Yad Vashem Heartstrings. Music of the Holocaust

Lodzer Geto – Lodz Ghetto

A medley of 14 songs arranged to pre-war Yiddish folksongs

The title of the medley as announced at the beginning of the recording is “Lodzer geto”, Lodz Ghetto.  Jonathan Karp composed the medley and the singer in this recording says that it was secretly sung in the Lodz Ghetto so that the Elder of the Jews, Chaim Rumkowski, and his accomplices, would not arrest the singer.  The singer identifies himself as Hersh Froshker, a survivor of Landsberg Camp.

The medley describes the hunger of the ghetto inhabitants and criticizes the policies of Chaim Rumkowski who is leading the ghetto to disaster. He promises to supply food, work and life, but actually brings upon the Jews hunger, slavery and death. Song number nine in the medley (as well as ghetto song “Rumkowski Chaim”) talks about the two Chaims: Chaim Rumkowski and Chaim Perczerkovski- the undertaker of the ghetto.  Both Chaims worked day and night and brought tragedy upon the Jews.  In some songs the Jews blame their suffering on the Germans who established the ghetto.

A few songs make allegories and comparisons to historical Jewish figures, especially to Moses. 

Remembering historical figures and events in Jewish history assisted the Jews to overcome the daily hardships of ghetto life.  In most of the ghetto songs references and hints are made to the Jewish past, when suffering was overcome, giving hope that they too will overcome their suffering and slavery.

All the melodies used in this medley are from the repertoire of Yiddish folksong.  Using known melodies connects the abnormal present with the past, and brings comfort to the singer and his audience.  Other duality exists between the texts – speaking about the suffering of the present and the melody – bringing back memories of normal times in Eastern Europe.  

For an analysis of each song in the melody, please see the Hebrew commentary.


Lodzer Geto

I. Kum aher
Du groer kop
Mit dayn runder pleytse
Vi makht men do
Fun dem yid a sof
Gib undz do
An eytse

II. Ven ikh volt geven
Vi ir ziger,
S'volt gor nit geton?
An eytse volt ikh aykh
Yedn a kluger
Ot vos kh'volt gemakht?

Ikh volt gemakht, gemakht
A geto fartsankt mit drotn
Mit politsey bavakht
Aroys zol dort keynem nit gerotn
Dos volt ikh gemakht

III. Dayn eytse hot a kheyn,
Der eltster vestu zayn;
Der eltster fun di yidn in geto dort.
Du vest hershn iber zey,
Dayne herlekh vays vi shney –
Tsitern vet yeder far dayn vort!
Vi Moyshe rabeyne amol
Geveltikn eyner iber Yisroel.

IV. A keyser vestu zayn, mayn liber Khayim
S'nes vestu bavayzn fun mitsrayim.
Du darfst nor shnel untershraybn,
Az keyn yid vet nishto dort nit blaybn
Un afile af shiraym.

V. Men hot nit lang geklert un getrakht
In a tribn tog s'getele gemakht…
Hot der daytsh a yidele.
Un der yid – a keyserl!
Hot der daytsh a yidele.
Un der yid – a keyserl!
Men hot bald arumgeredt
Ale zibn zakhn
Un take bashlosn
S'getele tsu farmakhn.
Hot der daytsh…

VI. Dervayl iz dokh biter un finster un noyt
Dervayl iz nito keyn gelt af broyt
Keyn broyt keyn fleysh keyn bisele eyl
Un dakht az m'en esn un lebn dervayl

VII. Af a boydem unter a dakh
Koym badekt mit shindelekh
Vi a suke unter skhakh
Voynt men mit undzere kinderlekh.

Hop hop es iz azoy
S'hot do gevoynt an alter goy

VIII. Shtil in der geto di drotn farmakht
Punkt vi af a beysoylem shpet in der nakht;
Di mentshn vi meysim, di penimer blas
Shteyen vi matseyves af kvorim in gas,
Nor afn beysoylem iz dafke a yarid,
Dort vert men fun arbet farmatert un mid
Dort brengt men di vos vern fun geto bafrayt
Af eybike frayheyt tserisn di kayt.

 

IX. Tsvey khayimlekh tsunoyfgeredt zikh
Un ayngeteylt di memshole;
Iber di lebedike hershn vel ikh,
Un du vest zayn iber di agole.
A shmits in ferd arayn,
Shlep zey in der erd arayn.
A dayge, vos geyt es mikh on.
Ikh zorg nor far mayn gezindele
Un far mayne kinderlekh –
Abi zey zaynen mir do!

X. Un az ikh bin mit aykh, kinderlekh,
Do mit aykh tsuzamen,
Ikh zorg far aykh, ikh trakht far aykh
Ir darft nit tate-mamen!

Huliet, huliet, kinderlekh,
Haynt iz mayn tsayt,
Oykh dayn tate un dayn mame
Vel ikh makhn zat.

XI. Mit kashe, kashe
Montik, dinstik kashe,
Mitvokh, donershtik kashe,
Fraytik un shabes a kugele fun kashe –
Un zuntik vider kashe!

Mir danken dir far der kashe,
Mir zenen shoyn mit ir zat,
Du shlepst fun undz dos gelt fun der tashe
Un ales nor far dayne layt
Genug dos zamd in di oygn,
Genug dos blut gezoygn;
A sof zol zayn tsum blof-
Tsum blof a sof, a sof!...

XII. S'vet kumen a tsayt mir veln derlebn
In honik un milkh veln mir zikh bodn do
Durkhoys komitetn vel ikh aykh ales gebn
Es iz gekumen di mazldike sho
Ober dervayl bistu nokh genug raykh yidele
Un az du host nit, dos iz an alt lidele
Gey un breng ales der gmine
Un leyg zey, ikh [---] ikh shlof
S'vet dir nit nitsn dayn [emune]
To her zikh tsu mayn ru

XIII. Kumt arayn Hertsberg mit zayn zonder-bande
Vos nor im gefelt, nemt er tsu bigrande.
Neyn, neyn, ikh vel nit ganvenen
Nor nemen bigrande.

XIV. Biz er hot undz arayngedreyt-
Vi dreyt men zikh aroys?
Er hot undz arayngedreyt
Mir zaynen krank,
Er hot undz arayngedreyt -
Tsum daytsh in hant!

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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.