The conductor and composer Misha Veksler was born in Vilna in 1907.  He became an important figure in the musical world of the Vilna ghetto, serving as the conductor of the theatre orchestra and composing music for many of the revues that were performed there.  Among his many compositions were ‘Fun kolkhoz bin ikh’, ‘Peshe fun reshe’, and ‘Korene yorn un vey tsu di teg’.  Much of his music was written in collaboration with the poet and lyricist Leyb Rozental, whose talented sister Khayele premiered much of their work.

Probably his best-known song was ‘Yisrolik’, which tells of the courage of a young orphan living off his wits in the ghetto. The song made a star of its singer, Khayele Rozental, when it was premiered in February 1942.  Veksler’s music and Leyb Rozental’s lyrics combined to make an inspiring and powerful piece that is still popular today in the Yiddish theatre world.

Veksler was seized during the final liquidation of the ghetto in 1943 and sent to Majdanek, where he perished.

Sources

Fater, Y., 1970. Yidishe muzik in poyln tsvishn beyde velt-milkohmes, Tel Aviv: Velt federatsye fun poylishe yidn.  

Katsherginski, S. & Leivick, H. eds., Lider fun di Getos un Lagern, New York: Alveltlekher Yidisher Kultur-Kongres.