Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leib Rozental
(translation incomplete)

Leib was born in Vilna, Polish Lithuania into a family of a well-known Vilna printer. He completed a gymnasium in Vilna.

Sh. Katsherginski recalls that R. had written a series of fine theatre texts, mainly for his sister Chayele, with whom he would perform on the boards of the ghetto stage.

According to David Rogow, R. wrote a large number of songs and texts for the Vilna Yiddish Ghetto Theatre, which became very popular among the ghetto population.

R. was killed by the Nazis in the German camp Dautmergen.

Sh. Katsherginski recalls that, in January 1945, R., when cotriel broida was thrown into the waves of the Baltic Sea.

His rescued sister, the songstress Chayele [Rosenthal], lives in Capetown, South Africa.

In the book "Songs of the Ghettos and Camps," Sh. Katsherginski published the following songs by R.: "Negerlid" (written in the ghetto, music by Misha Veksler, sung by Dora Rubina in the offering of Berger's "Der mabl (The Deluge)" in the ghetto), "Shotns," sung in the ghetto by Dora Rubina in the revue "Korone yorn un vey tsu di teg"), "Ikh vart oyf dir" (staged in the Vilna Ghetto by Dora Rubina), "Ikh benk aheym," "Israelik," which is R.'s first song, written in the Vilna Ghetto, music by M. Veksler, sung in February 1942 by Chayele Rozental, for the first time, in the second public evening of the Vilna Ghetto Theatre),


"Ikh bin shoyn lang do nit geven," (written in the Vilna Ghetto, for the revue production "Peshe fun reshe," where there was portrayed the time when there was distributed the "yellow sheynen."For the sheynen the Jews of Vilna had to wear on the neck a circular plate with a printed number) "Peshe fun reshe," music by M. Veksler. In camp tarps (torf-lager) by the village Reshe, thirty kilometers from Vilna, several hundred Jewish workers from Vilna had worked, and in August 1943 the Jews were sent over from Reshe into the Vilna Ghetto.  Under the name "peshe un reshe", the revue production was given in the Vilna Ghetto Theatre, "Zusi[?]" (the couplet, sung by Chayele Rozental, had traveled to the internal situations (?) in the ghetto, e.g., the gate receives the police horn to let products enter in, to promote, and the like -- as Kaczerginski remarks -- were sung at various times with other words, adapted to the situation), "az a libe shpiln (that a play of love/charity) (portrayed as due to the privileges, which the Jewish police had in the ghetto, looking for some very friendly people. The song was sung by the author's sister, Chayele, and was from the first ghetto themes, which the actors in the ghetto theatre had performed.) "Tsi eyns, tsvey, dray (To One, Two, Three?)" (sung in the summer of 1943 in the Vilna ghetto by the actor Jacob Bergolski. The song later was sung for the liberation of the concentration camps and generally in concerts by Emma Sheiver and through her recording of it), "Pak zikh eyn" (the song is -- as Sender Weissman gave over to Sh. Kaczerginski --- written in a gerfarfuler time for the Vilna ghetto, when the Gestapo had begun to send the remaining Jews from Vilna to the Estonia camps (Riga, Norve, Kivali et al). In that time, August 1943, the Red Army withdrew so far ahead, that the Vilna Jews were aroused by new hopes tht they would soon be liberated. When the actors in the theatre used to sing out "Dosmol vet zay nit gelingen, mirn zay (d. h. di deitshn), this little song, pakht zikh eyn, pakht zikh eyn, used to evoke a stormy ovation. The song was performed by Chayele Rozental), and "Mir lebn eybik!"

The notes to the songs: "Ikh benk aheym," "Israelik," "Peshe," "Az a lib shpiln," "Tsu eyns, tsvey, dray," "Pak zikh eyn," "Mir lebn eybik," were published in a book "Songs from the Ghetto and Camps."

Herman Kruk in his "Chronicles from the Vilna Ghetto and the Camps" remarks, according to the ghetto news of 11 October 1942, "the theatre life the ghetto staged here, had a great role. ... may have been cited ... Leib Rozental, the author of three interesting numbers."

more to translate....






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 5, page 3972.

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