GUTMAN, Adam = ADAMS, George (pseudonym)

Language of Description
1936 - 2003
Level of Description
EHRI Partner

Extent and Medium

Env. 0.18 metres of textual records. - 3 compact discs (CD-ROM). - 6 photographs. - 21 discs. - 6 books. - 19 sound elements. - 4 videos.

Biographical History

Adam Gutman was born March 20, 1916 in Radom, Poland. A child prodigy in violin, he was performing in public by age 13 and was the first Jew accepted to the Warsaw conservatory of music. During WWII he was interned in the ghetto and was then deported to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Mathausen. His wife Ida survived the war, but 2 siblings did not, prompting Gutman to use a combination of their names, Benjamin Rajzele, to sign the paintings he created later in his life.Reunited after the war with his wife, he and Ida immigrated to Canada with their children James and Betty in the late 1940s. Soon after his arrival, Gutman played violin briefly with the Ottawa symphony, then took up the career of a touring violinist, playing in the cities and small communities of Quebec, often in gypsy costume. For his musical career, his agent advised him to use the name George Adams, and it was under this name that he became known as a composer of popular French music which often topped the charts of the Quebec hit parade, paired with the lyrics of artists such as Jean Grimaldi and sung by singers such as Alys Robi, Jacques Darieux, Yvan Daniel, Roland Montreuil, Jimmy Burns and Rod Norman. When the popularity of this music waned, Gutman concentrated on teaching music privately to Montreal students, using a variety of instruments. He was also a collector of instruments, a painter and a poet. He set the poetry of many Yiddish poets to music and hoped to publish these compositions. Adam Gutman died in August 2003.


The first portion of the collection was donated by Adam Gutman himself in 1996 and consisted of his poetry writings, photocopies of music, and some clippings. In 2000 the rest of the material was donated by his son James (Jimmy), at the time of a tribute to Adam Gutman (aka George Adams, composer) organized by Jimmy Gutman in cooperation with the CJC Archives committee. This second part of the donation includes the musical and image CDs and materials associated with the tribute evening. At the time of Gutman's death in 2003 CJC Archives added some obituary and biographical clippings to the collection. Originals of the photocopied materials are held by Adam Gutman or by his estate and heirs. Addition donation was made by Dr. Jimmy Gutman, son of Adam Gutman, on March 19, 2007. Jimmy and Susan Gutman made an additional donation on July 23 and Nov. 4, 2020

Scope and Content

Poetry volume , desktop published, containing poems and a reproduction of a Gutman painting (done under the pseudonym Benjamin Raysele.) Photocopies of musical scores for Yiddish poems, clippings about French Canadian music scene, including singer Alys Robi. Added 2000: Clippings about October 2000 tribute to Gutman at CJC National Archives, CD of music composed by Gutman (compiled by his son Jimmy), CD of song sheets and illustrated posters for Gutman's music composed for popular French singers in Quebec in the 1950s and 1960s. Addition 2007: 4 color photo, 1967-2000. One sketch of Adam Gutman done by himself under the name Benjamin Razele, 1987. 2 music sheet for the Centennial Songs, words and music by George Adams, 1967. 1 music sheet for "C'est Noël dans mon village", word by Jean Grimaldi and music by George Adams, 1955. Addition 2020: 1 album containing 12 vinyl records (45s), some signed by Adam Gutman, 1950s-1960s . 10 vinyl records, some signed by Adam Gutman, 1950s. 1 CD of songs by Alys Robi including song written by Adam Gutman, 1995. 18 audio tapes of Jewish humour and music. 4 VHS tapes. 3 Polish books, 1946-1960. 1 Yiddish book, 1948. 1 English book, 1937. 1 Hebrew book, 1950. 3 Concordia University Memoirs of Holocaust Survivors in Canada books. 2 black and white photos, ca. 1940s. 1 file of Yiddish correspondence, 1955. English correspondence, 1967-1999. Insurance documents, 1965-1974. Immigration documents, 1945-1950. 4 self-portraits by Adam Gutman, 1975-1987. 12 files of poems and composition by Adam Gutman in Yiddish and English


  • Alpha-numeric designations: P96/05 and P20/10.Location of originals: Originals of the photocopied items are owned by Adam Gutman or his heirs.General note: Adam Gutman (George Adams)' music created a bridge between Jews and French Quebecers. The 1967 items relate to a growing interest of late in the 1967 World's Fair in Montreal.

This description is derived directly from structured data provided to EHRI by a partner institution. This collection holding institution considers this description as an accurate reflection of the archival holdings to which it refers at the moment of data transfer.