Kirch, Albert (1918-2016)

Cantor, Rabbi

Born on November 1st 1918 in Warsaw, Albert Kirch (Abraham Kirchenbaum) arrives in Metz (France) at the age of 2 years old.

In 1932, he obtains his school certificate at the “Ecole Israélite”, followed by a grant for the Rabbi School in Paris. In 1938, he joins the Israeli Seminar.
During the war he is mobilized between 1939 and 1942. Many members of his family are killed in Auschwitz in 1942.

Demobilized in Clermont-Ferrand in July 1942, he enters the resistance in the Cantal region, particularly by making false documents during the Compulsory Work Service.
He teaches French at the “OSE” (Children’s Aid Society), and prepares the writer and philosopher Elie Wiesel for his bachelor’s degree.

In 1950 he is hired as a cantor in Brussels as well as in Metz, along with Salomon Binn and Jules Ptachek.

He receives in 1953 the First Prize Award for singing, at the National Music School of Metz. For 32 years, Albert Kirch will be cantor in Metz, teaching the Bible to generations of students, among them the current Great Rabbis of Lyon and Metz.
He leaves Metz in 1982 to settle down one year in Israel.
Back in France in 1983, he takes over his step-father’s position, M. Cohen, as a cantor and rabbi in Périgueux.

From 2000 to 2001, he replaces the Rabbi Charles Liché at the synagaogue of Place des Vosges for the main holidays.

At the age of 96 years old, on October 20th 2014, the Great Rabbi of France, Haïm Korsia appoints him officially Rabbi, 69 years after the war and the forced interruption of his rabbi studies, as a tribute for his teaching of Judaism and his transmission of moral Jewish values and faith to generations of students and worshippers.

Albert Kirch died on April 18th 2016. He is buried in Cronenbourg’s cemetery in Strasbourg.

Watch excerpts of the French TV show la Source de Vie : "Metz : The Revival", hosted by Josy Eisenberg

Learn more about Albert Kirch

On December 16th 2010, Hervé Roten made an interview with Albert Kirch, who then gave his musical archives to the European Institute for Jewish Music.

Look at our archives about Albert Kirch
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Listen to the interview of Albert Kirch by Hervé Roten, beneath (in French)

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  • His childhood and studies to become Rabbi

  • During German occupation...

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