Archive for Displaced Persons

“S’hot mit indz geleybt a khaver” Performed by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman

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S’hot mit indz geleybt a khaver / A Comrade Lived Among Us.
A Soviet Yiddish song praising Stalin. Sung by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman [BSG], recorded by Itzik Gottesman, Bronx. 1990s.

Image: A Jewish Kolhoz in Crimea

Commentary on the song is below after the lyrics and translation. 

BSG spoken: 

Dos hob ikh gehert tsum ershtn mul in Chernovitz in tsayt fun di rusn.
I heard this for the first time in the time of the Russians.  [The Soviet occupation of Chernovitz was June 1940 – July 1941]

S’hot mit indz geleybt a khaver.
S’iz geveyn a yat a, braver.

A comrade lived among us.
He was a brave lad.

Er fleygt kikn af di shtern.
A kolvirt vet bay undz vern.

He used to look up to the stars
We should build a kolvirt [farming collective].

Fun di velder ungekimen.
Hot er indz tsunoyf genimen.

From the fields we came.
He gathered us together

Lomir trinken a lekhayim
far dem leybn, far dem nayem.

[BSG indicates this verse can be sung at the end]

Let us make a toast
for the new life.

Far der oktober-revolutsye
in far Stalins konsitutsye

For the October Revolution
And for Stalin’s constitution

Far di kinder, [far] di zkeynem.
In far alemen in eynem.

For the children, for the old ones
And for all of us together.

Zol der ershter kos zikh khvalyen.
far indzer libn khaver _______ 

(BSG spits and says “yemakh shmoy” then continues) …Stalin.

Let the first drink swirl
for our dear comrade ______
[BSG spits and curses him “May his name be erased” then continues]

Far der Oktober-revolutsye
in far Stalins konsitutsye.

For the October Revolution
And for Stalin’s constitutution

.ביילע רעדט: דאָס האָב איך געהערט צום ערשטן מאָל אין טשערנעוויץ אין צײַט פֿון די רוסן

ס’האָט מיט אונדז געלעבט אַ חבֿר
ס’איז געווען אַ יאַט אַ בראַווער

ער פֿלעגט קוקן אויף די שטערן
אַ קאָלווירט זאָל בײַ אונדז ווערן

פֿון די וועלדער אָנגעקומען 
.האָט ער אונדז צונויפֿגענומען

לאָמיר טרינקען אַ לחיים
.פֿאַר דעם לעבן, פֿאַר דעם נײַעם

פֿאַר דער אָקטאָבער־רעוואָלוציע
.און פֿאַר סטאַלינס קאָנסטיטוציע

פֿאַר די קינדער, [פֿאַר] די זקנים
.און פֿאַר אַלעמען אין איינעם

זאָל דער ערשטער כּוס זיך כוואַליען
פֿאַר אונדזער ליבן חבֿר ____
[ביילע שפּײַט אויס און זאָגט ‘מח־שמו’]

פֿאַר דער אָקטאָבער־רעוואָלוציע
.און פֿאַר סטאַלינס קאָנסטיטוציע


BSG was reading from a notebook of Yiddish songs that she wrote down in Vienna in the Displaced Persons camp (1947- 1950). You can hear my voice helping her read some of the lines. 

It seems that this song started out as a Hasidic nign (כּיצד מרקדי   Ketzad merakdin); 

Here is an instrumental version of the Hasidic tune from the album “Chassidic Authentic Wedding Dances (Galton D-5935):

Then the melody was used for a Soviet Yiddish song praising Stalin in the 1930s and 1940s, probably made popular by the 1938 recording of the Soviet Yiddish singer Zinoviy Shulman (1904 – 1977) .

The text version praising Stalin as was printed in the collection Yidishe folks-lider, edited by Y. Dobrushn and A. Yuditsky, Moscow 1940, p. 425

Here is an image of that version:

       In the 1950s, after the death of Stalin (1953), the song made its way into the leftist 1956 American Yiddish songbook Lomir ale zingen / Let’s Sing (Jewish Music Alliance, NY)  but dropped any mention of Stalin, of his constitution and of the October revolution. It was called “S’hot mit undz gelebt a khaver”.

