August 12, 1952 is one of the most tragic dates for the Jewish culture of the former Soviet Union – and in particular for the Yiddish culture. On this day five of the most eminent Yiddish writers and poets were shot in a KGB torture chamber at Lubyanka in Moscow. They were David Berghelson, Itzik Fefer, Peretz Markish, David Hofstein, Lev Kvitko and the famous actor Veniamin Zuskin.
It has become an annual tradition for Moldovan Jewry to conduct memorial parties on this day. Now, on August 13 it took place at the KJJC where over 150 people representing all generations became spectators of a special program dedicated to the memory of tortured masters of art, the real intellectual elite of the Jewish people.
Mr. Sergo Bengelsdorf, faculty member of the Academy of Fine Arts of Moldova and expert of Yiddish culture, has for many years organized such meetings.
People held their breath while they listened to poems and songs written by the perished writers. The words were full of energy and pain and the music full of passion and sadness.
In spite of the tragic nature of the events that took place 54 years ago, at the end of the event the audience repeated with inspiration the refrain of the poem: “I am a Jew” and sang along with “Am Israel Hai” – “The Jewish People Are Alive”.