donators!

Please contact me for further information: Uvseltmann@gmail.com

And save the date: Görlitz, Apollo-Theater, 19.06.2016, 19:00:




“Gebirtig’s life symbolizes the tragic life of the Kraków Jewry, its rich Jewish and Yiddish culture which blossomed within the Christian society and which was murderously put to an end by the Nazi occupants of Poland.“
Elwira Grözinger



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Please support the Mordechai Gebirtig Project and donate (tax deductible) to:
Weiterdenken e.V. – Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Sachsen
IBAN: DE73 4306 0967 1183 0763 00
Purpose: Gebirtig

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Filed under Allgemeines, Film Yiddish, Jüdische Kultur, Krakau, Musik