Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Music Research Seminar: Simo Muir

Mother Rachel and Her Children

Jewish musical activities in Finland during World War II

Lecture Theatre 1, School of Music


The speaker is Dr Simo Muir (Performing the Jewish Archive, University of Leeds)


During volatile war-years the small Jewish community in Finland continued to maintain a Yiddish cultural scene. Helsinki-born author Jac Weinstein (1883-1976) played a central role in it and some of his works have been recently discovered by Dr Simo Muir. Among them are short sketches and couplets that satirise daily life on the home front. These were part of kleynkunst soirees that provided entertainment and relief to the Yiddish speaking audience in Helsinki.

Weinstein dealt also with the on-going annihilation of European Jewry in Nazi occupied countries, themes that after the war he gathered in a choral tableau called Muter Rokhl un ire kinder (Mother Rachel and her Children). This tableau and some other pieces by Weinstein have recently been performed in the festivals of Performing the Jewish Archive project. This paper will discuss the process that lead to the performance of these pieces, from discovery to production.

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