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Jewish songwriter Gebirtig inspires film tribute

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 05.04.2012 14:47
Shooting is under way on the first film about legendary Polish-Jewish songwriter Mordechai Gebirtig.

Plaque ouside home at ulica Berka Joselewicza 5 in Krakow: photo - miere/wikicommons

The documentary film will mark the 70th anniversary of the songwriter's death in the German Nazis' Jewish Ghetto in Krakow.

“We owe it to him,” said Krakow film-maker Piotr Szalsa in an interview with the Dziennik Polski daily.

“He is supposedly famous, but more so in the wider world than in his native Krakow,” he added.

Szalsa has commissioned fresh recordings of Gebirtig's songs for the film, with singers from the noted Piwnica Pod Baranami cabaret taking part.

“I chose a total of nine,” Szalsa revealed, noting that “with a heavy heart”, he was compelled to abandon many others.

Mordechai Gebirtig was born the son of a shopkeeper and he trained as a carpenter.

He did not know how to write scores, but he was aided by the musician Juliusz Hoffmann. His lyrics were written in Yiddish, and he is considered a poet in his own right.

One of Gebirtig's most famous works is S'brent (It's Burning), written in 1938 in response to the Przytyk Pogrom, which occurred in the Masovia region of central Poland in 1936.

The song was later sung in Jewish ghettos across Nazi-occupied Poland.
Piotr Szalsa is planning the premiere of his film for 1 September this year. The inaugural screening will be held in Krakow, but English and German versions are also planned in DVD format. (nh)

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