Yad Vashem Heartstrings. Music of the Holocaust

Geshen – It Happened

Lyrics: Shmerke Kaczerginski
Melody: Zigmond Berland

Performed by Shmerke Kaczerginski in a recording for the Central Jewish Historical Commission, Munich, 1946.  The song is dedicated to the Jewish refugees who immigrated to Israel on the Exodus.

When Holocaust survivors aboard the Exodus arrived at the shores of Israel, then still under British rule, they were forbidden to disembark. After a short fight between the British soldiers and the Jewish Underground in Israel, the ship was towed to the port at Haifa. The Jewish refugees were sent back to Europe on British warships. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, the immigrants of the Exodus finally returned to Israel.

The song describes a boy and his mother sailing on the blue waters, hoping to arrive at the promised shore. “We’ve waited long enough,” recites the poet, and adds, “It will happen; we shall come to the Holy Land, all of us together, and become a nation once more.” The poet connects the past with the present – the Land of Israel with the land of the prophet. In the Land of Israel, the refugees will be welcomed with the phrase, “Blessed are those who have come.” Kaczerginski says, “We have suffered enough; the time has come for us to be a free people – even if we have hesitated – we will finally arrive and fulfill our dream.” 

The melody is in the style of the Soviet songs of that period and was written by a young composer Kaczerginski met after the war in Europe.


Geshen

Fray shvimen shifn af yamen
Di mastn flatern tsum bloy
Nor ikh mit mayn oremer mamen
Bahaltn muz ikh afn dno

Di shif muz in ergets antrinen
Es zol undz keyner nit gefinen
O shturem vint oder breng mamen kind
Gikh tsum breg dem gegartn

Genug shoyn gevart!

S'vet geshen, s'vet geshen
Un mir ale veln vider zayn tsuzamen
Ir vet zen, ir vet zen
Oykh undzer shif vet shvimen fray af ale yamen

Undzer heyliker farlang
Um tsu kern zikh in land fun di neviim
Vet mekuyem vern, kh'her shoyn di gezangen
Vi men bentsht undz: brukhim-habaim

Der natsi undz shtupt undz fartribn
Mir muzn alts bay im nokh zayn
Yesoymim mir zaynen geblibn
O ver vet zikh merakhem zayn

Lange dos folk hot bakumen
Farvoglte mir muzn shtumen
O brider zogt
Ven vet kumen der tog
Undzer tog der gegarter

Genug shoyn gevart!

S'vet geshen, s'vet geshen
Un mir ale veln vider zayn tsuzamen
Ir vet zen, ir vet zen
Oykh undzer shif vet shvimen fray af ale yamen

Undzer heyliker farlang
Um tsu kern zikh in land fun di neviim
Vet mekuyem vern, kh'her shoyn di gezangen
Vi men bentsht undz: brukhim-habaim

Gebroyzt hot der yam dan fun tsorn
Mit farpaynikte fun veg
Dokh zaynen mir yinger gevorn
Ven mir hobn derzen dem breg

Un khotsh bin geven dan farmatert
Hob ikh zikh vi a fon tseflatert
Sholem! mir rufn nor plutsem krigshifn
Bafaln oys glik men firt undz tsurik

Nor s'vet geshen, s'muz geshen
Un mir veln ale vider zayn tsuzamen
Ir vet zen, ir vet zen
Oykh undzer shif vet shvimen fray af ale yamen

Undzer heyliker farlang
Um tsu kern zikh in land fun di neviim
Vet mekuyem vern, kh'her shoyn di gezangen

Vi men bentsht undz: brukhim-habaim.

The online exhibition was made possible through the generous support of:

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.