At The Fireplace
Most frequently called Oyfn Pripetshik, from its opening words, this song originally titled “Der Aleph-Beis”, had gained such wide popularity that many did not realize its authorship. It was written by Mark Warshavsky (1840- 1907), a discovery of Sholem Aleichem, who assisted in the publication of two collections of Warshawsky’s songs, in 1901 and 1914.
The music was later used as a theme in the film based on the life of George Gershwin. During the Nazi holocaust it was used as a ghetto song: At the Ghetto wall a fire burns, the surveillance is keen.” And in the Soviet Union, in the early 60’s a song that made the rounds clandestinely had the following words: “Even should they beat you or throw you on the pyre, repeat kometz-alef – 0.”
Lately the song was used for one of the scenes in the film “Schindlers List”