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The Forverts has released a music video featuring Isabel Frey performing Morris Rosenfeld’s haunting lament for Jewish workers, “Mayn Rue-Plats”, (My Resting Place).
Rosenfeld, one of a group of American Yiddish labor poets known as the “sweatshop poets,” was a longtime Forverts staff writer. His poems, chief among them “My Resting Place,” were set to music and became popular on both sides of the Atlantic. While the song is associated with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and is still performed at the annual commemoration for its victims, Rosenfeld actually wrote the poem a decade before the tragedy.
The new music video was produced to coincide with last week’s release of Isabel Frey’s debut album “Millennial Bundist”. The CD features Yiddish labor songs associated with the Jewish Labor Bund, an Eastern European political party that sought to improve workers’ rights and promote Yiddish culture.
In her album description, Frey notes that by singing Yiddish labor songs she seeks not to “resurrect a lost world, but to cultivate the continuity of radical Jewish culture.” Besides concerts, she often performs at political protests in her native Vienna against the Austrian far-right, singing Yiddish labor songs with new German lyrics.