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Cole Porter was an Episcopalian,

a farmer’s son, from Peru, Indiana,

whose ambition was to write ‘Jewish Tunes’.

My mother’s favourite song was ‘Begin

the Begine’, which Cole Porter composed,

the story goes, one evening at the piano

in The Ritz Bar of the Ritz Hotel, Paris.

The love song is in a minor key.

It personifies longing, wit, irony.


My mother and father met in the city

of Kano, Northern Nigeria.

‘When they begin the beguine,
It brings back the sound of music so tender,
It brings back the night of tropical splendour,
It brings back a memory evergreen!…

She and my father, Gentile and Jew,

danced to the music at their wedding

in Kano’s driest, dustiest month –

the month Heydrich’s Wannsee Conference

agreed The Final Solution in

less than ninety minutes.




© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • Catherine Reynolds
    November 25, 2017

    So bitter sweet. A familial story of love and loss from an intimate celebration to the condemnation of the many.

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