Archive for Itzik Gottesman

“Seyder nakht (Di fentster, zey lakhtn)” Performed by Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath

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Seyder nakht (Di fentster, zey lakhtn) / Seder Night (The Windows Illuminate)
A Passover song from the American Folkshuls. Words: Naftoli Gross. Music: Mikhl Gelbart. Sung and recorded April 12,  2022 by Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, Teaneck New Jersey

Naftoli Gross (1896-1956)

Di fentster zey lakhtn mit yontif in blendn.
Di tishn – mit gildene koyses in kares,
koyses in kares.
Di shtiber – mit kinder in vinder-legendn.
Zey zingen – fin gur ale vinklen in shpares.
vinklen in shpares

The windows illuminate with festival and dazzle.
The tables – with golden goblets and seder plates
goblets and seder plates
The homes – with children and wonder legends,
they sing from every corner and crevice,
corner and crevice.

Di tirn fin shtiber, zey shteyen breyt ofn.
Ver s’darf zol hant kimen tsi indz un zol esn,
kimen in zol esn.
Di kindershe oygn mit yontif in hofn.
Eliyohu vet kimen in keynem fargesn,
keynem fargesn.

The doors of homes are wide open.
Whoever needs to, should come to us and eat,
come and eat.
The childlike eyes with holiday and hope,
Elijah should come and forget no one,
Forget no one.

COMMENTARY by Itzik Gottesman

This song entitled “Seyder nakht”, with words by Naftoli Gross (1896-1956) and music by Mikhl Gelbart (1889 – 1962) was published in 1948. It was sung at the beginning of the Workman’s Circle and Sholem Aleichem folkshuls’ seders in the 1960s and probably earlier. Since I could find no recording of the song, I asked Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath, who remembered it from Sholem Aleichem Shul #21 in the Bronx to record it.

Gitl Schaechter-Viswanath is a Yiddish poet and the chair of the League for Yiddish in New York City. Below the song as published in the Sholem Aleichem folkshul Passover Haggadah, circa 1968:

“Za górami, za lasami/Inter di berglekh” Performed by Sara Rosen

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2022 by yiddishsong

Za górami, za lasami / Inter di berglekh
A Macaronic Polish Yiddish dance song sung by Sara Rosen. Recorded by Itzik Gottesman, 1989. NYC photo.

Dancing a Polka
Spelled in PolishEnglish translation
Za górami, za lasami, Tańcowała Małgorzatka z Góralami. Tańcowała Małgorzatka z Góralami.
Przyszedł ojciec, przyszła matka, Chodź do domu, chodź do domu, Małgorzatka! Chodź do domu, chodź do domu, Małgorzatka!
Ja nie pójdę. Idźcie sami! Ja tu będę tańcowała z Góralami. Ja tu będę tańcowała z Góralami.
I nie poszła.  I została.Tańcowała z Góralami. Aż do rana. Tańcowała z Góralami Aż do rana.
Over, beyond mountains and forests, Margaret danced with the Highlanders (click here info on Polish Highlanders).
Father came, and mother came. Come home, Margaret!
I won’t go. Go by yourselves! I’ll dance here with the Highlanders.
And she didn’t go. Instead she stayed. She danced until dawn with the Highlanders.

Yiddish words:
(H)Inter di berglekh, (H) inter di felde
hot getantsn Malke-Zlata mit di zelners.

[talks]

Behind the hills, behind the fields,
danced Malke-Zlata with the soldiers

Gekimen di mame, gekimen der tate
“Kim ahaym, kim ahaym Malke-Zlate”

Her mother came, her father came,
“Come home, come home, Malke-Zlate”

“Ikh vil nisht gayn, gayts aleyn.
Ikh vil du tantsn, ikh vil du hotsken mit Dragayn.”

“I don’t want to go, go by yourselves.
I want to dance, i want to with the Dragoons.”

Iz zi nisht geganen, iz es geblibn. 
Z’hot getantsn, z’hot gehotsket biz a zeyer zibn. 

So she didn’t go and it stayed the same.
She danced and shook till seven o’clock. 

הינטער די בערגלעך, הינטער די פֿעלדער
.האָט געטאַנצן מלכּה־זלאַטע מיט די זעלנערס
,געקומען די מאַמע, געקומען דער טאַטע
„.קום אַהיים, קום אַהיים מלכּה־זלאַטע”
„איך וויל נישט גיין, גייט אַליין”
“.איך וויל דאָ טאַנצן, איך וויל דאָ האָצקען מיט דראַגײַן”
.איז זי נישט געגאַנגען, איז עס געבליבן
.ז’האָט געטאַנצן, ז’האָט געהאָצקעט ביז אַ זייגער זיבן

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

The old Polish folksong “Małgorzatka” also known as ” Za górami” is well known. Less known is this macaronic version with Polish and Yiddish. Sara Rosen, born in Krakow, sings it in a polka rhythm. According to Polish music websites, the song in Polish has roots going back to the 16th century and might have started out as a beggar’s song. A Polish website with many versions in Polish can be found here, and additional information on the song is at this Polish website.

Gila Flam, director of the Music Department of the Jewish National and University Library, recorded a Lodz ghetto adaptation written in Polish by Miriam Harel. She discusses the song in her work Singing for Survival: Songs of the Lodz Ghetto 1940-1945, pages 121-22. Here is the recording:

Thanks to: Polish singer and researcher Mariza Nawrocka for information and the links to the Polish song; to Gila Flam for her recording; to Paula Teitelbaum who printed the words in Polish and the translation from the Polish. Also thanks to Karolina Koprowska. 

