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Antoni Slonimski
"Elegy for the Little Jewish Towns"

Gone now are, gone are in Poland those little Jewish towns
Hrubieszow, Karczew, Brody, Falenica
You look for candlelight in the windows
And for song in the wooden synagogue in vain

Vanished the last leftovers, Jewish tatters
Blood was buried by sand, traces were cleared
And walls were lucidly whiten by glaucous lime
Just like after a plague or for big holiday

Here glitters one moon, cold, pale, alien
Already out of town, on the street, when night lights up
My Jewish relatives, poetic boys
Will not find two golden moons of Chagal

The moons are now above other planet
They flew away frightened by grim silence
Gone now are those little towns where the shoemaker was a poet,
The watchmaker a philosopher, the barber a troubadour

Gone now are those little towns where the wind joined
Biblical songs with Polish tunes and Slavic rue
Where old Jews in orchards in the shade cherry trees
Lamented for the holy walls of Jerusalem.

Gone now are those little towns, they went away by shadow
And the shadow will fall between our words
Until will come closer brotherly and will join again
The two nations fed by centuries of suffering

1947

translated from Polish

***

Paulina Braun
(murdered in Majdanek death camp on November 3, 1943)
"Matka" ("Mother")

Mere, Mother, Mutter po polsku znaczy: "Mama"
We wszystkich jezykach swiata litera "M" jest ta sama
I wszedzie na calym swiecie jest serce matki to samo
Zawsze sie zjawi, przyleci na okrzyk dziecka: "Mamo!"
Madame Janette, czy Mistress Cripps, czy Frau Schmidt,
ktorych synowie padli na froncie czuja to samo...
A jedna pania spotkal cios, cios wiekszy niz Janette, Cripps, Schmidt
Bo jej chlopczyka zabral los za slowo w metryce, ze... Zyd
Kazda z tych czterech kobiet spotkala tragedia wielka
Tak samo cierpi Zydowka, jak Niemka, Francuzka, Angielka
Gdyby te cztery panie nagle sie razem spotkaly
Moze by juz narody wiecej sie nie zabijaly
I gdyby w Lidze Narodow zasiadly matki dzieci
Moze by sie skonczyla okrutna rzez na tym swiecie
Mere, Mother, Mutter po polsku znaczy "Mama"
We wszystkich jezykach swiata litera "M" jest ta sama


(Mere, Mother, Mutter in Polish means: "Mama"
In all languages the letter "M" is the same...)


***

***



Yiddish songs:

Mordechaj Gebirtig (1887-1942) wrote "Es Brent" as a reaction to the bloody act against Polish Jews in the village of Przytyk.

"Es Brent!"

Es brent! Briderlekh, sbrent!
Oy undzer orem shtetl, nebokh, brent
Beyze vintn mit irgozn
Raysn brekhn un tzeblozn
Shtarker nokh di vilde flamen
Altz arum shoyn brnet!

Refrain
Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh
mit verlegter hent
un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh
Undzer shtetl brent

2.
Sbrent, briderlekh, sbrent!
Oy undzer orem shtetl nebekh brent
S'hobn shoyn di fartzungen
S'gantze shtetl aygengetzungen
Un di beyze vintn hudzhen
S'gantze shtetl brent!

Refrain

3.
S'brent, briderlekh, s'brent1
Oy skon kholile kumen der moment
Undzer shtot mit undz tzuzamen
Zol oyf ash avek in flamen
Blaybn zol, vi nokh a shlakht
Nor puste shvaze vent!

Refrain

4.
S'brent briderlekh s'brent!
Di hilf iz nor in aykh aleyn gevendt
Oyb dos shtetl iz aykh tayer
Lesht mit ayer eign blut
Bavayzt az ir dos kent

Shteyt nit brider ot azoy zikh
Mit farleygte hent
Shteyt nit brider lesht dos fayer
Undzer shtetl brent!

