“Lid fun der frantzeyzisher revolutsye” Performed by Nitsa Rantz

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

This song by Nitsa Rantz was recorded at the same concert as Rantz’s song Mayn shifl that we had earlier posted in in our blog, at the club Tonic on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 2009. Rantz is accompanied by Jeff Warschauer on guitar.

Nitsa Rantz in Paris, Late 1940s

In their column “Lider demonen zikh lider” [Readers remember songs] in the Yiddish Forward newspaper, Feb. 7th 1992, page 15. Chana and Joseph Mlotek printed the words of Nitsa Rantz’s version of this song.

The columnists note that Rantz called the song “Viglid fun der frantzeyzisher revolutsye” [Lullaby of the French Revolution], and that they had found a printed version in a Workmen’s Circle songbook, 1934.

A version was sung during the Holocaust in the Vilna ghetto and was printed in Shmerke Katcherginski’s collection “Lider fun getos un lagern”, 1948. The singer Rokhl Relis called it “Dos lid fun umbakantn partisan”. Instead of the guillotine, the father is killed in a gas chamber.

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman sings a similar version to Rantz’s, and there is enough difference in the text to make it worthwhile to post it on the Yiddish Song of the blog at some point. A beautiful version is found in the Stonehill collection, sung by an as yet unidentified man, (Reel 9).

Shlof shoyn kind mayns vider ruik ayn.
Shtil es flit shoyn di levone-shayn.
Fun der vaytns finklen shtern,
Kuk nisht kind af mayne trern.
Shlof shoyn kind mayns vider ruik ayn.

Sleep my child once more quietly.
Quietly the moonlight flies .
From the distance stars are twinkling.
Child do not look at my tears.
Sleep my child once more quietly.

Es vet der tate mer nisht kumen.
Im hot men fun undz genumen.
Iber di gasn im geshlept,
af dem eshafod gekept.
Blaybn mir dokh eynzam kind aleyn.

Your father will no longer come.
They took him away from us.
They dragged him through the streets,
on the guillotine they cut his head.
So we remain lonely, my child.

Reder geyen in fabrikn,
menstshn geyen underdrikn.
Dort ahin iz er gegangen,
vu es raysn zikh di klangen.
Vu di shteyner zenen royt baflekt.

Wheels turn in the factory,
the people go oppressed.
There is where he went,
where the noises wildly sound,
where the stones are stained red.

Unter der fon hoykh gehoybn,
hot er mit a tifn gloybn,
az er muz bafrayen shklafen,
firn zey tsu a naym hafn,
Tsu a groyser, sheyner, nayer velt.

Under the flag raised high,
with a firm belief
that he must free the slaves,
take them to a new harbor,
to a great, beautiful new world.

9 Responses to ““Lid fun der frantzeyzisher revolutsye” Performed by Nitsa Rantz”

  1. Jan Waas, Griend 147, 1112LB Diemen, The Netherlands Says:

    Dear Mr. Gottesman, Tayere Itzik,

    When will there be a CD availanble with all the songs you have featured in the Yiddish song of the Week? If there is one, please, send m,e a review copy for the Dutch Jewish Weekly, the N.I.W., so I can mention the site and the CD to the Dutch Jewry.
    There is a large interest in Holland for Jewish songs, be it Israeli, Yiddish or Ladino, among both Jews and non-Jews.

    All best wishes un blayb gezint!

    Jan Waas

    • itzik gottesman Says:

      At the moment we have set up the Yiddish Song of the Week site so the songs are not downloadable, since they come from various sources. That may change in the future. Don’t you get the feeling in Holland, as we do here in the US, that CDs are becoming extinct anyway? My point being you should mention the site in a review in any case since anyone can listen and learn this way without buying anything.

  2. Leo Summergrad Says:

    This song appears on a CD “Yiddishe Fargesene Lider”, featuring Karsten Troyke, produced in Germany. On the recording it is entitled “Shlof Shoyn”, with the comment, “Probably a song from World War I”

    • itzik gottesman Says:

      Thank you Leo. That CD has not been added yet to database of the Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Sound Archive which is my main source for such information. At some point I will post the two other versions I have since the texts are “better”. But Nitsa”s singing style is very interesting.

  3. Shirley Ranz Says:

    I’m Nitzah’s daughter, Shirley Ranz. My Mom just turned 90, but unfortunately has Alzheimer’s. I’m currently working on a program on Jewish music for my congregation, The City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, and would very much like to play these songs that my mother sang at that concert. Is there any way you could either email them to me or burn them to a CD so I could play them at the program?

  4. itzik gottesman Says:

    An early printed version of this song appears in the journal “Yidisher folklor”, number 1, 1954 page 7. Collected by Wolf Younin and sung by Rokhl Reles. Includes music and words.

  5. Thank you for this song.
    I’m interested in general in lullabies composed during the Holocaust, and time of war, exile etc.

  6. Itzik Gottesman Says:

    The correct date for this recording is 2001, not 2009.

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