Album cover

Released by my great grandfather.
Released by my great grandfather.

“The Wonder Child”Music can speak volumes even in the worst times. My great grandfather Yechiel Gildin was a practicing cantor or jewish singer. The photos attached include one of his albums “songs of the ages'' and a photo of him at a show with children who attended. Born in Kishinev Bessarabia in 1914 he grew up with a passion for music and at the age of 9 became a meshorrer (a choirboy). By the age of 11 he was performing by himself throughout Bessarabia and Romania and was gifted the nick name “the wonder child” due to his immense talent. Later on with a steady career in jewish music at the age of 27 he was drafted into the Russian army to fight in WW2. Consequently, he was unable to perform like he used to since most of his Jewish fanbase had been transported to concentration camps and he was busy fighting off the German forces. Despite those challenges, he still tried to lead prayer and song amongst his fellow jewish soldiers as much as he could. After he served, for about 3 more years he worked as a cantor in Bucharest and in Brussels. Then in 1949, my grandfather emigrated here through the port in Chicago with his children one of which being my grandfather who was five years old at the time. After settling in the U.S he took on a plethora of new opportunities touring the country to entertain its large influx of new Jewish immigrants. Unfortunately he passed away in 1967 but his legacy still lives on for generations to come. His passion and drive is inspirational to me and helps me gage an understanding of what he was like since I’ve never met him.

Place(s): Bessarabia, Romania, Russia, Brussels, Bucharest and the U.S.
Year: 1949

– Haleigh Gildin

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more