***

The Song sung in The Lodz Ghetto:

Mir shteyen bay di vent
Mit hertzer mit farklemte
Mit aropgelozte hent,
Vi bay a veynendiker verbe.
Es kukn oygn shtark
Un zinken ayn tif in der vatkayt
Un s'blaybst in zey der tzaar /Es fargeyt azey di tsayt/
Di eybikayt... Shver tzu zen di velt durkh enge moern
Di shayn hobn farshtelt /dos glik hot undz farshtelt/
Di geto - toern
Farmakhst di oygn nor, /makh di eygn tsu/
Dan zestu altz vi in a kholem
S'dershaynt vi oyfn der vor /es fargeyt azey di tsayt/
Di groyse velt /di traye velt/
Geto, dikh fargesn vel ikh ken mol nit
Ekho - iz dayn hartzik troerik lid /ekho - du mayn khartsike mayn
traye lid/
Kh'ze do dayne trern /ze dokh mayne trern/
Dayne umet, dayn payn /mayn yomer mayn payn/
K'her do dayn gebet: /her oys mayn gebet/
Vos vet zayn? Vos vet zayn?
In dayne geto - geslekh iz mir eng /in dayne geslekh iz mir azey eng/
Dos hartz azoy batribt /mayn harts azey farklemt/
un hotsch kh'farshtey,
S'tut vey -
Dokh iz mir azoy lib
Geto!
Dikh fargesn vel ikh keyn mol nit...

***

"Miasteczko Belz"
(Mayn Shtetele Belz, My Little Town of Belz)
Author: Jacob Jacobs, born in 1890
Composer: Alexander Olshanetsky, born in 1892
Version sung by Jerzy Polomski:


Pamietam temu 20 juz lat
gdym szedl w daleki nieznany swiat
me oczy byly tak pelne lez
gdym zegnal moj rodzinny Belz

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Malenka miescina gdzie moja rodzina i dom moj byl

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Ach ilez to razy nad rzeczka jam marzyl, o szczesciu snil

Wspomnienia jasnych lat minionych
choc tak mi drogie sa
Biedne serce me stesknione bolesnie rania i tna

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Malenka miescina gdzie moja jedyna kochala mnie

Dzis kiedym wrocil nie poznal mnie nikt
mej lubej nie ma i dom moj znikl

Przywital jeno mnie obcy zgielk
wiec ty zes to moj dawny Belz

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Malenka miescina gdzie moja rodzina i dom moj byl

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Ach ilez to razy nad rzeczka jam marzyl, o szczesciu snil

Wspomnienia jasnych lat minionych
choc tak mi drogie sa
Biedne serce me stesknione bolesnie rania i tna

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Malenka miescina gdzie moja jedyna kochala mnie

I znow stad ide jak szedlem juz raz
me serce w piersi jak ciezki glaz
nie znajde nigdy ojczystych stron
i tesknic bede az po zgon

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Malenka miescina gdzie moja rodzina i dom moj byl

Miasteczko Belz Kochany moj Belz
Ach ilez to razy nad rzeczka jam marzyl, o szczesciu snil

Wspomnienia jasnych lat minionych
choc tak mi drogie sa
Biedne serce me stesknione bolesnie rania i tna

Miasteczko Belz
Kochany moj Belz
Malenka miescina
gdzie moja jedyna kochala mnie...

***

Treblinka song:

In a klain Shtetl ganz morgen fartug
Es hert zech a Gejummer a Gewain in a Klug
Mentshen, halb nacket, fin di Betten arois
Jiden traibt men tsi di Ban arois!

Nisht bashraiben kenn di feder,
vi es draien zech di Raider!
Di Wagones zenen fill
Dort firt men di Yiden
oif Kiddusch haSchem - nuch Treblinka.

un indzere Brider fin yener zait Yam
Zai veln nisht wissen dem bitteren Tam
Zai kennen nisht wissen di bittere Noit
Az yedem Tug erwartet inds der Toit.

Di Milchume vet oich amul nemen an Ek
Di Velt vet arimnemen a groisamen Shrek
Ungefillt mit Waituk dus yidische Herz
Wer kenn farshtain indzeren Shmerts?

Taichen Treren veln rinnen,
as men vet amul gefinen
dem gresten Kaiver oif der Velt:

Dort ligen Millionen oif Kiddisch haSchem - In Treblinka.

translation:
Early morning in a small town half naked people are driven out of their beds. Jews. No one can describe how the wheels on the wagons turn on their way to Treblinka Our brothers from the other side don't know perhaps what's happening here. One day this war will also have an end. The world will be terribly shocked. You have to comprehend that there are a million graves in Treblinka.


 
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