Music of the Holocaust: Highlights from the Collection

Songs of the ghettos, concentration camps, and World War II partisan outposts

Songs of Jewish Displaced Persons

 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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The Happy Boys band played in displaced persons camps throughout Germany from 1945 to 1949.
The Happy Boys band played in displaced persons camps throughout Germany from 1945 to 1949.
H. Baigelman/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
<i>We Long for a Home</i> song lyric sheet, handed out at Happy Boys concerts.
We Long for a Home song lyric sheet, handed out at Happy Boys concerts.
H. Baigelman/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
We Long for a Home
(Es benkt zikh nokh ahaym)

Lyrics by: Henry Baigelman

Music by: Stranski

Language: Yiddish

 

Performed by Adrienne Cooper with Zalmen Mlotek, piano

Survivors in the displaced persons camps hungered for culture and were eager to restore a sense of normalcy to their lives. Entertainment played an increasingly important role as survivors joined together to form theatrical and musical troupes, some of which toured extensively through the occupied zones of Germany. Born in Lodz, Poland, to a family of professional musicians and trained on violin and saxophone, Henry Baigelman performed with the Lodz Ghetto Orchestra under the direction of his eldest brother Dovid, a noted composer and conductor.

After the war, Baigelman, together with seven fellow surviving musicians from Lodz, formed the touring jazz band The Happy Boys. The band was renowned for its lively arrangements and agreeable mixture of prewar hits, light classics, Jewish selections, and original songs about the lives and concerns of Jewish displaced persons. Baigelman and his wife Gita immigrated to the United States in 1949.

Recording Source:

Live recording at USHMM conference “Life Reborn: Jewish Displaced Persons 1945–1951,” Washington D.C., January 16, 2000. USHMM recorded sound archive.

Related Links:

Displaced Persons Camps (article in the USHMM’s Holocaust Encyclopedia)

Life Reborn: Jewish Displaced Persons, 1945–1951 (USHMM Online Exhibition)

 

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