The secret music of Warsaw’s Jewish criminals

There’s an icebreaking concert coming up at Jerusalem’s International Chamber Music Festival – artistic director Elena Bashkirova – in which the National Library musicologist Gila Flam has unearthed the lost music of Jewish gangsters in old Warsaw, before the War.

It includes burglar songs, brothel songs, prison songs, all human life.

Who knew?


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  • I know Moisei Vainberg, prewar Jewish composer in Poland. Was he in gangster group?
    Any of gangster Jewish composers was Holocaust victims or survivors?

    • First, he is now known as Mieczysław Weinberg. Second, he was still a teenager when he left Poland for the Soviet Union and soon thereafter was able to settle in Moscow where he lived for the rest of his life.

      • MV escape to Minsk, Belorussia at age 19, almost 20, than evacuated to Tashkent, Uzbekistan where he studied and latter moved to Moscow to study with D.Shostakovich
        He never try to leave Soviet Union, being born in Poland he never claimed to be Polish composer-only Russian. After his death and growing popularity Poland changed his name to Mieczyslav and spelling of last name and usurp him.

          • D.Shostakovich had more brilliant “best” students: R.Shchedrin, Alfred Schnittke, German Galinin.
            M.Veinberg wasn’t popular with contemporary audience like those. He wrote mediocre music for movies, eggrigious “Moldavian Rhapsody”-plagiarism of G.Enescu.His music wasn’t forbidden-just not catchy.

          • That was just Shostakovich’s opinion about who his “best” student was, but yours is obviously much more valid.

  • The linked page is in Hebrew, which can be automatically translated by the Google Chrome web browser. However, the majority of the article is behind a paywall.

  • There is still an issue with picture cropping on the main page. The actual post has a photo of Dr Gila Flam, but on the main page this is cropped to focus on her bust. I know that it isn’t deliberate, but it really cannot be difficult to select the face for the cropped image on the main page rather than always allowing the website to default to the centre of the image, which so often leads to close-ups of peoples chests (male and female). There is a reason why this blog is sometimes referred to as Slipped Tits.

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