A special concert for the "Christvesper Zum Heiligen Abend"

(Christvesper zum Heiligen Abend 2019 in der Apostel Paulus Kirche mit Interpretationen von Nur Ben Shalom und Karim Saleh und arabischen und jüdischen Klängen.)


Karim Saleh: Violin

Nur Ben Shalom: Clarinet

Michael Cohen Weissert: Piano

Pfarrerin Martina Steffen-Elis

Superintendent Michael Raddatz

The "Chad Gadya" by Samuel Blass (written in Hungary between 1942-1940 before Blass was deported to Dachau concentration camp) at the Apostel Paulus Church of Berlin.

Filmed with an iPhone by Eleonora Castellari.

Special thanks to Dr. Gila Flam and the Sound and Music Archives of the National Library of Israel.

The Story:

Hungary, 1942-1940

Shmuel Lazarovich, a young Jewish man in his early thirties who was drafted into the Hungarian Labor Service, left his wife and children back home. The Hungarian army was not interested in his military service and forced him into difficult and arduous labor. Samuel Blass, a Jewish musician, was also recruited to the Hungarian Labor Service. Blass, who worked by Lazarovich's side, taught his new friend his own original melody, a Hungarian version of the Chad Gadya chorus. One of them then drew improvised lines on a piece of paper, documenting the melody composed by Blass. During one of Lazarovich's visit back to Hodges for a short vacation, he placed the melody notes in a side cabinet in his home.

Hungary, 1944

On March 19, 1944 The German army invaded Hungary and many Hungarian Jews perished, including Samuel Blass and Samuel Lazarovich's family. Samuel Lazarovich himself was sent to Dachau concentration camp.

Hodges, Hungary, 1945

As someone who held a certificate attesting to his being Yugoslav, Samuel Lazarovich was authorized to return to the village where he lived - Hodges. Wearing a German soldier's hat decorated with the Wermacht emblem, he was warmly welcomed by the Swabian villagers. The wooden cupboard remained intact. He opened the closet and discovered a complete set of Tefillin and next to it, a small piece of brown paper with notes on it - Chad Gadya, composed by Samuel Blass. In 1983, Shmuel Lazarovich passed away, leaving behind a single Jewish daughter.

Israel, National Library, February 2019

For years, the original manuscript was preserved by Judith Lazarovich, daughter of Samuel Lazarovich. A few years ago, she passed away and the manuscript was handed over to Gabriel Laron, the nephew of Samuel Lazarovich, who decided to donate it to the National Library of Israel. This recording above is probably the first performance of the piece.