Zog nit keynmol: Yiddish partisan march

Cross-posted at Anti-German Translation.

Song of the partisans: a Yiddish partisan march, with breakbeats, by geberk.

History is Made at Night, a propos of Marek Edelman:

Yesterday’s post on mandolins and anti-fascist resistance in Warsaw has prompted this response from Ruin Gebirk in Berlin:

“I read your story about the mandoline, it was interesting, I too have a strong interest in the jewish resistance history and I am specially fascinated by the “little” stories. When I was young we were singing the jiddish songs of Hirsh Glik and others… since I know about your electronical music background I wanted to share my new track with you: I called it jiddish partizan marsh, it’s based on the melody of Sog nit kejnmal als du gejst den letztn”.

jiddish partizan marsh by gebirk

Wikipedia: Hirsch Glick (1922 Vilna, Poland – 1944 Estonia) was a Jewish poet and partisan.

Glik was born in Vilna in 1922. He began to write Yiddish poetry in his teens and became co-founder of Yungvald (Young Forest), a group of young Jewish poets. After the German assault on Soviet Union in 1941, Hirsh Glik was imprisoned in the Weiße Wache concentration camp and later transferred to Vilna Ghetto. Glick involved himself in the ghetto’s artistic community while simultaneously participating in the underground and took part in the 1942 ghetto uprising. In 1943 he wrote his most famous work, the song Zog nit keynmol, az du geyst dem letstn veg (זאג ניט קיינמאל, אז דו גייסט דעם לעצטן וועג), which became the anthem of the Jewish partisan movement, and Shtil, di nakht iz oysgeshternt. He was inspired to write this work by news that arrived of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Glik managed to flee when the ghetto was being liquidated in October 1943, but was re-captured. He was later deported to a concentration camp in Estonia. During his captivity he continued to compose songs and poems. In July 1944, with the Soviet Army approaching, Glik escaped. He was never heard from again, and was presumed captured and executed by the Germans (reportedly in August 1944).

Glick’s songs on youtube

[1]shtil di nakht [2] Partisan Song (zog nit keynmol) [3] Partisan Song (zog nit keynmol)

Wikipedia: Zog Nit Keynmol

“Zog Nit Keyn Mol” (Yiddish: זאָג ניט קיין מאָל) (also referred to as “Partizaner Lid” or “Partisan song”, though it shares this title with other works) is the name of a Yiddish song written in 1943 by Hirsh Glick, a young Jewish inmate of the Vilna Ghetto. The song is considered one of the chief anthems of Holocaust survivors and is sung in memorial services around the world. During the war it was the anthem of various Jewish partisan brigades.

A mural of Mordechai Anielewicz and his girlfriend Mira Fuchrer in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The mural is headed by the opening line of the song.

The lyrics Glik wrote were later set to music by Dmitri Pokrass.

Meaning

The title means “Never Say”, and derives from the first line of the song, “Never say that you have reached the final road.” “Zog Nit Keynmol” was adopted by a number of Jewish partisan groups operating in Eastern Europe. It became a symbol of resistance against Nazi Germany‘s persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust.

Lyrics

English translation

Never say this is the final road for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over days of blue.
As the hour that we longed for is so near,
Our step beats out the message: we are here!

From lands so green with palms to lands all white with snow.
We shall be coming with our anguish and our woe,
And where a spurt of our blood fell on the earth,
There are courage and our spirit have rebirth!

The early morning sun will brighten our day,
And yesterday with our foe will fade away,
But if the sun delays and in the east remains –
This song as password generations must remain.

This song was written with our blood and not with lead,
It’s not a little tune that birds sing overhead,
This song a people sang amid collapsing walls,
With pistols in hand they heeded to the call.

Therefore never say the road now ends for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over days of blue.
As the hour that we longed for is so near,
Our step beats out the message: we are here!

Yiddish in transliteration

zog nit keyn mol, az du geyst dem letstn veg,
khotsh himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg.
kumen vet nokh undzer oysgebenkte sho,
s’vet a poyk ton undzer trot: mir zaynen do!

fun grinem palmenland biz vaysn land fun shney,
mir kumen on mit undzer payn, mit undzer vey,
un vu gefaln iz a shprits fun undzer blut,
shprotsn vet dort undzer gvure, undzer mut!

s’vet di morgnzun bagildn undz dem haynt,
un der nekht vet farshvindn mit dem faynt,
nor oyb farzamen vet di zun in der kayor –
vi a parol zol geyn dos lid fun dor tsu dor.

dos lid geshribn iz mit blut, un nit mit blay,
s’iz nit keyn lidl fun a foygl oyf der fray,
dos hot a folk tsvishn falndike vent
dos lid gezungen mit naganes in di hent.

to zog nit keyn mol, az du geyst dem letstn veg,
khotsh himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg.
kumen vet nokh undzer oysgebenkte sho –
es vet a poyk ton undzer trot: mir zaynen do!

Original Yiddish

זאָג ניט קיין מאָל, אַז דו גייסט דעם לעצטן וועג,
כאָטש הימלען בלײַענע פֿאַרשטעלן בלויע טעג.
קומען וועט נאָך אונדזער אויסגעבענקטע שעה –
ס׳וועט אַ פּויק טאָן אונדזער טראָט: מיר זײַנען דאָ!

פֿון גרינעם פּאַלמענלאַנד ביז ווײַסן לאַנד פֿון שניי,
מיר קומען אָן מיט אונדזער פּײַן, מיט אונדזער וויי,
און וווּ געפֿאַלן ס׳איז אַ שפּריץ פֿון אונדזער בלוט,
שפּראָצן וועט דאָרט אונדזער גבֿורה, אונדזער מוט!

ס׳וועט די מאָרגנזון באַגילדן אונדז דעם הײַנט,
און דער נעכט וועט פֿאַרשווינדן מיט דעם פֿײַנט,
נאָר אויב פֿאַרזאַמען וועט די זון אין דער קאַיאָר –
ווי אַ פּאַראָל זאָל גיין דאָס ליד פֿון דור צו דור.

דאָס ליד געשריבן איז מיט בלוט, און מיט בלײַ,
ס׳איז ניט קיין לידל פֿון אַ פֿויגל אויף דער פֿרײַ,
דאָס האָט אַ פֿאָלק צווישן פֿאַלנדיקע ווענט
דאָס ליד געזונגען מיט נאַגאַנעס אין די הענט.

טאָ זאָג ניט קיין מאָל, אַז דו גייסט דעם לעצטן וועג,
כאָטש הימלען בלײַענע פֿאַרשטעלן בלויע טעג.
קומען וועט נאָך אונדזער אויסגעבענקטע שעה –
ס׳וועט אַ פּויק טאָן אונדזער טראָט: מיר זײַנען דאָ!

Resources

  • Fisher, Adam. An Everlasting Name: A Service for Remembering the Shoah. West Orange, NJ: Behrman House, 1991.
  • Kalisch, Shoshana and Barbara Meister. Yes, We Sang! Songs of the Ghettos and Concentration Camps. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Versions on Youtube

External links

More links: Hirsh Glik at ARC, Classical version from Leonarda [mp3].

where the wild things are forts project

Ruin Gebirk: Wild Things’ Forts II

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  1. [...] Two versions of the great Warsaw Ghetto partisan song I wrote about here. [...]


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