“Ikh bin a blekher” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

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Ikh bin a blekher / I am a Roofer (Tinsmith)
A children’s song sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, recorded by Leybl Kahn NY 1954

ikh bin a blekher                                        I am a roofer (tinsmith)
Ekh krikh af ale dekher                              I crawl on all the roofs.
A kestl blekh arifgetrugn,                          I carried up a box of tin.
ungeklopt in ungeshlugn.                Banged and hammered in.     
Ekh bin oysgefurn a velt.                 I’ve traveled around the world.
ikh hob nisht keyn groshn gelt.               I don’t have one penny.  

Spoken (by her son Mordkhe Schaechter):
S’iz a kinderlidl.
It’s a children’s song.

.איך בין אַ בלעכער
.איך קריך אויף אַלע דעכער
,אַ קעסטל בלעך אַרויפֿגעטראָגן
.אָנגעקלאַפּט און אָנגעשלאָגן
.איך בין אויסגעפֿאָרן אַ וועלט
.איך האָב נישט קיין גראָשן געלט
(גערעדט פֿון מרדכי שעכטער)  „ס’איז אַ קינדערליד”

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

In the Yiddish dictionaries “blekher” is translated as “tinsmith”, but the singer Lifshe Schaechter-Widman (LSW) uses the word, and not just in this song, to also mean “roofer”, fixing roofs made of tin. Children’s songs that mock the poverty of the tradesman abound in Yiddish and LSW also sang a song about a cobbler with no shoes for himself (“Ikh bin a shisterl”).

¨Dremlender yingele¨ Performed by Ita Taub

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Dremlender yingele / Dozing Boy
Sung by Ita Taub. Recorded by Itzik Gottesman, Circle Lodge, Hopewell Junction, NY, 1987.
Words by H. Leivick, music by Mikhl Gelbart. 

Dremlinder yingele, yingele mayn,
kukt nit tsu mir in di oygn arayn.
Tifer in tifer in shlof grob zikh ayn.
Dremlinder yingele, yingele mayn,
Dremlinder yingele, yingele mayn.

Dozing boy, my boy,
Don’t look me in the eyes.
Deeper and deeper fall into your sleep,
Dozing boy, my boy.
Dozing boy, my boy.

Ikh bin geshtorbn un zey durkhn toyt
vi du, gor mayn ershter, der letster fargeyt.
Iz dir bashert gur der letster tsu zayn?
Dremlinder yingele, yingele mayn,
Dremlinder yingele, yingele mayn.

I died and see through death
how you, though my first, is the last to go down.
Are you really fated to be the last?
[ in original poem: “Have you been sentenced (farmishpet) to be the last”]
Dozing boy, my boy.
Dozing boy, my boy.

COMMENTARY BY ITZIK GOTTESMAN

Ita Taub sings the first four verses of a seven verse poem written by the poet H. Leivick (Leyvik Halpern, 1888 – 1962). The complete poem “Dremlender yingele“ can be found in Leivick’s third volume of collected poetry “In Keynems land” (Warsaw, 1923). A scan of the poem is attached below.

I am not aware of any recording of Taub’s version with this melody of the poem. A version composed by the cantor Pinchos Jassinowsky was recorded by Sidor Belarsky on a 78rpm record. Sima Miller and Leon Lishner also recorded the song with Jassinowsky’s melody.

Chana and Yosl Mlotek in their folksong column in the Forverts newspaper “Leyner dermonen zikh lider”, June 3, 1987, print the words to the song and write that Mikhl Gelbart was the composer, not mentioning Jassinowsky. So it is fair to assume that Taub’s melody is the one to which they are referring, though I have yet to find it in Gelbart’s numerous publications.

You can hear the poet H. Leivick reciting the poem here:

Special thanks this week to Lorin Sklamberg and the YIVO Sound Archives and to Cantor Sharon Bernstein.

דרעמלנדער ייִנגעלע

ווערטער: ה. לייוויק.   מוזיק: מיכל געלבאַרט
געזונגען פֿון איטע טאַוב

.דרעמלנדער ייִנגעלע, ייִנגעלע מײַן
.קוק ניט צו מיר אין די אויגן אַרײַן
.טיפֿער און טיפֿער אין שלאָף גראָב זיך אײַן
.דרעמלנדער ייִנגעלע, ייִנגעלע מײַן
.דרעמלנדער ייִנגעלע, ייִנגעלע מײַן

איך בין געשטאָרבן און זע דורכן טויט
.ווי דו, גאָר מײַן ערשטער, דער לעצטער פֿאַרגייט
?איז דיר באַשערט גאָר דער לעצטער צו זײַן
.דרעמלנדער ייִנגעלע, ייִנגעלע מײַן
.דרעמלנדער ייִנגעלע, ייִנגעלע מײַן

From H. Leivick’s “In Keynems land” (Warsaw, 1923):

“Dus kind fun keynem nisht” Performed by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2022 by yiddishsong

Dus kind fun keynem nisht / No One’s Child
A Holocaust adaptation of a Romanian song. Sung by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman [BSG]. Recorded by Itzik Gottesman, Bronx 1991.

Anny (Hubner) Andermann poses with a group of orphans whom she helped to have repatriated from Transnistria.
Archive of the United States Holocaust Memorial Musuem

BSG speaks: “Dus iz geven a Rumeynish lid in du zey ikh, az mir hobn gehat a yidishe versye.”
Vi heyst es af Rumeynish?
This was a Romanian song and here [in the notebook] I see that there was a Yiddish version. 

IG: How is it called in Romanian?
BSG sings in Romanian:

Copil sărac, al cui ești tu,
Al cui ești tu pe-acest pământ?
Tu ești copilul nimănui,
Al nimănui pe-acest pământ.

Poor child, whose are you,
Whose are you on this earth?
You are no one’s child,
No one’s on this earth.

