Marysia (Miriam) Ajzenstadt

This year’s March, which JHI is organizing for the second time, is devoted to the daughter of a conductor of choir of two synagogues in Warsaw — Marysia (Miriam) Ajzenstadt.

Wide marysia ajzensztadt
Marysia Ajzensztadt

This year’s March, which JHI is organizing for the second time, is devoted to the daughter of a conductor of choir of two synagogues in Warsaw — Marysia (Miriam) Ajzenstadt.

Miriam — Nightingale of the Ghetto

Before the outbreak of the Second World War, the daughter of Dawid Ajzenstadt had been growing up in a house where she had opportunities to be surrounded with high culture every day. Hence, her interest in literature, art, theatre and especially music. In 1940, Miriam and her family were placed in the Warsaw Ghetto. Even there, she did not resign from her passion and often gave concerts. She performed a rich repertoire, from the most popular pop hits to opera aries, from the traditional Jewish and Hebrew songs to the pieces written in the ghetto reflecting the tragedy of the Holocaust. Additionally, she performed solos with the accompaniment of a symphonic orchestra. Her vast popularity and love of the audience led to her being called “Nightingale of the Ghetto”.

Concerts with Szpilman

It was possible to listen to Marysia most often in Femina theatre at 35, Leszno Street and “Sztuka” cafe located at 2, Leszno Street. At the same cafe performed also Władysław Szpilman, who remembers the singer that way: [Femina] was the biggest in the ghetto and had various ambitions. In the concert hall took place artistic performances, there sang, among others, Maria Eisenstadt, who would now be famous among millions because of her wonderful voice if the Germans had not killed her later.

Still a child, almost

“Gazeta Żydowska” wrote about her on 2nd October, 1941: an artist, almost still a child, a talent which happenes very rarely, she is able to do so much that she can impress even with her vocal technique, which others have only after years of studying. A perfect, free of effort coloratura, the awareness of intonation, a great sense of rhythm, a perfect diction, an ease and efficiency of breathing techniques. A gift of eloquence which reaches the most distant corner of the room.

Marysia and her family shared the fate of the Warsaw Jews who since July 22, 1942 were being deported to the extermination camp in Treblinka. However, the time and place of her death is not certain. We only know that it happened at the beginning of August 1942. According to the most well-known version, Miriam was murdered at Umschlagplatz when she refused to part with his father. The second version says she was shot when her family was being taken away from the house in Ceglana Street. What both versions have in common is the impossibility to separate from her beloved father.

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