Émile Michel Wesly was a composer and journalist, who worked in Brussels and later in Paris. One of his compositions was the inspiration for the settings of Bertolt Brecht's ballad of the pirates and Song of Mother Courage. Wesly was born into a Jewish family, which was established in Maastricht since the late 18th century. His father, Henri Wesly, was a watchmaker, his mother was Caroline Amelie Hollender; He had three older siblings. The family moved to Brussels in 1884. He lived successively in different communities of today's Brussels-Capital.