My little town Zloczow: A Survivor’s Memoir

Zloczow 1902

Joel Rubin Ensemble with Roald Hoffmann.

Zloczow (now Zolochiv, Ukraine) was a thriving Polish-Jewish-Ukrainian town near Lwow/Lemberg. Then, during three years, 1941-44 the Jewish population perished in the Holocaust. One of the survivors, Roald Hoffmann, tells in his own words, in readings from others, and in poems, the story of the town, its rich religious and cultural heritage (reaching out to America through the Yiddish writer Moshe Leyb Halpern, the photographer Weegee and others). Hoffmann, who was named after the discoverer Roald Amundsen, received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in his new home America, while at the same time becoming known for his poems, essays, and plays. A lifelong connoisseur of music, Hoffmann’s memories of the musical traditions of his home town were revived by the music and research of Joel Rubin. Kindred spirits in their approaches to science, the arts, and religion, they began to perform together, drawing into the moving poetry and memoirs of Hoffmann and Rubin’s musical score the thoughts and the musical traditions of the great hasidic masters, one of whom was Yekhiel Mekhl, the Maggid of Zloczow. The program interweaves text with appropriate musical selections, including hasidic, cantorial and klezmer music from the region of Zloczow.