Archive for October, 2011

“Drayfusl mayn kind” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

The song Drayfusl mayn kind is a rare Yiddish song about the „Dreyfus Affair‟: the trial and tribulations of Captain Alfred Dreyfus in France, convicted of treason in 1894.


Captain Alfred Dreyfus

I remember, from a taped interview, that the singer Lifshe Schaechter-Widman (LSW) learned this song from a street singer/organ grinder in her home town of Zvinyetchke, Bukovina. Perhaps this explains why she sings the song at a faster pace than she usually does with the other songs in her repertory.

The song is a little gem, for though the song comments on a current event of the times, it is not a broadside by any means, but a lullaby, transforming Captain Dreyfus into a child in the crib. He comes to represent all vulnerable Jewish children, and by extension the entire suffering Jewish people.

In mayne oyern tit mir klingen,
Hay-da lu lu lu
Vus mayn mame fleyg mir zingen
bay mayn vigele.

In my ears it still rings,
Ay- li lu lu lu
What my mother used to sing me,
At my crib.

Hay-li- la-lu la,
Di gantse velt zingt‘ekh dos lidele.
Hob kayn moyre Dreyfusl mayn kind,
Farges nisht az di bist a yidele.

Hay¨ de la lu¨ lu
The whole world is singing this song.
Fear not my dear Dreyfus,
Don‘t forget that you are a Jew.

Vus in Frankraykh hot (itst?) pasirt
Veyst a yeder gants git.
Men hot farurteylt kapitan Drayfus
Nor derfar vayl er iz a yid.

What happened in France
Everyone knows too well.
Captain Dreyfus was convicted,
Only because he is a Jew.

Hay-li-la-li-la
Di gantse velt zingt‘ekh dos lidele.
Hob keyn moyre Drayfusl mayn kind,
Farges nisht az du bist a yidele.

Hay-li-la-lu-la
The whole world is singing this song.
Fear not Dreyfus my child,
Don‘t forget that you are a Jew.


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