BSG speaks: S’iz a lid veygn an urem kind Vus hot…
S’a yusem vus hot keynem nisht of der erd.

Spoken: It’s a song about a poor child, who has…
It’s an orphan who has no one in this world.

BSG sings:

Di urem kind mit shvartse hur.
Mit shvartse oygn zug mir gur.
Far vus dertseylsti yeydn yid,
Az di bist dus kind fun keynem nisht?

You poor child with blck hair
With black eyes, tell me:
Why do you tell every Jew/every one
That you are no one’s child?

“A sakh trern hob ikh fargosn,
Mayn mamenyu hot men geshosn.
Zi iz geshtorbn af deym ort.
‘Mayn tokhter’ var ir letse vort.

Many tears have I spilled,
My mother was shot.
She died on the spot.
‘My daughter’ were her last words”

BSG – Spoken = S’iz a ponim fin Transnistra.
It appears to be about Transnistria.

Mayn tatenyu hob ikh farloyrn.
Far kelt in hinger iz er ayngefrorn
Tsu shtarbn var zayn biter loz [German = los]
In an Ukrainer kolkhoz.

I lost my dear father.
From cold and hunger he froze.
To die was his bitter fate
In a Ukrainian kolkhoz. [ Soviet collective farm]

Ikh hob bagrubn mane libe.
Elnt aleyn bin ikh farblibn.
Men lozt mikh filn af yedn shrit:
az ikh bin dus kind fun keynem nit.

I buried my dear ones.
Alone, lonely I remained.
At every step people let me feel
that I am no one’s child.

BSG – “S’iz a versye vus me hot gemakht in Transnistria ober mit a sakh daytshmerizmen.”
 “It’s a version that was created in Transnistria but with many Germanisms. “

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

We’re posting this song in conjunction with the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2022. As noted in an earlier post, Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman wrote down in a notebook lyrics to songs she heard in the Displaced Persons camp in Vienna, 1947 – 1951. I asked her to sing some of those songs in 1991. 

Bret Werb, musicologist at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. writes (via correspondence on email) about the Romanian song:

“The Romanian title is ‘Sînt copil al nimănui’ otherwise ‘Copil al nimănui’ otherwise ‘Cîntec de orfan’; the full lyric appears here, 

www.carpbarlad.org/files/reviste/viatanoastra_12.pdf (p 19, righthand side). 

As you’ll see it’s similar to the Yiddish version.  The song was collected as “folklore” in 1972 from informant Gheorghe Cazacu of Costeşti village, Cotovschi district (the field recording is part of the Gleb Ciaicovschi-Mereşanu Collection, National Archive of the Republic of Moldova). 

Thanks to Sandra Layman for transcribing and translating the Romanian verse. Thanks to Bret Werb for the information. Thanks to Carol Freeman, Paul Gifford, Joel Rubin, Suzanne Schwimmer and their friends who helped look for information on the Romanian song.

,דו אָרעם קינד מיט שוואַרצע האָר
.מיט שוואַרצע אויגן זאָג מיר גאָר
,פֿאַר וואָס דערציילסטו יעדן ייִד
?דו ביסט דאָס קינד פֿון קיינעם ניט

.אַ סך טרערן האָב איך פֿאַרגאָסן
.מײַן מאַמעניו האָט מען געשאָסן
.זי איז געשטאָרבן אויף דעם אָרט
.”מײַן טאָכטער” וואַר איר לעצטע וואָרט

ביילע (רעדט):  ס’איז אַ פּנים פֿון טראַנסניסטריע

.מײַן טאַטעניו האָב איך פֿאַרלוירן
.פֿאַר קעלט און הונגער איז ער אײַנגעפֿרוירן
,צו שטאַרבן וואַר זײַן ביטער לאָז
.אין אַן אוקראַיִנער קאָלכאָז

.איך האָב באַגראָבן מײַנע ליבע
.עלנט, אַליין ביך איך פֿאַרבליבן
:מען לאָזט מיך פֿילן אויף יעדן שריט
.איך בין דאָס קינד פֿון קיינעם ניט

.ביילע: ס’איז אַ ווערסיע וואָס מע האָט געמאַכט אין טראַנסניסטריע אָבער מיט אַ סך דײַטשמעריזמען

“Dus beymele shteyt in vald” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2022 by yiddishsong

Dus beymele shteyt in vald / The tree stands in the woods
A folklorized version of the Goldfaden song, “Elnt fun ale beymer vayt” sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman. Recorded by Leybl Kahn, New York City, 1954.

COMMENTARY BY ITZIK GOTTESMAN
This is a folklorized version of the song “Elnt fun ale beymer vayt” from the Goldfaden operetta “Di kishifmakherin” also known as “Koldunye” (the witch), first performed in 1878.  It is sung by the young girl Mirele in the second act, first scene. A scan of the original Yiddish is attached from a New York edition of the play. 

The song presents an interesting case of folklorization, turning a theater song into a Yiddish orphan song, though with a hopeful ending which is atypical of Yiddish orphan songs. I have kept the false start and brief discussion afterwards with Leybl Kahn in which LSW says this song was learned in her hometown Zvinyetshke (now Ukraine).

Another folklorized version of this Goldfaden song was published in the second volume, Skuditski Folklor-lider, Moscow, 1936, p. 312, #52 (see screen shots attached below). There the song is extended with two new verses and keeps much more of the Goldfaden text than LSW’s.

Click here to listen to Frank Seiden singing a version of the original Goldfaden song, 1901, and click here to see the sheet music from the Library of Congress archive.

Dus beymele shteyt in vald
[False start]
Dus beymele shteyt in vald,
dus beymeledus beymele elnt, aleyn.
Azoy ikh nebekh yesoymele
In velt drey ekh mekh arim aleyn. 
Azoy ikh nebekh yesoymele
Drey zikh af der velt arim aleyn. 

