Music Mondays: Yiddish tango

Continuing last week’s Yiddish theme

Zully Goldfarb: “Papirosen


This is a song about a boy selling cigarettes on the street, hoping he will not die of cold like his sister did.

Divina Gloria: “A Shoa Daine”


Argentine vocalist Divina Gloria, dancing by Schwee Miguel and Tango Ganas, courtesy of Yiddishkayt LA. The song, as sung by Shifra Lerer, appears on the album Yiddish Tango, as do some of the other songs I’m posting today.

Metropolitan Klezmer: “Yiddish celluloid closet”


This video interweaves Metropolitan Klezmer with Edgar Ullmer’s New York Yiddish film “An American Matchmaker”, and brings out the queer subtexts.

Jose Derasner: “La Cumparsita”


A Yiddish version of “La Cumparsita“, the classic tango by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, as performed by Jose Derasner.

Jacob Sandler: “Tsvey Shvartsen Oygen”

Jewish Tango Cabaret


This is a medley including some of the previous songs and others, setting them in chronological context from Buenos Aires to the Warsaw Ghetto to Auschwitz and beyond.

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Bella Ciao, etc

Post by Bob From Brockley

Radical Archives continues its excavation of the influence of Nietzsche on the anarchist scene with a post on Rudolf Rocker, which led me to the Russian anarchist blogger Laplandian.

Via Laplandian, two YouTubes, the first on the Yiddish melody which forms the basis of the anti-fascist partisan anthem “Bella Ciao”. The song is “Koilen” or “Dus Zekele Koilen” (” A small bag of coal”) by non-Jewish Gypsy musician Mishka Ziganoff, born in Odessa in the late 19th century, who recorded this record in 1919 and moved to the US in 1921. You can listen to more of his music here.

Here is Chumbawamba’s version of “Bella Ciao”, for comparison.

And here, again from Laplandian, “Bella ciao, Iran”:

From the archive of struggle, no.40: Yale Yiddish special

Following on from my YIVO special, here are some more Yiddish archival treasures. Below the fold, the usual round up of newly available radical material.

Our focus today is the Yale Judaica collection. Below are some exhibitions. Clicking on the images enables you to see them in context.

And You Shall Tell Your Children, Passover Haggadah exhibition:

Kibbutz Haggadah

Yiddish Sheet Music:

The Striker

Illustrated Yiddish Books:

These illustrated books date from the post-revolutionary period, the golden age of Soviet Yiddish, when Russian plebian culture and Jewish folk culture, avante-garde graphics and radical politics, all worked together powerfully. -P.

Avant-garde Maquettes (1929):
Avant-garde maquettes for Jewish-Communist wall posters in Yiddish (1929): Leaf One

Ink and watercolor manuscript, possibly a mock up for publication, consisting of two leaves (28 x 19 cm.) mounted side-by-side in a contemporary mat. This poster contains the phrase “Proleṭarier fun ale lender, fareyniḳṭ aykh!” [Proletariat of all lands, unite!] and large lettering with the words “Arbeṭ un ḳulṭur” [Labor and culture] across an illustration of a hammer and sickle topped by a red star.

Avant-garde maquettes for Jewish-Communist wall posters in Yiddish (1929): Leaf TwoThis poster has the heading “Ḳegn Goṭ un shṿindl” [Against God and swindle] above a paragraph urging Jews not to be duped into the backward religious practice of attending high holiday services. It is signed אמכא–Amkha, a deliberately misspelled version of the Hebrew word עמך — Amkha [Your People].

Below the fold, the archive of struggle no. 40.

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From the archive of struggle no.38: YIVO special feature

Today’s feature archive is YIVO. Founded in 1925 in Vilna as the Yiddish Scientific Institute, YIVO was the national research institute and archive of Yiddishland. Salvaged from the ruins of European Jewry in 1940, YIVO was re-founded in New York, where it now as an excellent archival collection, and some cool digital collections.

Here are some of the extraordinary materials you will find. Click on the objects to see them in their contexts.

When these streets heard Yiddish:


Bek, a Yiddish translation of The Call of the Wild by Jack London, published by the Kultur Lige (Jewish Workers Cultural Association) in Kiev, 1925.

Union of Jewish Writers and Journalists of Warsaw membership card of Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904–1991)

An appeal to vote for the Bund in the municipal elections (Vilna, date unknown)

May Day demonstration jointly organized by the Jewish Socialist Bund and Poalei-Zion Left (Warsaw, 1936).