A rousing version of the song entited L’chayim Stalin and based on the Shulman recording was recently recorded by Dan Kahn and Psoy Korolenko, including the references to Stalin on their album The Third Unternationale (2020):

Special thanks this week to Benjamin Ginzburg, Arun Vishwanath, Psoy Korolenko and Dan Kahn. 

“Got fin Avrum” Performed by Matele (Margaret) Friedman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2022 by yiddishsong

Got fin Avrum/God of Abraham (a woman’s prayer).
Version as remembered by Matele (Margaret) Friedman.
Recorded by Mark David in Los Angeles, January 1, 2020. Transcribed by Eliezer Niborski.

Matele Friedman

Got fin Avrum

Got fin Avrum, fin Yitskhok, fin Yankev,
bahit dayn lib folk Yisroyl.
Zibn teyg in ale teyg zoln undz voyl bakimen,
Furs (?) tsu gevin, tse leybn, tse oysher, tse mazl, tse brukhe,
tse parnuse.

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
Protect your dear people of Israel.
For seven days and all the days may we only know good:
For prosperity, life, wealth, good fortune, blessing and livelihood.

tsu susen, tsu simkhe, tse yeshies toyves, tse psires toyves,
Tsim alem gitn un tsu gevint[?].
Tsu gevin, tsu gevin, tsu lange lebetug [=lebnstug?]
hot der liber her Got fil farmugt.[?]

Dear God,
for joy, celebration, salvation, good tidings,
For all things good and prosperity
for prosperity, for prosperity for all of our lives.
So does our dear God possess.

Nemt der liber her Got dem bekher in zayn rekhter hant
Un makht a brukhe ibern gantsn land.
Makht a brukhe gur zhe hoykh
Az kol-yisruls kinder zoln zhe zogn umeyn oykh.

So our dear God takes the goblet in his right hand
And makes a blessing over the whole land.
Says a blessing very loudly
So that all of Israel’s children will say “Amen” too.

Umeyn, veumeyn, s’zol shoyn vern,
zol men shoyn oysgelayzt vern,
Bar [gor?] gikh in dem yor.

Amen, and amen, may we soon hear.
How we will be redeemed.
Soon in this very year.

Shma kolayni – ikh shray tsu dir,
lebediker Got, nu, helf zhe mir,
Ales bayz zol fin indz avekgeyn.

Listen to our voice – I shout to you
The living God, help me,
so that all bad things should go away.

Elye hanuvi, Elye hanuvi
zol bayn undz in indzer
hoyz aybik zayn,
Tse deym lekhtikn hoyz.
Me zol hofn
az tir un toyer zoln shtayn aybik ofn.

Elijah the prophet, Elijah the prophet
May he be in our house.
To the brilliant house,
May we hope
That door and gate should always stay open.

Ofn, ofn zoln shtayn,
Arayn, arayn zoln mir gayn.
Arayn, arayn zoln mir tritn [treytn]
mir zoln hubn dem lekhtikn Got [= hofn tsum likhtikn Got?]
A gite vokh,
A gezinte vokh,
A mazldike vokh.
A frayerdike vokh. [fraydike?]
A gebentshte vokh.
Mir zoln hubn a git mazl oysgebeytn.

Open, open may it stay,
Enter, enter may we go.
Enter, enter may we step.
May we have the brilliant God.
A good week
A healthy week
A happy week
A blessed week
May our prayers for a good fortune be accepted.

גאָט פֿון אַבֿרהם

נוסח פֿון מאַטעלע פֿרידמאַן
רעקאָרדירט פֿון מאיר דוד, לאָס־אַנדזשעלעס
טראַנסקריבירט פֿון אליעזר ניבאָרסקי

,גאָט פֿון אַבֿרהם, פֿון יצחק, פֿון יעקבֿ
.באַהיט דײַן ליב פֿאָלק ישׂראל
.זיבן טעג און אַלע טעג זאָלן אונדז ווויל באַקומען
.פֿורס [?] צו געווין, צו לעבן, צו עושר, צו מזל, צו ברכה, צו פּרנסה