The tree stands in the woods,
the tree, the tree all alone.
So I, alas, poor orphan,
Drift around this world alone

Dus beymele triknt ayn
in di bleter faln up.
 Zey faln gants arup. 
Azoy faln mayne trern. 
tse der naser erd arup, oy, arup. 
Azoy faln mayne trern. 
Tse der naser erd arup.

The tree dries up
and the leaves fall off.
They fall off completely.
So fall my tears to the wet ground.

Veyn nit in klug nit, yesoymele,
yesoymele, elnt, aleyn.
Es vet nokh blien dus beymele,
Dayn glikele vet nokh kimen tsi geyn.
Es vet nokh blien dus beymele,
Dayn glik vet nokh kimen tsu geyn.

Don’t cry and lament, dear orphan,
Orphan, alone and lonely.
The tree will once more blossom;
Your good fortune will return.


דאָס ביימעלע שטייט אין וואַלד,
דאָס ביימעלע, עלנט, אַליין
.אַזוי איך נעבעך יתומעלע
אין וועלט דריי איך מיך אַרום אַליין
.אַזוי איך נעבעל יתומעלע,
דריי זיך אויף דער וועלט אַרום אַליין.

דאָס ביימעלע טריקנט אײַן
און די בלעטער פֿאַלֹן אָפּ.
זיי פֿאַלן גאַנץ אַראָפּ.
אַזוי פֿאַלן מײַנע טרערן
צו דער נאַסער ערד אַראָפּ, אוי אַראָפּ.
אַזוי פֿאַלן מײַנע טרערןצו דער נאַסער ערד אַראָפּ.

וויין ניט און קלאָג ניט, יתומעלע,
יתומעלע, עלנט, אַליין
.עס וועט נאָך בליִען דאָס ביימעלע.
דײַן גליקעלע וועט נאָך קומען צו גיין.
עס וועט נאָך בליִען דאָס ביימעלע.
דײַן גליק וועט נאָך קומען צו גיין

From the New York edition of Goldfaden’s “Di kishifmakherin”:

Skuditski Folklor-lider, Moscow, 1936, p. 312, #52

Sheet music (from the Library of Congress, click here for LOC website):

“Tsen brider zenen mir geveyzn” Performed by Molly and Josef Lubelski

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2021 by yiddishsong

Tsen brider zenen mir geveyzn / We were ten brothers
A Holocaust adaptation. Text by Israel Ashendorf. Sung by Molly and Josef Lubelski. Recorded by Abraham Lubelski, Bronx 1967

The Lubelski Troupe performing in a German D.P. camp

Transcription and Translation (Yiddish text after the commentary below)

Spoken by Josef Lubelski: “Tsen brider zenen mir geveyzn. An alt folkslid ibergearbet fun Ashendorf un Zigmund Taytlboym.”
“We Were Ten Brothers”, an old folksong adapted by Ashendorf and Zigmund Taytlboym

Tsen brider zenen mir geveyzn 
in frayd in in payn. 
Iz eyner gefaln inter Kutne
zenen mir geblibn nayn.

Ten brothers were we
in joy and in suffering.
When one of us fell near Kutne
we remained nine

Yidl mitn fidl, Berl mitn bas,
zingen aykh a lidl, oy, in mitn gas.
Yidl mitn fidl, Berl mitn bas.

Yidl and his fiddle, Berl and his bass
sing a song for you in the middle of the street.

Nayn brider zenen mir gevezn
yeder bay zayn mi in fakh.
Iz ayner gefaln inter Varshe
zenen mir geblibn akht. 

Nine brothers were we
we traded in cargo.
One fell in Warsaw
and eight remained.

Akht brider zenen mir geveyzn
tsezayt in tsetribn
farpaynikt eynem in Oshvyentshin [Oswiecim]
zenen mir geblibn zibn.

Eight brothers were we,
scattered and driven off.
One was tortured in Auschwitz
so seven remained.

Zibn brider zenen mir gevezn
in groylteg un in shrek. 
en eynem in Vin gehongen,
zenen mir geblibn zeks.

Seven brothers were we
in the days of horror and fear.
When one of us was hanged
we remained six.

Zeks brider zenen mir geveyzn
fartribn vayt in Krim. 
Iz eyner dortn imgekimen
zenen mir geblibn finf.

Six brothers were we
driven away to the Crimea.
When one of us died
we remained five.

Yidl mitn fidl, Berl mitn bas
zingen aykh a lidl, oy, in mitn gas.
Yidl mitn fidl.  Berl mitn bas

Yidl and his fiddle, Berl and his bass
sing a song for you in the middle of the street.
Yidl and his fiddle; Berl and his bass.

Finf brider zenen mir gevezn
un sonim un a shir. 
hot men eynem in Prag geshosn
zenen mir geblibn fir.

Five brothers were we
with countless enemies.
When they shot one in Prague
we remained four.

Fir brider zenen mir geveyzn 
in teyg fin bombes in blay. 
Iz eyner gefaln in Vilner geto
zenen mir geblibn dray. 

Four brothers were we
during days of bomb and lead.
One died in the Vilna ghetto,
leaving three

Dray brider zenen mir gevezn
eyner in der bafrayter armey.
iz er gefaln vi a held,
zenen mir geblibn tsvey.

Three brothers were we,
one in the liberated army.
He died a hero
and two were left.

In di tsvey ver zay zenen
vilt ir avade hern: 
Ayner fun zey is Yidl
in der tsveyter Berl. 

And who the two remaining are
you know of course:
one of them is Yidl
and the second one Berl.

