Hurdy gurdy

“Exploiting the talents of Josele Rozenblat. Josele Rozenblat’s singing is flowing from
the beggar’s gramophone. People throw money for the music to the beggar from
the windows. By «carrying» Josele in a push-chair from one courtyard
to another, the Jew manages to earn a living in Warsaw.”
Photo by Menachem Kipnis.

This beggar seems to appear here on the stage of Río Wang more often than Josele Rozenblat himself did in his times. He has already featured in Menachem Kipnis’ photo exhibition on the pre-war Jewry of Poland, and then again in the report by Két Sheng on the illustrious cantors photographed by Kipnis. Now he comes again for the third time because one-way has published a fantastic series on old hurdy gurdy men in her fantastic blog. As we have invited them for a guest appearance in Río Wang, we thought to let all the company play together.

Donovan: Hurdy Gurdy Man. (3'17"). From the album Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968).
This song was one of our childhood favorites with Két Sheng, long before we saw any real hurdy gurdy man. Since then I know well that the hurdy gurdy man in this song was not a real one either. Nevertheless, until you watch the pictures, listen to it with nostalgia. After the series there will be some real hurdy gurdy music as well, to lead through to the second part

очень мало, молодой господин, очень мало, подайте еще чуть-чуть” – “very few,
young master, very few, give a little bit more” – Hurdy gurdy from Odessa.

Karachoheli song, accompanied with hurdy gurdy. The karachohelis – “blackcoats” – were
traditional craftsmen and traders in Tbilisi, who after work also visited
together the wine cellars in the old town.

However, the starting picture was re-cited not only because of its theme but also because of its photographer. In fact, the previous series of one-way has even much more to do with Menachem Kipnis.

A carpenter with her granddaughter. Czortków (today Чортків), 1925

Alter Kacyzne (1885-1941) was born in the Kresy – the eastern region of Poland which after WWII was annected by the Soviet Union – just like Kipnis. He was also a writer, poet, journalist, and passionate photographer. In Warsaw he had his own studio, but he also traveled throughout Poland in search of the images of life.

“Otwock (Warsaw province), 1927. Otwock’s next generation learns how to pour water”

“Varshe (Warsaw). The woman who sells nuts at the entrance to the wagon yard.”

“Zambrove (Zambrów, Białystok province). The locksmith Eliyohu. He has been blind in one eye for twelve years but agreed to have surgery only after he went blind in the other eye too.”

“Kozhenits (Kozienice, Kielce province), 1927. Embroidery is a popular trade in this town.”

Khana, Sulamita and Alter Kacyzne, Warsaw, ca. 1930

Kacyzne also met his death during the German occupation of Warsaw. He, however, was not as fortunate  as Kipnis who died in his bed. He was beaten to death together with five hundred other Jews in the cemetery of Tarnopol by the local Ukrainian collaborators while escaping from the occupied Warsaw. His wife perished in the Belżec death camp. Her ashes now lie in the cemetery of Lesko together with those of the other victims. Their daughter was sheltered by a Polish family, so she survived the occupation. After the war she went to Italy where she died in 1999.

Woman labourer, Wyszków, 1927

“Wilejka (Vilno province). Sara, the baker’s wife.”

“Karczew. Meyer Garfunkel’s wife and granddaughter. Her father lives in Washington, and her mother died.”

“Warsaw. Khana Kolsky is a hundred and six years old. Every evening she confesses her sins and eats cookies. Her eighty years old son in America cannot believe she is still alive. 1925”

The fate of Kacyzne’s photos was also similar to those of Kipnis. His studio and huge archive in Warsaw was completely destroyed. Only those pictures survived, together with the captions given by him, which were sent for publication to the American Yiddish journal Forwerts – the same magazine which also preserved the only surviving photographs by Kipnis.

“Lublin. The little boy makes it clear which side of the drain is his territory”

“Varshe (Warsaw). Poverty on Gęsia Street”

“Rike (Ryki, Lublin province). The little boy wants to know why his sister is smiling (she has noticed the camera and he has not)”

“Nowy Dwór (Warsaw province), 1927. «Three girls are sitting and sewing» – I. L. Peretz”

“Lomzhe (Łomża, Białystok province), 1927. Khone Shlayfer, eighty-five years old. Besides being a shlayfer, a grinder, he is also a mechanic, an umbrella maker, and a medicine man (he really does deserve a full page).”

“Kutne (Kutno, Warsaw province), 1927. Aron Nokhem at his sewing machine”

“Purisov (Parysów, Lublin province), 1927. Esther at work. Her husband left her seven years ago with five children, whom she supports working as a seamstress.”

“Białystok, 1926. The unemployed seamstress”

“Warsaw, 1928. For what did he fight? Feyvl Tabakmen, a former political prisoner cannot find himself a mechanic’s job. This is why he sharpens knives on the street.”

“Varshe (Warsaw). Krochmalna Street”

“Laskarev (Laskarzew, Lublin province). A girls’ kheyder

“Lublin, 1924. Giving a hint”

“Purisov (Parysów, Lublin province), 1926. At ninety-three, this village tailor can thread the needle without wearing glasses.”

