At a recent concert in Mexico, Cantor Simon Cohen introduced and sang Ani Ma’amin accompanied by a musical introduction and new arrangements by Maestro Eli Jaffe.
The song is attributed to Azriel David Fastag, a Modzitzer Hasid whose compositions were regularly sung in the court of the Modzitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar. He reportedly composed the tune in a cattle car while being taken to Treblinka.
Fastag announced that he would give half of his share of the World to Come to whoever would bring the tune to the Modzitzer Rebbe, who had escaped Europe in 1940. Two men took him up on his offer and leaped from the moving train. One died from the fall, but the other survived and eventually brought the tune to the Rebbe’s son in Israel, who sent his father the musical score.
The tune was sung by dozens of Jews as they marched to the gas chambers in the Nazi death camps