Mordecai Gebirtig

Yiddish poet
1877-1942

Gebirtig gained his fame as a Yiddish bard, both composing the lyrics and melodies for his songs. His work became popular throughout the Diaspora long before it was recognized by literary critics. In 1936 M. Kipnis collected, edited and published Gebirtig’s work, releasing additions to the original volume in 1942 and in 1948.  His most famous work, Undzer Shtetl Brent (“Our Town is Burning”) was written in response to the Polish pogrom of 1938 in Przytyk. Gebirtig was murdered by the Nazis in June of 1942 along with his wife and two daughters. In 1967, a selection of his last songs written in the Cracow Ghetto were published in Hebrew translation in the collection Ha-Ayarah Bo’eret. 

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