Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre




Leyb Rozental


Born in Vilna, Polish Lithuania, into the family of a Vilna printer. He completed a gymnasium in Vilna.

According to Sh. Kaczerginski R. had written a series of fine theatre texts, mainly for his sister Chayele, which they used to perform on the boards of the ghetto stage.

According to David Rogoff, R. wrote a great number of songs and texts for the Vilna Yiddish ghetto theatre, which was very popular among the ghetto population.

Through the Nazis R. was killed in the German Dautmergen camp. According to Sh. Kaczerginski, in January 1945 R., when Katriel Broyde was thrown into the waves of the Baltic Sea.

His rescued sister, the singer Chayele, lives in Capetown, South Africa.

In his book, "Songs of the Ghettos and Camps," Sh. Kaczerginski composed the following songs for R.: "Gegerlid" (written in the ghetto, music by Misha Veksler, sung by Dora Rubina in the offering of Berger's "The Deluge" in the ghetto), "Shadows," sung in the ghetto by Dora Reubina in the revue, "Karone yorn un vey tsu di teg"), ""Ikh vart oyf dir" (performed in the Vilna Ghetto by Dora Rubina), "Ikh benk aheym," "Yisroelik." This 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, on the second public evening of the Vilna Ghetto Theatre), "I have not been here for long," (written in the Vilna Ghetto for the revue production of "Peshe fun reshe," where it was portrayed the time when the yellow shades [?] were distributed in the ghetto. To the beauty of the Jews of the Vilna Ghetto had to carry on its neck and keychain with an impressed number), "Peshe from Reshe," music by M. Veksler. In a tarf-camp by the village Reshe, thirty kilometers from Vilna, several hundred Jews from Vilna. In August 1943 they had the Jews from Reshe sent over to the Vilna Ghetto. Under the name, "Peshe and Reshe," came a revue production in the Vilna Ghetto Theatre, "Zi??" (the couplet, sung by Khayele Rozental, announced in the inner camp in the ghetto, for example, at the gateway the police skhkhd far lazn areyntragn produktn, pratezshirn andere a.d.g. --as Kaczerginski tells it-- was sung at various times with other words, adapted for the camp, "that a love played" (portrayed due to the privileges, which the Jewish police had in the ghetto, looking for the friendship of certain people. The song was sung by a friend's sister, Khayele, and was from the first ghetto themes, which the actors in the ghetto theatre had performed), "Tsu eyns, tsvey, dray" (sung in the summer of 1943 in the Vilna Ghetto through the actor Yakov Bergolski. The song later was sung for the liberation of the concentration camps and generally in concerts through Emma Sheiver (sp), and through her recordings), "Fak zikh eyn" (the song is--as Sender Vaysman had told Sh. Kaczerginski--written during a brutal time for the Vilna Ghetto, when the Gestapo had begun to send the remaining Jews of Vilna into the Estonia camps (Riga, Narva, Kivali, et al.) In that time, August 1943, the Red Army withdrew so far ahead, that the Vilna Jews were aroused by new hopes that 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 German), this little song, pakht zikh eyn, pakht zikh eyn, used to evoke a stormy ovation. The song was performed by Khayele Rozental), and "Mir lebn eybik!"

The notes to the songs: "Ikh benk aheym," "Yisroelik," "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 that, according to the ghetto news of 11 October 1942, "the theatre life the ghetto that was staged here had a great role. ... it may have been cited ... Leyb Rozental, the author of three interesting numbers."

From among all who had composed songs in the ghetto, also the name of L. Rozental-- H. Leivick quoted his "Tsu eyns, tsvey, dray" and remarked: "Also the whole of the fateful are used in the text with hollowed tears of a thin and idle day of awful sensation," and trembling another song by R., remarks H. Leivick:

"Jews laughed at and laughed at their own bitter happiness by a sleigh of art-created humorous and satirical songs. Understand that about sorry humor, no speech could be known, but someone to note what Jews really did have to create humorous humor, made their hearts harder, and their price was paid in order to find a little comfort, the difficult suffering."

Sh. E. from Chayele Rosenthal and David Rogoff.

  • Sh. Kaczerginski -- "The Destruction of Vilna," New York, 1947, p. 212.

  • Sh. Kaczerginski -- "Songs of the Ghetto," New York, 1948, p. 35, 200, 343-44, 346-47, 357, 383-4, 389, 399, 404, 424, 426, 431.

  • Herman Kruk -- "Daily Book of the Vilna Ghetto," New York, 1961, pp. 83, 369.






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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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