“Ostre (Ostróg, Równe province), 1925. The old castle and the synagogue (right), connected by an underground passage”

“Byale (Biała Podlaska, Lublin province), 1926. Azrielke, the Shabes-klaper. On Friday evenings he knocks on the shutters, announcing the beginning of the Sabbath.”

“Byale (Biała Podlaska, Lublin province), 1926. Wolf Nachowicz, the gravedigger, teaches his grandson to read while the boy’s grandmother looks on with pleasure. (The father is in America.)”

“The name of the game is hopscotch.”

Otwock, 1927

“Ostróg (today Острог), 1925. A woman with a pot of peas.”

“Words are flying.”

“Ger (Góra Kalwaria, Warsaw province). The poor man’s Sabbath meal is ready. Eydl Karbman at her table.”

“Varshe (Warsaw), 1927. Eretz Israel on the outskirts of Warsaw. Halutzim farming in the fields at Grochów.”

“Varshe (Warsaw), 1927. The fields at Grochów”

“1927. You can learn the latest gossip here”

“Varshe (Warsaw). The Jewish home for foundlings”

“Równe, 1925. In the old-age home”

“Vishkeve (Wyszków, Warsaw province), 1927. Itke the glazier’s wife, eighty years old.”

“Likeve (Łuków, Lublin province), 1926. A dispute.”

“Brisk (Brześć nad Bugiem, Pińsk province). In the barracks. Five families live in this room.”

“Mezritsh (Międzyrzec, Lublin province), 1924. A laborer’s meal.”

“Byale (Biała Podlaska, Lublin province), 1926. Father and son. To protect himself from the Evil One, Leyzer Bawół, the blacksmith, will not say how old he is, but he must be over one hundred. Now his son does the smithing and the old man has become a doctor. He sets broken arms and legs.”

“Tshortkev (Czortków, Tarnopol province), 1925. Tshortkever Jews taking a holiday on Sunday, when stores are closed by law.” On the wall is a poster announcing a lecture by the photographer, A. Kacyzne on the subject “Literature – A National Treasure”

“Wołomin. The saddler’s wife”

10 comentarios:

walter dijo...

Deeply moving pictures. All gone.

From Gustav Mahler, Vol 2, by Donald Mitchell,

"We know, as it happens, from Mahler's interview with Freud how a certain region of popular music making became charged - lastingly so - with a particular emotional tension. To escape that 'specially painful scene' between his father and mother Mahler rushed away from the house:

'At that moment, however, a hurdy-gurdy in the street was grinding out the popular Viennese air 'Ach, du lieber Augustin'. In Mahler's opinion the conjunction of high tragedy and light amusement was from then on inextricably fixed in his mind, and the one mood inevitably brought the other with it'"

Many thanks

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you very much, Walter. You’re right: it is this conjunction what has been created in this post, just as unintentionally as in Mahler’s associations.

Effe dijo...

(c'è perfino una citazione di Isaac Leib Pertz, ottimo)
Gli occhi di quei bambini!
Le barbe di quei vecchi uomini!
Le spalle di quelle donne, con il carico di tutta una vita!
Queste foto sono potenti, dramamtiche, vive, vere.
L'occhio del fotografo sapeva interrogare la realtà, come nel presentimento della necessità di lasciare agli uomini del futuro una testimonianza di quel mondo.
Magnifico lavoro.

Studiolum dijo...

Sì. Era un fotografo incredibilmente sensitivo di un mondo miracoloso. Com’è buono che almeno tanto – circa 700 fotografie – ha sopravvisuto del suo enorme archivio, raccolto lungo quasi trent’anni. E quanta pena fa a pensare a tutto ciò che si è distrutto per sempre: le foto, la gente rappresentata in esse, e il fotografo insieme.

Effe dijo...

sì, sì, è vero: distrutto per sempre. Eppure, non del tutto, finché c'è qualcuno che, come te, racconta ancora la loro storia.

Motyla noga dijo...

I'm from Lublin (Poland). Thanks for these photos. It's the world that has gone with the wind of history. In Lublin nazi germans built the concentration camp 'KL Majdanek'and many people (Poles, Jews, Ukrainians) died there. I live nearby (about 500m) the ex-camp, where the museum has place at the moment.

Anna Betlejewska

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you for your comment! Yes, this is a world which has absolutely gone. And while in today’s Poland still there are some memories left, in the Kresy, where these pictures were taken, it has been completely swept out. We would like to reconstruct as much of it as we can in this blog.

Motyla noga dijo...

Probably You'll be interested in these shots of ancient Lublin.

BTW I came across Your site after usung a search key 'hurdy-gurdy' as I play this instrument. I didn't expect that I could find such a great pictures from the past ;-)

Kind regards
Anna Betlejewska

MOCKBA dijo...

Thanks Studiolum, another amazing old post which I haven't found before!

Anna - your instrument is a lira or a katarynka? In different European languages, sometimes they are lumped together into one category, and sometimes not...

Motyla noga dijo...

I've got lira korbowa, model "lira dziadowska" (beggar's hurdy gurdy). Katarynka is a different instrument.