Yona Radinov writes:
"Even behind the two rows of continuous
wire provisions of the Riga Ghetto, the cruel Nazi
tormentors could not extinguish the love of Yiddish
theatre, and the Yiddish culture, theatre, music, songs
that had become a fixture throughout the poor, crooked
little alleys of the Riga neighborhood--the Moscow
Forshtat, where the Riga ghetto was found, where the
Latvian Jews had been settled for entirely two years.
There tens of musicians, singers, artists had settled
their creative lives... not infrequently within these
frightening ghetto alleys there was heard a Yiddish
melody, a Yiddish song. These were Yiddish artists,
performers, musicians, going throughout the ghetto
courts and for the people boldly gave street concerts.
When a call of danger was heard from a roof that the
commandant of the ghetto Krause is coming, one
immediately ran away, but as soon as he went away, they
continued with their street concerts.
Riga there was a Litvak Jew named Mapu. Nobody knows
anything exactly about him, only that his family name
was Mapu. He never worked. No one knows where he lived.
In the evening, when the ghetto folk had returned to
their lodgings for the night in the ghetto, the Litvak
Jew Mapu would appear on the narrow streets of the
ghetto and began singing his heartfelt Yiddish songs. As
it has been pointed out, he by himself also was the
composer of the songs, which had great success in the
ghetto. The entire ghetto used to sing them. He had a
special success with his hit song, 'Azoy muz zayn! (So
It Must Be!).' He was a bright ray within the dark life
of the ghetto; he was a welcome guest in the ghetto
courts. We took him everywhere with a fever until it
passed. Mapu had suffered from hunger, cold, pain, and
he had never worked for the Nazis.
The commander of the ghetto
had become startled by the great love of the ghetto for
its street singer Mapu. One of the bloodthirsty ghetto
guards Tuchel, on Ludzas Street, which the Jews had
called the "Broadway of the Ghetto," took Mapu to the
Hanover bunker, from where he didn't return...."
Sh. E. from