,צו שׂשׂון, צו שׂימחה, צו ישועות־טובֿות, צו בשׂורות־טובֿות
.צום אַלעם גוטן און צו געווינט
צו געווין, צו געווין, צו לאַנגע לעבעטאָג  [= לעבנסטאָג?]
.האָט דער ליבער הער גאָט פֿיל פֿאַרמאָגט

נעמט דער ליבער הער גאָט דעם בעכער אין זײַן רעכטער האַנט
.און מאַכט אַ ברכה איבערן גאַנצן לאַנד
מאַכט אַ ברכה גאָר זשע הויך
.אַז כּל־ישׂראלס קינדער זאָלן זשע זאָגן אָמן אויך

,ס׳זאָל שוין ווערן, זאָל מען שוין אויסגעלייזט ווערן
,באַר [גאָר?] גיך אין דעם יאָר

,שמע קולנו — איך שרײַ צו דיר
,לעבעדיקער גאָט, נו העלף זשע מיר
,אַלעס בייז זאָל פֿון אונדז אַוועקגיין

,אליה הנבֿיא
,אליה הנבֿיא זאָל בײַן אונדז אין אונדזער הויז אייביק זײַן
.צו דעם ליכטיקן הויז
מע זאָל האָפֿן
,אַז טיר און טויער זאָלן שטיין אייביק אָפֿן

,אָפֿן, אָפֿן [זאָלן] זיי שטיין
,אַרײַן, אַרײַן זאָלן מיר גיין
,אַרײַן, אַרײַן זאָלן מיר טרעטן
מיר זאָלן האָבן דעם ליכטיקן גאָט.    [= האָפֿן צום ליכטיקן גאָט ?]
,אַ גוטע וואָך
,אַ געזונטע וואָך
,אַ מזלדיקע וואָך
,אַ פֿריידיקע וואָך
,אַ געבענטשטע וואָך
.מיר זאָלן האָבן אַ גוט מזל אויסגעבעטן

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

This is the second “Got fun/fin Avrom/Avrum”, a woman’s prayer said at the end of the Sabbath, that we have posted. It is also the second post on this blog of the singer Matele Friedman (born in 1927, in Kimyat, Czechoslovakia, now Velikiye Komyaty, Ukraine), who died in Los Angeles, February 2022. You can hear more of her songs in Yiddish at the website of Mark David’s radio program The Yiddish Voice/Dos Yidishe Kol.  

Mark David who recorded Matele Friedman in LA wrote the following after her passing:

She was, like my aunt Hedy and my mom, a survivor of Auschwitz from the Carpathians, deported in 1944 under the Hungarians.  But she lived a very different life compared to my mother after the war. She did not spend a few years in a DP camp in Germany or elsewhere in Western Europe after the war, but instead went back to the home area. She was a lot more frum, and practiced, surprisingly, orthodox Judaism under the Soviets when “our” area became part of Ukrainian SSR (Soviet Union).  (She had gone back after the war, gotten married, and started her family there.) She moved to the US in the 1970’s with her two young daughters, already teen-agers or a maybe a bit older.

In Noyekh Prilutski’s first collection of Yiddish folksongs Yidishe folkslider, 1912, which included religious and holiday songs, he printed 23 versions of this prayer. Here is the link to the first of the variations, song number 8.

Because the “Got fun Avrum” prayer was transmitted orally, the daughters often learned the prayer from their mothers as just sounds, not thinking what the words were or meant to be. As a result, a few words in this version cannot be understood and there are more question marks in the transcription in this post than we would ordinarily like. Eliezer Niborski did a wonderful job of transcribing Matele’s “Got fin Avrum” as best as possible. Corrections or improvements are welcome from those with sharper hearing. There are at least two more recordings of “Got fun Avrom” that we hope to post in the future. The “Got fun Avrom” prayer is the most widespread and among the oldest examples still extant of Yiddish woman’s folk poetry. A “standard” version can be found in the Art Scroll siddur and a scan is attached.

Thanks to Mark David, Eliezer Niborski, Simon Neuberg, Claudia Rosenzweig and David Braun.

Below: Art Scroll version of “Got fun Avrom”.