The Metamorphosis of the Collection
Exactly 80 years after the death of the famous cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, the archive of the Rabbi and cantor Menachem (Emil) Gross was donated to the Music Collection and Sound Archive of the National Library. The archive, which was donated by his grandson, Yaakov Gross, has a fascinating history: Menachem (Emil) Gross was trained as a Rabbi in the Yeshiva of Bratislava and served as a cantor in Orthodox synagogues in Hamburg and Frankfurt (Germany). He moved to Israel right before World War II, in December, 1939. .
As a student in the Yeshiva of Bratislava, where he arrived in 1902, he met the legendary cantor Yoselle Rosenblatt who was serving at the local synagogue. The two became friends. In 1907 Rosenblatt helped Gross receive a post as a cantor in Hamburg, Germany. It has now become clear from his archive that Rosenblatt left his friend many of his manuscripts, including tens of his original musical compositions. The Director of the Music Collection and Sound Archive at the National Library, Dr. Gila Flam, notes that the assumption is that Rosenblatt gave the scores to Gross to study and perform.
For many years, this collection sat in a suitcase in the storage closet of the Rosenblatt house in Jerusalem. The archive includes notes, manuscripts of cantorial compositions and archival material related to the experiences of the Jewish communities of Germany during the 30's.