DIANA BLUMENFELD (1906-1961) was an actress and singer born in Warsaw in 1906. She was a beloved figure to survivors, having performed before, during and after the war. The fact that she came to record for Stonehill is a treasure.
Diane Blumenfeld (1906 – 1961)
When Blumenfeld sang to the survivors in the Marseilles Hotel she was among her own. Blumenfeld married into a family of stars of Yiddish theater, having married Yonas Turkov. She sang in the Warsaw ghetto, where she performed in cafes and in the ghetto theatre.
Blumenfeld and her husband escaped the liquidation of the ghetto, and the couple helped revive post-war Polish Jewish culture. They performed in the first postwar event that was organised by the Association of Jewish Writers, Journalists and Actors in December 1944. Blumenfeld performed on Polish radio in Lublin and Warsaw, touring Displaced Persons’ camps in Germany. She continuied to tour and died in New York in 1961 (See entry in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).
The repertoire of songs she chose to sing in this context are telling. I have noticed that the songs that the women in the hotel chose to sing are, in general, quite different in kind from those sung by men. These songs seem geared to the women’s tastes. What we find here are an assortment of love songs, and songs that touch on familiar and nostalgic, religious themes and a lullaby. Men and women after the war were nostalgic for their past world but also forming new families and interested in courting.
Stonehill Collection Audio Tracks Performed by Blumenfeld:
0081. Mamenyu lyubenyu (Dear Mother)
0082. Oy vey mame, kh’ob lib a sheyn yingl (Oh Mother, I Love a Pretty Boy)
0083. Pozharne komande
0084. Shabes kale briderlekh (The Bride of Sabbath)
0107. Ven der rebe lernt toyre (When the Rabbi Studies Torah) with Stonehill Intro
0108. Ven ikh volt gehat dem keysres oystres (If I had the Kaiser’s Treasures)