Yidl mitn fidl. Berl mitn bas
zingen aykh a lidl,
nokh der tsayt fun mord un has.
Yidl mit dem fidl, Berl mitn bas.

Yidl with the fiddle, Berl with the bass
sing for you a song
in the time of death and hatred.
Yidl with his fiddle, Berl with his bass.

O-ho, o-ho, o-ho
o-ho o-ho o-ho
ho ho ho hoh hohhoho
hoh hoho hoho hohohoho

Zoln ale itstert hern,
un zoln ale visn
mir veln nokh vi frier shpiln
af khasenes un brisn.

Let everyone now hear,
let everyone should know:
we will still play for you as before
at weddings and circumcisions.

Oy veln mir nokh kindlen.
frukhtbarn zikh in mern, 
vi di zamd in yamen,
un oyf dem himl shtern. 

Oh will we have children,
be fruitful and multiply,
like the sand in the seas
and the stars in the sky.

Yidl mitn fidl. Berl mitn bas
Yidl with his fiddle. Berl with his bass.

Nor a kleyne bakushe 
hobn mir tsu aykh yidn.
in der heym gedenken
zolt ir undz in fridn.
 
Just a minor request
we ask of you all.
In your homes you should remember
us in peace.

A khasene, a simkhe
betn undz tsu gast. 
mikh –  yidl mit dem fidl
in mir [mikh] – Berl mitn bas 

For a wedding, a party
invite us as guests.
Me – yidl with his fiddle.
and me – Berl with his bass.

Oy, vet men in ayer hayzer 
gertner vet men flantsn. 
Vider vet men lider zingen
vider vet men tantstn.

O in your houses
gardens will be planted.
Once again we’ll sing songs,
once again we’ll dance.

oy, veln mir nokh shpiln,
vayzn vos mir kenen. 
Az far veytik veln platsn
di strunes in di sonim. 

O, will we play,
and show what we are capable of.
Let our enemies and music strings
explode out of pain [envy].

Yidl mitn fidl, Berl mitn bas. 
Yidl with his fiddle; Berl with his bass.

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

This is the third song that our blog is presenting from the repertoire of Molly (Male/Minska) and Josef Lubelski who traveled to Displaced Persons (D.P.) camps in Germany after the war to perform songs, skits and recitations. For more on their biography see their previously posted songs.

Versions of the popular folksong “Tsen brider zenen mir geven”, upon which this version is adapted, can be found in the Ginzburg/Marek Collection of 1901 and a short history of the folksong, words and music, can be found in the Mlotek collection Perl fun der yidisher poezye, p. 121 (see scans below).

Itzik Manger used the refrain for his song “Yidl mitn fidl”.  In the Lubelski version, the music changes from the folk version when the number of brothers is reduced to two. The text at that point becomes more explicit on the plight and future of the Jews, rather than the demise of the brothers. Singer and compiler Shoshana Kalisch included a different Holocaust adaptation of “Tsen brider” in her collection of Holocaust songs –  Yes, We Sang! – with words and music.  One can hear that song at this link.

The author of this Lubelski version is Israel Ashendorf (1909 – 1956) but I could not find the text in his printed collections. In his introduction, Josef Lubelski mentions Sigmund Teytelboym as the musical adapter but I could not find any details on him. There is a 78 RPM recording of the Ashendorf song entitled “Yiddl [sic] mitn fidl” sung by I. Birnbaum and E. Zewinka, arranged by R. Solomon on the “Le Disque Folklorique Yiddish label”. There Ashendorf is credited as the author, spelled “Aschendorf”. A link to listen to the recording is here.

The Lubelski version is very close to the Birnbaum/Zewinka version but without instrumental accompaniment the Lubelski duo surely captures the sound and feeling closer to what the performance was like in the D.P. camps. One interesting change is that on the Birnbaum/Zevinka recording they sing “Royte armey” [Red army] and the Lubelskis sing “Bafrayte armey” [Liberated army]. Thanks this week to Alex Ashendorf, Abraham Lubelski for the recording and photo and to Eliezer Niborski for transcription help.

“Shabes nukh dem kigel” Performed by Malka Lubelski

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2021 by yiddishsong

Shabes nukh dem kigel /Sabbath, after the kugel  [potato pudding]
Sung by Malka/Molly Lubelski, recorded by Abraham Lubelski, Bronx 1967

Malka Lubelski with son Abraham in Post-WWII Germany

COMMENTARY BY ITZIK GOTTESMAN
A love song from the 19th century apparently in the repertoire of the Broder zingers, itinerant singers and actors who often performed in taverns and wine cellars. A different version of this song can be found in the collection Broder zinger (1960) by Shlomo Pryzament (scan attached), with text and music. The singer Masha Benya recorded this Pryzament version which is sung from the man’s point of view. Here is the link to Benya’s recording from her LP record Jewish Song Treasury, Volume 2.

Molly Lubelski’s version differs significantly textually and is sung from the girl’s point of view. Her referring to her “Madam” implies that the singer works for her in some capacity or the Madam is her landlady, or perhaps it’s an ironic way to refer to her mother. There is another song from the Yiddish theater entitled “Shabes nokhn kugl” , which is a completely different song and has been recorded several times. The words and music to that theater song can be found in Jane Peppler’s Yiddish Songs from Warsaw 1929-193: The Itzik Zhelonek Collection.     

For biographical information on Malka Lubelski see the previous post “Vi iz dus gesele”. 

Shabes nukh dem kigl
sung by Molly Lubelski

Shabes nukh dem kigl
geyt mayn madam tsu gest.
Es kumt tsu mir mayn khusn
un drikt un kisht mikh fest.

Sabbath after the kugel,
my madam goes out to visit.
So my future husband then comes to me
and squeezes and kisses me strongly.

