Wednesday 24 August 2016


            A well-known fiddler in Vilna, he was confined in the Vilna ghetto under the Nazi rule during WWII.  He escaped from there and lived for a time in the town of Trok (Trakai), near Vilna, with Aryan papers.  He was betrayed and the Nazis took him to Ponar, where he was forced to cremate the corpses, and then a short time later he was murdered.  In Ponar he wrote the poem “Kop hoykh!” (Hold your head high!), which an escapee from there preserved.  This poem was published in Katsherginski’s collection, Lider fun getos and lagern (Songs of the ghettos and camps), p. 269—under it is written: text and music by Adam Zinger (Ponar).  The poem consists of eleven lines; the first four read as follows: “We shovel with our hands, / We march freely to accomplishment. / Hold you head high!  And higher still pour the sand— / Working is our mark.”

Sources: Sh. Katsherginski, in Khurbn vilne (The Holocaust in Vilna) (New York, 1947), p. 231; Katsherginski, Lider fun getos and lagern (Songs of the ghettos and camps) (New York: Tsiko, 1948), p. 269.

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