two names on a house wall in vienna’s II. district, leopoldstadt: feiga and george zajac. two musicians in search of traces: markus emanuel zaja and ralf kaupenjohann.
accompanied by historian shoshanna blickenstorfer-ritzmann z“l and filmmaker tom briele, they travel through europe: in vienna, in london, in lublin/poland. they not only visit the places where the people of jewish religion were persecuted by the nazis, they are also creating music with the people living there today. and they did research in archives on site and on the internet. they find amazing data on the lives of feiga, george and other relatives.
the accordionist ralf kaupenjohann compiles this data into an extensive documentation, illustrated with about 200 pictures. markus emanuel zaja, reed player, author and prize-winner of the germany-wide literary competition „l’chaim: write on jewish life in germany!“ 2022, writes from an intimate perspective about the trip to vienna. his freehand photographs, taken in the movement of the traveling man, and his intimate texts rhythmize the documentary documentary main part of the work. the double cd that accompanies the book was recorded during the 2015 trip to vienna and presents the two musicians in dialogue with the percussionist titus vadon and with johannes groysbeck on his self-invented instrument. the project was made possible by many people who donated small and large amounts of money via the internet platform startnext.
the new recording presented here was done on april 9, 2022, the eightieth anniversary of the deportation of feige and george to the so-called transit ghetto izbica, from which the path led to death by gassing in the extermination camps of belzec or sobibor. the guest at this day was the principal clarinetist of the jyväskylä sinfonia, finland, gil agababa shaked. the music is improvised, and is based on the idea of the piece eight plus two which was created in vienna in 2015 – also then improvised. it commemorates eight names from the family of rabbi bing of würzburg, whose great-great-granddaughter was our team historian shoshanna blickenstorfer-ritzmann z“l, and this two zajac – familiar names from the extensive polish, ukrainian and former austro-hungarian territories of southeastern europe.
may their memory be a blessing.