In 2017, we will commemorate the 140th anniversary of the birth and the 75th anniversary of the murder of Mordechai Gebirtig (1877-1942). We want to remember and honor the life and legacy of the great Yiddish poet and singer, and bring him back into the public consciousness.
Born in 1877 in the Jewish district of Kazimierz in Kraków, Gebirtig was killed by Germans in the Kraków Ghetto on June 4, 1942. Making a living working as a carpenter, he saw himself as a zinger fun noyt (Singer of need). His best-known song, s’brent, undzer shtetl brent (It’s Burning, Our Town Is Burning) – a prophetic vision of the nightmare to come – was the unofficial hymn of the ghetto uprisings and the Jewish partisans. S’brent and other songs like kinder-yorn, arbetloze-marsh, or blayb gezunt mir, kroke have survived the Shoah and are performed to this day by renowned artists from all over the world. Gebirtig’s legacy chronicles not only melodies and lyrics, but also descriptions of Jewish life in Poland, recounting struggles with poverty, hunger, violence, despair and resistance.
Starring on video and audio clips: Michael Alpert, Daniel Kahn (photo), Benjy Fox-Rosen, Sarah Gordon, Dorota Jarema, The Klezmatics, David Krakauer, Frank London, Benzion Miller, Jake Shulman-Ment, Lorin Sklamberg, Jeff Warschauer, Steve Weintraub, and more.