Tsvay upgeglantste shtivl,
dus hitl in a zayt
er iz an oysgedinter,
fardint un iz a layt.

With two shiny boots
and his cap worn to the side,
he has served in the military,
and earns a reasonable living.

Bald nokh dem esn
geyen mir paze taykh. 
Es zenen undz mekane
say urem un say raykh. 

Right after eating,
we walk along the river.
Everyone envies us,
the poor and the rich.

Ikh trug a nay klaydl,
tsvay oysgekemte tsep. 
Ikh bin a shayn maydl 
un ikh fardray di kep.

I’m wearing a new dress,
and have combed my braids.
I am a pretty girl
and heads turn when I pass. 

Nor im lib ikh
un er hot dus der vert.
Er iz der shenster bukher
der shenster oyf der erd.

But he is the one I love,
and he is worth it.
He is the handsomest man,
the best looking in the world

Er zugt er vet mikh nemen
un shteln a khupe oykh. 
O, klezmer veln shpiln,
oy, az s’vet geyn a roykh.

He says he will take me
and marry me.
O, klezmers will play so well
oy, that smoke will rise.

Un mayn madam vet shenken
tsvey kishn un a klayd.
Oy, vet zayn a simkhe,
oy, vet zayn a frayd.

And my madam will give as gifts –
two pillows and a dress.
Oy, there will be a celebration
oy, there will be joy.

un mashke vet men trinken
vifl s’vet arayn,
un shabes nukh deym kigl
kumt mayn madam tsu geyn.

We’ll drink whiskey
as much as we can.
Sabbath after the kugel
my madam goes out to visit.

שבת נאָך דעם קוגל
געזונגען פֿון מלכּה (מאַלע) לובעלסקי

שבת נאָך דעם קוגל
.גייט מײַן מאַדאַם צו געסט
עס קומט צו מיר מײַן חתן
.און דריקט און קושט מיך פֿעסט

,צוויי אָפּגעגלאַנצטע שטיוול
,דאָס היטל אין אַ זײַט
,ער איז אַן אויסגעדינטער
.פֿאַרדינט און איז אַ לײַט

באַלד נאָך דעם עסן
.גייען מיר פּאַזע טײַך
עס זענען אונדז מקנא
.סײַ אָרעם און סײַ רײַך

,איך טראָג אַ נײַ קליידל,
.צוויי אויסגעקעמטע צעפּ
איך בין אַ שיין מיידל
.און איך פֿאַרדריי די קעפּ

 נאָר אים ליב איך
.און ער האָט דאָס ווערט
,ער איז דער שענסטער בחור
.דער שענסטער אויף דער ערד

ער זאָגט ער וועט מיך נעמען
.און שטעלן אַ חופּה אויך
,אָ, קלעזמער וועלן שפּילן
.אוי, אַז ס’וועט גיין אַ רויך

און מײַן מאַדאַם וועט שענקען
.צוויי קישן און אַ קלייד
אוי, וועט זײַן אַ שׂימחה
.אוי, וועט זײַן אַ פֿרייד

מאַשקע וועט מען טרינקען
.וויפֿל ס’וועט אַרײַן
און שבת נאָך דעם קוגל
.קומט מײַן מאַדאַם צו גיין

From Broder zinger (1960) by Shlomo Pryzament, p. 86-87:

“Vu iz dus gesele?” Performed by Malka and Josef Lubelski

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2021 by yiddishsong

Vi iz dus gesele? / Where is the street?
A Holocaust adaptation written and sung by Malka and Josef Lubelsksi recorded by Abraham Lubelski, Bronx 1967

On the Lubelski family by  Abraham Lubelski

Malka (Male, Molly, Minska) Lubelski (1920 – 1996) was born in Lodz, Poland. She and her husband, Laibish Holcman, left Lodz in 1939, as the Nazis were invading, and headed East to the Soviet Union. With them was Malka’s sister, Chana, and her brother, Yasha. They were attempting to find Malka’s uncle in Ukraine.

They were diverted by Soviet authorities to Siberia, ending up in the town of Magnitogorsk. Here their son, Abram [Abraham], was born. They were finally given permission in 1941 to travel to their uncle’s home in Ukraine, arriving in Kharkov just as the Nazis invaded. They never reached their uncle and he was never heard from again. Laibish Holcman disappeared in 1941, soon after joining to fight with the defending Soviet Army.

They left behind their mother, a younger sister Ruth (Rivka) and three younger brothers, Motel, Laibel and Avrom. Malka, Chana, Yasha and Rivka survived the Holocaust. Their mother, Nacha, was taken from the Lodz ghetto and never heard from again. The three younger brothers also did not survive; one died in the ghetto and the other two died after being transported to Auschwitz. The four surviving siblings were reunited in 1946 in the Displaced Persons camp. All emigrated with their new families to the US in ’49-’50.

From Siberia, Malka and her son traveled on to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where Malka met Josef Lubelski (1906 – 1972) originally from Kalisz, Poland. Malka’s siblings, Chana and Yasha, also were able to travel to Tashkent. From there they returned west at the war’s end, searching for surviving family, Malka, Josef and Abram eventually making their way to the DP camp in Berlin. They transferred and were reunited with Rivka in the Leipheim, Germany DP camp. In the camp, Josef established a troupe and directed an ensemble of friends and actors. Josef and Malka sang duets and performed Yiddish monologues and Shakespeare. They were legally married in the DP camp in 1948.

