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  ERC > LEXICON OF THE YIDDISH THEATRE  >  VOLUME 5  >  MAPU


Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre
BIOGRAPHIES OF THOSE WHO WERE ONCE INVOLVED IN THE Yiddish THEATRE;
aS FEATURED IN zALMEN zYLBERCWEIG'S  "lEKSIKON FUN YIDISHN TEATER"


VOLUME 5: THE KDOYSHIM (MARTYRS) EDITION, 1967, Mexico City

 


 

Mapu

Yona Radinov writes:

"Even behind the two rows of continuous wire provisions of the Riga Ghetto, the cruel Nazi tormentors could not extinguish the love of Yiddish theatre, and the Yiddish culture, theatre, music, songs that had become a fixture throughout the poor, crooked little alleys of the Riga neighborhood--the Moscow Forshtat, where the Riga ghetto was found, where the Latvian Jews had been settled for entirely two years. There tens of musicians, singers, artists had settled their creative lives... not infrequently within these frightening ghetto alleys there was heard a Yiddish melody, a Yiddish song. These were Yiddish artists, performers, musicians, going throughout the ghetto courts and for the people boldly gave street concerts. When a call of danger was heard from a roof that the commandant of the ghetto Krause is coming, one immediately ran away, but as soon as he went away, they continued with their street concerts.

In Riga there was a Litvak Jew named Mapu. Nobody knows anything exactly about him, only that his family name was Mapu. He never worked. No one knows where he lived. In the evening, when the ghetto folk had returned to their lodgings for the night in the ghetto, the Litvak Jew Mapu would appear on the narrow streets of the ghetto and began singing his heartfelt Yiddish songs. As it has been pointed out, he by himself also was the composer of the songs, which had great success in the ghetto. The entire ghetto used to sing them. He had a special success with his hit song, 'Azoy muz zayn! (So It Must Be!).' He was a bright ray within the dark life of the ghetto; he was a welcome guest in the ghetto courts. We took him everywhere with a fever until it passed. Mapu had suffered from hunger, cold, pain, and he had never worked for the Nazis.

The commander of the ghetto had become startled by the great love of the ghetto for its street singer Mapu. One of the bloodthirsty ghetto guards Tuchel, on Ludzas Street, which the Jews had called the "Broadway of the Ghetto," took Mapu to the Hanover bunker, from where he didn't return...."


Sh. E. from Yona Radinov.


 

 

 

 


 

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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 4039.
 

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