Poster for the socialist organization Zionist Tseirei Zion: “The Land of Israel for the People of Israel!” (Vilna, date unknown).

“Join the Tsukunft” recruitment poster for the Bundist youth organization (Warsaw, 1936).
Yiddish music:
The Bundist song, Di Shvue sound (“The Oath”)… penned in 1902 by S. An-ski (Shlomo Zanvil Rapoport), the Russian Jewish writer. This Yiddish song, whose melody source also is unknown, exhorts Jews to unite, and to commit themselves body and soul to the defeat of the Russian Tsar and of capitalism… [The partisan song Zog nit keyn mol ] sound

In Love and In Struggle: The Musical Legacy Of The Labor Bund:

Text: David Edelshtat (1866-1892)
Sung by Adrienne Cooper

Edelshtadt’s Arbeter-froyen addresses women in its protest of the hardships of factory work. The song sounds a call to oppressed women workers to join the labor movement in its fight for justice and equality. Published in the New York newspaper Freie Arbeiter Stimme (Free Voice of Labor) in 1891, it was also sung by striking workers in Russia and Poland.

Text: Szmerke Kaczerginski (1908-1954)
Music: Basya Rubin (n.d.)~
h Children’s Chorus, The New Yiddish Chorale, and the Workmen’s Circle Chorus

Vilna poet and partisan Szmerke Kaczerginski wrote this stirring march song for the youth movement in the Vilna ghetto. Many of the young people who took part in the ghetto’s active resistance movement later also became combatants in the partisan units that fought the Nazis in the forests.

Here and Now: The Vision of the Jewish Labor Bund in Interwar Poland:

Members of the Tsukunft Self-Defense Group carry the Socialist flag on May Day, Warsaw. 1930s.

Kalman Reisen, socialist and Yiddishist:

Chicago 1912 – Outdoor portrait of the Jewish Socialist Self-Education Club — Includes Abraham Reisen
The Power of Persuasion: Jewish Posters from Prewar Poland:
“Jewish Woman‚ Vote for the Women’s Slate, Slate Number 3.”

***

From the archive of struggle no.38:

Tendance Coatesy:

* Chris Harman: extracts from “Party and Class” (1969), “The  Prophet and the Proletariat” (1994), “Spontaneity, Strategy, Politics” (2004) – makes the interesting case that Harman’s political legacy is the libertarian streak in the IS/SWP tradition, the element that is worth valuing and preserving. Chris Harman died last week. RIP.

World Socialist Website:

* Bund Sozialistischer Arbeiter: “Overthrow the Stalinist bureaucracy! Build workers’ councils in East Germany!”, October 18, 1989 (Parts I, II, III).

International Communist League:

*Socialist Workers League: “War Is Here—What Now?” (September 1939)

The rest are via Entdinglichung, with some annotation.

Archive.org:

* Leon Trotsky: The Bolsheviki and world peace (1918). [For an authoritative text version of this, as The War and the International, go to MIA. The introduction is by Lincoln Steffens, a muckracking journalist associated with the Progressive Party who became a Communist fellow traveller after a visit to the Soviet Union in 1919 with the Swede Karl Kilbom. I believe he later embraced Mussolini. This book, published by a mainstream American publisher, shows the extent to which Trotsky was considered a great hero of the revolution world-wide; he was the object of cult-like reverence, a figure of great romance in the West.]

* Bertram Wolfe: Marx and America (1934). [Wolfe was a founder-member of the CPUSA and active in the Comintern. He was close to the majority faction of the CPUSA around CE Ruthenberg and Jay Lovestone, who fought against the Foster-Cannon faction, a leftist minority. By 1934, however, he was an oppositionist, part of Lovestone’s Independent Communist Labor League in America and the Communist Party Opposition internationally. Wolfe was the Lovestonite’s chief theorist, and argued for “American exceptionalism”. In this erudite pamphlet, he makes the argument by drawing on Marx’s scattered writings about the US, showing that America posed a special case for the communist movement.]