As their son (Abram) I remember sitting in the front row of the theater watching their vaudeville performances and dramas with awe. Josef did classic “retsitatsyes” [recitations] often dressed like Charlie Chaplin or as a Jewish peddler making the audience laugh as he magically pulled things out from his long black overcoat and tried to sell a chicken here, pots and pans there or a “valgerholts” [rolling pin] with which to beat husbands.  They traveled to DP camps performing on week-ends and I cried if they left me behind so eventually they had me come along as the child actor in one or two Yiddish plays.

In 1950 they emigrated to the US. and performed their songs occassionaly at Workmen’s Circle gatherings. In 1967 I recorded Josef’s monologues and Molly and Josef singing duets. I remembered my mom sitting alone on the stage dressed in black mourning singing “Vu iz dos gesele,” “Tsen brider” and “Akhtszik er un zibetsik zi”, …. Never forgetting the warming spirit trying to revive the people around them.

More on the Lubelski family can be read in the two memoirs The Cage (1980) and To Life (2000) by Ruth Minsky Sender. 

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Today’s post is the first of three songs performed by Molly and Josef Lubelski that we will post. We thought it particularly appropriate to post “Vi iz dus gesele” to mark Kristallnacht on Nov. 9th. Though these songs were recorded in 1967, two decades after the war, they still convey the emotional performance of the artists.

The Lubelskis sing a Holocaust themed adaptation of a popular song “Vu iz dos gesele”. Their son Abraham believes they created the text. I have not found it in collections of Holocaust Yiddish songs. The words and music to the original song can be found in the Mlotek collection Songs of Generations. There are also Ukrainian, Russian and Hebrew versions of the older song. 

Here is a link to an orchestrated version of the original song “Vu iz dos gesele” sung by Jan Peerce:

TRANSLITERATION, TRANSLATION & TRANSCRIPTION 
Folksong with new words by Malka and Josef Lubelski

Vi iz dus gesele? Vi iz di shtib?
Vi iz mayn mishpokhe, vus ikh hob azoy lib?
Nishtu shoyn dus gesl, tsebrokhn di shtib
farbrent mayn mishpokhe vus ikh hob azoy lib.
Nishtu shoyn dus gesl, tsebrokhn di shtib,
farbrent mayn mishpokhe vus ikh hob azoy lib.

Where is my street? Where is my house?
Where is my family that I onced loved?
The street is no more.The house is broken.
Burned up is the family that I loved so much.

Vi zenen di zingendike, tantsndike kinder?
Vi zenen zey ale atsinder?
Tserisn, tseshtokn, tsetsoygn.
Der mamen, der mamen, der mamen in di oygn. 
Tserisn, tseshtokn, tsetsoygn.
Der mamen, der mamen, der mamen in di oygn.

Where are the singing, dancing children?
Where are they now?
Torn, stabbed and pulled apart 
in their mothers’, their mother’s eyes.

Vi iz di shil? mitn gildenem orn-koydesh?
Der shabes, der yontif? rosh-khoydesh?
Farbrent iz di shil, farbrent oykh di sforim;
fun gantsn shtetl, geblibn iz bloyz kvorim. 
farbrent iz di shil, farbrent oykh di sforim,
fun gantsn shtetl, geblibn iz bloyz kvorim. 

Where is the synagogue with the golden Holy Ark?
The sabbath? The holiday? The beginning of each month?
The synagogue is burned down, as well as the holy books.
Of the whole town, only graves remain. 

Gekumen iz der tug far nekume far dem blut
far yedern gesl, far yederer shtub. 
Ot iz der tug – azoy zet er oys.
Ober der khezbn, der khesbn iz tsu groys.
Ot iz der tug – azoy zet er oys.
ober der khezhbn, der khesbn iz tsu groys.

The day for revenge has come for this blood,
for every street, for every house.
The day has come – this is how it looks.
But the reckoning, the reckoning is too great.

געזונגען און באַאַרבעט פֿון מלכּה און יוסף לובעלסקי

רעקאָרדירט פֿון אַבֿרהם לובעלסקי, בראָנקס 1967

?וווּ איז דאָס געסעלע? וווּ איז די שטוב
?וווּ איז מײַן משפּחה, וואָס איך האָב אַזוי ליב
,נישטאָ שוין דאָס געסל, צעבראָכן די שטוב
.פֿאַרברענט מײַן משפּחה וואָס איך האָב אַזוי ליב
,נישטאָ שוין דאָס געסל, צעבראָכן די שטוב
.פֿאַרברענט מײַן משפּחה וואָס איך האָב אַזוי ליב

?וווּ זענען די זינגענדיקע, טאַנצנדיקע קינדער
?וווּ זענען זיי אַצינדער
,צעריסן, צעשטאָכן און צעצויגן
.דער מאַמען, דער מאַמען, דער מאַמען אין די אויגן
,צעריסן, צעשטאָכן און צעצויגן
.דער מאַמען, דער מאַמען, דער מאַמען אין די אויגן

?וווּ איז די שיל מיטן גילדענעם אָרון־קודש
?דער שבת? דער יום־טובֿ? ראש־חודש
.פֿאַרברענט איז די שיל, פֿאַרברענט אויך די ספֿרים
.פֿון גאַנצן שטעטל געבליבן בלויז קבֿרים

,געקומען איז דער טאָג פֿאַר נקמה פֿאַר דעם בלוט
.פֿאַר יעדערן געסל, פֿאַר יעדערער שטוב
.אָט איז דער טאָג ־ אַזוי זעט ער אויס
.אָבער דער חשבון, דער חשבון איז צו גרויס

“Baym tir fun gan-eydn” Performed by Mimi Erlich and Hasia Goldberg-Gering

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2021 by yiddishsong

Baym tir fun gan-eydn / At the door of Paradise
Sung by Mimi Erlich and Hasia Goldberg-Gering
Ehrlich recorded by Itzik Gottesman at KlezKanada, St. Agathe, Quebec, approx. 2007;
Gering-Goldberg recording from the Music Department of the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, recorded 1980.

