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YIVO Institute for Jewish Research » Upcoming Programs » Public Programs 2011 » The Vilna Ghetto Experience

The Vilna Ghetto Experience

CONCERT | Co-sponsored by the Embassy Series in cooperation with the Lithanian Consulate and the Lithuanian Delegation to the United Nations

In commemoration of the year of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania, Jerome Barry highlights songs composed in the Jewish Ghetto in Vilnius during World War II and cantorial music.

Opening Remarks - Jonathan Brent, YIVO Executive Director, and Valdemaras Sarapinas, Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania

Performed by
Jerome Barry, baritone
Edvinas Minkštimas, piano
Yuval Waldman, violin

Song written in the Vilna Ghetto by Kasriel Broyde (1907-1945), author and director of theatre revues and concerts in the ghetto. He was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to a Latvian concentration camp. In January, 1945 he was transferred to Germany and was forcibly drowned in the Baltic Sear near Königsberg together with hundreds of other Jews. Composer unknown.

Es vet zikh fun Tsvaygl

Song of the Vilna ghetto by Kasriel Broydo. Music by Yankl Trupianski (1909-1944), teacher, composer, who was deported from the ghetto to Estonia for hard labor. He died in a concentration camp in Germany.


A song of the Vilna ghetto by S. Kaczerginski (1908-1954) written after the death of his wife in April, 1943. It was first sung in the theatre revue Di Yogenish in Fas. Later it was sung in other ghettos and concentration camps. Kaczerginski joined the partisan forces following the liquidation of the ghetto in September, 1943. After the war he complied a collection of several hundreds ghetto songs. He survived the war to meet his death in a plane crash. Music is by Abraham Brudno who, following the liquidation of the ghetto, September, 1943, was deported to a German concentration camp in Estonia, where he died.

Tsi darf es azoy zayn

Song written in the Vilna ghetto by Kasriel Broydo.

Tsi darf es azoy zayn?
Tsi muz es azoy zayn?
Az far eynem iz glik bashert-
Un far dem tsveytn iz alts farvert.
Ver hot es ayngeshtelt,
Azoy zol zayn di velt?
Es fregt, un vekt dos harts mayns:
Tsi darf azoy zayn?

Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)

Baal Shem Suite for Violin and Piano

Nigun (Improvisation)

Todros Greenberg

R’tsë (Cantorial)

This poignant prayer of longing for the Holy Temple in Jerusalem has been recited for many centuries and expressed the Jews’ yearning for a rebirth of Israel.


Joseph Achron

Hebrew Melody

Sholom Secunda

Kiddish for Festivals

This sanctification of the wine in its holiday version is sung on the three festivals of Passover, Sukkoth and Shavuoth.

Shtiler, shtiler

A song of the Vilna ghetto. An eleven-year old boy Alex Wolkoviski wrote this prize-winning melody in a ghetto contest. Schmerke Kaczerginski then set words to the tune. Wolkoviski, presently called Alex Tamir, is a composer in Israel.

Unter dayne vayse shtern

Song written in the Vilna ghetto by Abraham Sutskever (1913- ), a well-known poet before the war. It was first performed in the play Die Yogenish in Fas in the ghetto theater. After the liquidation of the ghetto, Suskever joined the partisan fighters. He survived the war and lives in Israel where he edits the literary quarterly Di Goldene Key. Music is by Abraham Brudno.


The song was written by Kasriel Broydo while in the Vilna ghetto. Composer unknown.


This song was first presented at the second public theater performance in the Vilna ghetto in February 1942. Words by Leyb Rozental. Composer Misha Veksler (1907-1943), the conductor of the Jewish theater orchestra in the Vilna ghetto, met his death during the liquidation of the ghetto in September 1943.

Kh'heys Yisrolik
lkh bin dos kind fun geto,
Kh'heys Yisrolik
A hefkerdiker yung.
Khotsh farblibn gole-neto
O erlang ikh alts nokh
A svistshe un a zung!

Dos elnte Kind

This song, written in the Vilna ghetto by the poet Shmerke Kaczerginski, was dedicated to the child of a teacher, Rachel Pupko-Krinski. The child was hidden and raised by Gentiles. Composer Yankl Krimski, an active participant in dramatic circles before the war, died in a German camp in Estonia.

Ani Ma’amin


Jerome Barry, baritone, earned a B.A. from Northeastern University in modern languages and an M.A. from Tufts University in languages and literature, while studying concurrently at Boston Conservatory and the Boston University School of Fine and Applied Arts. In Europe he attained a diploma from the Goethe Institut in Germany, and later went to Italy to attend the Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Music in Rome, Italy. He has given master classes all over the world, is a laureate of the McClosky Institute of Voice and has been on the faculties of Tel Aviv University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, the University of Maryland, and American University. He is presently Senior Associate in the Voice Treatment Center, Division of Otolaryngology, The George Washington University Hospital. He co-founded the Washington Music Ensemble in 1981 with pianist Alan Mandel and produced hundreds of concerts with music of 20 countries as its Director from 1981 to 1996. He founded the Embassy Series in 1994 and has been its Director since then.

Edvinas Minkstimas is widely regarded as one of Europe’s top emerging young pianists, one whose extensive repertory, solid technique and musical expression have led him to performances throughout Europe and North America. Most recently, Minkstimas has won the Belz-Parker Young Artist Award in Memphis, Tennessee. He also won First Prize at the Fifth International Ciurlionis Piano Competition (2007, Vilnius, Lithuania) and has taken top honors at the First Tchaikovsky International Competition for Young Musicians (Moscow), the International Knezkova-Hussey Piano Competition (Canada) and European Piano Days (France), among others. Currently, Minkstimas studies at The Juilliard School with Jerome Lowenthal as a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow. He previously received the Artist Diploma from the Paris Conservatory (CNSMDP) under the tutelage of Michel Beroff. Earlier, he studied in Lithuania with Professor Veronika Vitaite at The Music Academy of Vilnius. He has taken master classes with pianists Nikolay Petroff, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Idil Beret, Eugene Indjic, Jeffrey Swann, Joseph Kalichstein and Marie Françoise-Bucquet, and other prominent performers such as Itzhak Perlman.

Born in Russia and educated in Israel, the United States and Europe, Yuval Waldman has enjoyed great success as a violinist, conductor, and educator. Waldman has appeared as a soloist with orchestras in the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel, and given recitals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall in London, and Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 2005 Maestro Waldman founded Music Bridges International, to foster cross-cultural music exchange programs that feature music of different countries. Under the Musical Bridges banner, he organized the successful Young Artist Strings Competition at the “Tchaikovsky’s Homeland” Center in Izhevsk/Votkinsk, Russia. He is the Music Director of the Sidney Krum Young Artists Series at YIVO.
Admission: $15 general, $10 YIVO members
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