Schtarker fun ajsn
Konzert - und Theaterplakate aus dem Wilnaer Getto 1941 - 1943
Stronger than Iron
Concert and theater posters from the ghetto in Wilna 1941 - 1943
Catalogue of an exhibition at the Jüdisches Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 2002.09.19 - 2002.12.29, organized on the occasion of the Frankfurt Book.
Edited by Georg heuberger
Published by Jüdisches Museum, Frankfurt am Main (DE), (Sep 2002)
346 pages; 17 x 24 cm; 45 color reproductions; softcover; in german
ISBN 3-98077-67-6-X
Lithuania was once a mighty empire reaching from the Baltic to the Black Sea in the 14th century, but fell on hard times in recent history, constantly being subject to conquest and exploitation. Its capital Wilna, today called Vilnius, had a jewish population of 60' 000 when it was invaded by Nazi Germany on June 24, 1941, and was referred to as the "Lithuanian Jerusalem". In September 1941, the jews were enclosed in a ghetto and killed systematically, until the ghetto was finally liquidated on September 24, 1943, with the last remaining people deported to concentration camps. Fewer than 3000 survived the occupation. When the ghetto administration decided to establish a theater in the ghetto, after 20' 000 had already been killed, there was an outcry of protest: "Ojf a besojlem schpilt men nit kejn teater!" (one doesn't play theater in a graveyard), but after its first performance on January 18, 1942, there was a complete change of mind. People realized that this was a way to escape from the brutal reality, if only for a few hours. Miraculously, about 200 posters have survived from that period, and tell of concerts, musicals, plays, talks, comedies, poetry readings; even a volley ball tournament took place in the theater.
The posters are placed in context by articles grouped in chapters "Jeruscholaim de-Lite", The jewish "Wilne" between the Wars, "Mir lebn ejbik" - cultural life in the Wilna ghetto. Concert and theater posters from the Wilna ghetto 1941 - 1943, is written by Dina Abramowicz, Solon Beinfeld, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Georg Heuberger, Hermann Kruk, Maria Kuehn-Ludewig, Mojsche Kulbak, Cecile E. Kuznitz, Markas Petuchauskas, Stefan Schreiner, Max Weinreich and Zalmen Zilbercaig. I was especially moved by the diary of Hermann Kruk (1897 - 1944), the librarian of the ghetto, who kept meticulous records on the daily life at the library, and noted that book loans increased dramatically after each deportation. His accounts end abruptly on July 13, 1943, the day he too was deported.
On Monday, 4.5.1942 the first concert will take place at the small Municipal Hall organized by the guard of the ghetto gate
Program: Symphony Orchestra Puppet theater
The Culture Departement of the Jewish Council of the Wilna Ghetto and the Hebrew Club of the Ghetto present on July 12, 1942 a celebration for Ch. N. Bialik
1. Talk on Ch. N. Bialik
2. Hebrew Choir, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra
(October 4, 1942)
Shloshim memorial services on the death of Jakob Gerschtej with the Symphony Orchestra, the Yiddish Choir, the Hebrew Choir, and artists of the Ghetto Theater
On Sunday, May 16, 1943 at the Ghetto Theater
43. Workers Afternoon Perfomance
dedicated to the 27th anniversary of Sholem Alejchem's death  with recitals, violin and piano perfomances by the artists of the Ghetto Theater and the Youth Club


Erste Aufführung des Kinder- und Jugend-Klubs. Auf dem Programm: eine Kinderoper, Lieder für Chor und Theaterstücke, 8. Januar 1943 (Staatliches Zentralarchiv Litauen, Vilnius)

Musik-Abend mit einem Klavier Solo und Lieder für Chor, 6. Juni 1942 (Staatliches Zentralarchiv Litauen, Vilnius)
R. Berstein, piano
L. Lewitzki, chant