Monday 25 August 2014


LEYB OPESKIN (January 1, 1908-July 11, 1944)
Born in Vilna, he was a graduate of the Vilna Jewish teachers seminary.  He was convicted by the Polish government for revolutionary activities.  In the Vilna ghetto he was a school leader and lecturer.  He translated songs for choirs.  He was the author of such songs as: “Trep, trep, trep” (Step, step, step), “Mir zenen in maline” (We’re in a ghetto), “Farvos?” (Why?), “Bagin” (Dawn), and “Afn toyt fun lerer gershteyn” (On the death of teacher Gerstein), among others.  In 1939 he published several pieces in a Soviet Jewish periodical and was one of the founders of the Partizanke ([female] Partisan).  According to the Lerer-zikher-bukh, di umgekumene lerer in tsisho shuln in poyln (Remembrance volume for teachers, the murdered teachers in the Tsisho schools in Poland) (New York, 1954), he assembled his songs in a volume under the title Bagin (Dawn) (place of publication, date, pages all not given).  When Vilna was liberated, the partisans found on his corpse a bloodied notebook with his songs.

Sources: M. Dvorzhetski (Mark Dvorzetsky), Yerusholayim delite in kamf un umkum (The Jerusalem of Lithuania in struggle and death) (Paris, 1948); A. Ayzn, Dos gaystike ponem fun geto (The spiritual face of the ghetto) (Mexico, 1950); Sh. Katsherginski (Szmerke Kaczerginski), Lider fun getos and lagern (Songs from the ghettos and camps) (New York, 1948).

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