The film is set in Ponar, the Vilna ghetto, during the years 1940 to 1943 and tells the amazing story of the song contest that was held in the ghetto in the year 1943, a few months before it was destroyed.


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A Film by: Racheli Schwartz
(Israel, 2002, 54 Minutes, Color, Hebrew, English subtitles)

The film focuses on one particular song and its composer, an 11 year old boy named Alek Wolkovsky. The song is called Ponar in Hebrew, “Shtilar Shtilar” (quietly) in Yiddish. The words of the song, which tell of the gloom and doom that had befallen Vilna, were turned into a lullaby so that the Nazis would not be able to understand.

Sixty years later, the director, Racheli Schwartz, found the child – composer, Alexander Tamir, who had since become a professor of music and a renowned pianist.

• Calgary Jewish Film Festival 2007