* International Communist Opposition (ICO): International Class Struggle, Spring 1937. [The ICO, often known as the “Right” Opposition, initially had a pretty robust organisation. Zinoviev, a “Rightist”, had been the chair of the Comintern from its founding until 1926, but Nikolai Bukharin, the chair until the end of the Second Period in 1928, was the real leader after Lenin’s death. Bukharin was the intellectual hero of most of the ICO leadership, and it was Bukharin’s fall from grace under Stalin that prompted the break of the ICO from the mainstream. ICO leaders were therefore already well networked internationally, and able to hit the ground running organisationally, in contrast to the much slower moving “Left” Opposition. However, the ICO tended to lack a mass base in the labour movement, although there were some exceptions to this (the Lovestone-Wolfe group had a strong base in the Yiddish sections of the ILGWU; Steffens’ erstwhile friend Kilbom’s Communist Party of Sweden was pretty big; in Spain the BOC (one of the POUM’s predecessors, was important). This, along with the right-ward drift of many of their key thinkers, was probably the main reason they atrophied by WWII.

This is the ICO’s American journal, vol. 1, no.3, and it includes a fraternally critical letter to the POUM from the bureau of the ICO; a piece on the CIO by George F Miles, the Lovestonites’ labour expert; “D. Swift” on proletarian novels, particularly contemptuous of James T Farrell; an account of the German CPO’s underground existence under Hitler; a critical account of Leon Blum’s Popular Front in France; and a cruel attack on Jean Juares as a prototype of the Popular Front policy. No. 1 and No. 2 are also on-line at archive.org, but I haven’t looked at them yet.]

* Leon Trotsky on labor party: stenographic report of discussion held in 1938 with leaders of the Socialist Workers Party (1968). [A long introduction by Fred Meuhler and Tim Wohlforth draws on Engels and Lenin to argue for an American Labor Party. Then a transcript of Trotsky’s conversation in Mexico with James Cannon, Max Shachtman and Vincent Dunne. By 1938, the Right Opposition were in decline globally, and the Left Opposition was on the rise. However, it is interesting that the American SWP, which was led precisely by James Cannon, Lovestone and Wolfe’s rival in the early CPUSA, had come around to a version of the “American exceptionalism” thesis, and were now calling for an American Labor Party.]

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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!

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Everything in the world archived

I have only recently discovered the infinite joy of the Internet Archive, archive.org. Here are a few examples:

Audio:

George Sossenko is an 88-year old veteran of the Spanish Civil War. At the age of 16, he left his home in France to fight against Franco’s fascists with the anarchists of the Durruti column. A dedicated, life-long anarchist, George is still an active organizer as he travels and gives lectures on this important period in revolutionary history. Here, looking back from 2008, he talks about the lessons of the war.

A lovely “chill out” version of the Spanish anarchist classic “A las barricadashere. No information on singer or trumpeter.

Here, the dull, ponderous and vastly over-rated Stalinist Paul Robeson sings the classic “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” to a Scottish miners’ benefit after the war.

Vastly superior is this, Harry McClintock (aka Haywire Mac, of “Big Rock Candy Mountain” fame) singing his Wobbly anthem “Hallelujah! I’m A Bum” in 1926.

Video:

The Archive of the Anonymous Narrated Image curates here some ordinary people’s family photos from the Spanish Civil War.

Books:

Here, via the National Yiddish Book Center is a reproduction of Rudolf Rocker’s memoirs in Yiddish, published in Argentina in the 1970s.

Here are the proceedings of the 1966 Socialist Party USA convention. Delegates included Norman Thomas, Michael Harrington, David McReynolds, Joshua Murachivik, Max Shachtman and Erich Fromm.

[From the archive of struggle, no.15]

Rudolf Rocker

From Bob From Brockley:

This month is the 50th anniversary of the death of the great Rudolf Rocker, one of my heroes. The Jewish East End Celebration Society (JEECS) is holding an event at Toynbee Hall [in London] on Sunday to mark this. There is a walk in the morning (details below) and a celebration in the afternoon.

Rocker was a non-Jewish German anarchist bookbinder who lived for a couple of decades in the East End of London as the “rabbi” of the Yiddish anarchist and labour movement there. He later lived in Germany, where he was a key figure in the syndicalist movement, and then in upstate New York, where he was associated with the Freie Arbeiter Stimme group and the libertarian education movement. His great works include The Tragedy of Spain, The Truth About Spain, Anarchism or Sovietism and his magumn opus Nationalism and Culture. [MORE]

Published in: on September 16, 2008 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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