Courtesy of the Yiddish Book Center
“Baym tir fun gan-eydn” sung by Mimi Erlich

For Hasia Gering-Goldberg’s version, please click here and listen from 42:54 to 44:06.

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

My interest in this song began when Mimi Erlich z”l, a teacher and accomplished musician, approached me while waiting for dinner outside the dining hall at the KlezKanada festival. She sang what she remembered from her mother. Erlich recently passed and and in her memory I put this blog together.  A video interview with her can be found at the Wexler Oral History Project at the Yiddish Book Center. 

A fine recording of the song by Hasya Gering-Goldberg is from the on-line holdings of the Music Department at the National Library in Jerusalem. It is more complete than Erlich’s though the second verse is cut-off. I have transcribed and translated the versions of Gering-Goldberg and Erlich. The music and words of one verse of a similar version can be found in Abraham Idelsohn’s monumental Thesaurus of Hebrew-Oriental Melodies (1914-1932), Volume 9, #724 (please see scans below). Several texts were sent to A. Forsher for his column “Pearls of the Yiddish Poets” in the Forverts newspaper (scans below). But so far the authorship of this song has not been found. In a poetry collection of Aron Kriwitzky he includes a longer, fuller text for the song (below).

So we have 6 variants of the song, all of them from Lithuania:

1) Idelsohn vol. 9, text and music.
2 & 3)  In the “Perl” column Jan. 23, 1972, second section page 13. there is a version by Paula Segal and one by Henye Shenkman.
4) Erlich, recording.
5) Goldberg-Gering, recording.
6) The extended version found in Aron Kriwitzky’s collection.

Thanks to Yiddish teacher and researcher Eliezer Niborski for finding the Goldberg-Gering recording and the text in Aron Kriwitzky’s poetry collection. Thanks also to Jill Horowitz, friend of Mimi Erlich, and  to Gila Flam, head of the Music Deptartment at the National Library, Jerusalem.

Verson of Hasia Goldberg-Gering (חסיה גולדברג-גרינג)

“Der gan-eydn” [ spoken: “Paradise”]

Baym tir fun gan-eydn
shteyen malokhim on a shir.
Mentshn viln arayngeyn reydn
nor men halt zey op bay der tir. 

At the door to paradise
stand many angels. 
People want to enter and speak
but they are stopped at the door.

Mikhoyl, Gavril haltn di bikher.
Me leyent zey for zeyer zind.
Un yeder eyner vil vos gikher
in gan-eydn arayn geshvind.

Michael, Gabriel are keeping the books.
They read their sins to them .
And everyone wants, as fast as possible,
to enter paradise quickly.

Nor me shtupt zey op mit beyde hent.
Men farmakht far zey di tir.
“Geyt in gehenem un vert farbrent.
Der gan-eydn iz nit far dir!”

But they are pushed away  with both hands.
The door is closed for them. 
“Go to hell and burn:
Paradise is not for you!”

Kumt tsu geyn a kheynevdike yidene
mit a horband a reytn,
mit korbn-minkhes* un mit  siderlekh farshidene
un mit a kop a bloyzn.

A charming woman arrives
with a red headband,
with korbn-minkhes* and various prayer books,
and with an uncovered head.

Avek fun danet du arura
Du host zikh gefirt fardorbn.

Away from here you cursed women.
You led a corrupted life

Korbn-minkhe* : a woman’s prayer book written in Yiddish.

בײַם טיר פֿון גן־עדן
.שטייען מלאכים אָן אַ שיעור
מענטשן ווילן אַרײַנגיין רעדן
.נאָר מען האַלט זיי אָפּ בײַ דער טיר.

מיכאל, גבֿריאל האַלטן די ביכער
.מע לייענט זיי פֿאָר זייער זינד.
און יעדער איינער וויל וואָס גיכער
.אין גן־עדן אַרײַן געשווינד.

נאָר מע שטופּט זיי אָפּ מיט ביידע הענט
.מען פֿאַרמאַכט פֿאַר זיי די טיר.
גייט אין גיהנום און ווערט פֿאַרברענט”
“!דער גן־עדן איז ניט פֿאַר דיר

קומט צו גיין אַ חנעוודיקע ייִדענע
.מיט אַ האָרבאַנד אַ רייטן
מיט קרבן־מינחהס און סידערלער פֿאַרשידענע
.און מיט אַ קאָפּ אַ בלויזן

!אַוועק פֿון דאַנעט דו ארורה
.דו האָסט זיך געפֿירט פֿאַרדאָרבן

Version of Mimi Erlich

Bay dem tir fun gan-eydn
shteyen yidn on a shir.
Yederer vil epes reydn

Men shtupt zey avek
mit beyde hent.

Gey in gehenim un ver farbrent!
Der gan-eydn iz nit far dir.

At the door of paradise,
many people are standing.
Everyone wants to say something

They are pushed away
with both hands.

Go to hell and burn.
Paradise is not for you!

בײַם טיר פֿון גן־עדן
.שטייען מענטשן אָן אַ שיעור
יעדער וויל עפּעס ריידן

מען שטופּט זיי אַוועק
.מיט ביידע הענט

!גיי אין גיהנום און ווער פֿאַרברענט
.דער גן־עדן איז נישט פֿאַר דיר

From Abraham Idelsohn, Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental Melodies (1914-1932), Vol 9, #724:

From A. Forsher’s column “Pearls of the Yiddish Poets” in the Forverts, Jan. 23, 1972, second section, page 13. Presenting versions from Paula Segal and Henye Shenkman:

From Aron Kriwitzky’s Collection (published in Israel):