“Drayfusl mayn kind” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

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.


3 Responses to ““Drayfusl mayn kind” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman”

  1. itzik gottesman Says:

    I should add that the recording was done by Leybl Kahn in NY, 1954, at the same field recording sessions that the other songs of LSW were done.

  2. I wrote a paper about Dos Lid Fun Leo Frenk (http://bit.ly/LFpaper) last year in Prof. Jonathan Sarna’s course studying three antisemitic cases in US history. The song is very little known (I believe I may have made the only recordings of it, available at http://bit.ly/DLFLF and http://bit.ly/DLFLF2). Interestingly, the chorus of the Leo Frank song goes: “Hob nit keyn moyre, Gott iz mit dir….”

    I should also add that Naftali Ejdelman, one of LSW’s great-grandsons, was in my apartment the night I found the song and decided to do further research about it.

  3. wow the music is great so song is also full of entertainment. and one more thing is, its also my most favorite song whom i could not forget ever

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