Yad Vashem Heartstrings. Music of the Holocaust

A Yidish Kind – A Jewish Child

Lyrics: Chana Kheytin-Vinsteyn

A Yidish Kind – A Jewish Child

Like many of the songs recorded for the Central Jewish Historical Commission in Munich in 1946, there is no mention of the performer, either in the recording or in the accompanying material.

Song from the Siauliai ghetto, Lithuania.

The song appears in Lider fun di Getos un Lagern (1948: words – p. 95, music – p. 386), as well as in Mir Zaynen Do (1983, p. 72) with English translation,  Min Hametsar Karati (1954: p. 113), and in the anthology Min Hametsar (1987: p. 156) with Hebrew translation.

The song was written after the children’s massacre in the Siauliai ghetto, Lithuania. The poet describes the fate of the many children who were hidden and raised by non-Jews, who risked their own lives to save their young charges, until the end of the war. The young children were encouraged to forget their Jewish names and their past lives in order to survive. The song describes a mother who brings her child to a family living in a small village in Lithuania, and the torment of their separation. 

As in many other songs, this song contains an allegory to Moses, who was saved by his sister placing him by the banks of the Nile. Moses appears in many songs not just because of the story of his childhood, but also because he led the People of Israel from slavery to freedom – just as the Jews of the ghettos and camps were waiting for their own deliverance.

A Yidish Kind

In a litvish derfl vayt
In a shtibl on a zayt,
Durkh a fentster nit keyn groys
Kukn kinderlekh aroys,
Yingelekh mit flinke kep,
Meydelekh mit blonde tsep,
Un tsuzamen dort mit zey,
Kukn oygn shvartse tsvey.

Oygn shvartse ful mit kheyn,
un a nezele a kleyn,
Lipelekh tsum kushn nor,
Shtark gelokte shvartse hor.
Di mame hot im gebrakht
Ayngeviklt in der nakht,
Gekusht im shtark un geklogt,
Shtilerheyt tsu im gezogt:

Fun haynt mayn kind, vet zayn dayn ort,
Gedenkst dayn mames letste vort
Ikh bahalt dikh do derfar,
Vayl dayn lebn drot gefar,
Mit di kinder shpil zikh fayn,
Shtil, gehorkhzam, zolstu zayn,
Keyn yidish vort, keyn yidish lid,
Vayl du bist nit mer keyn yid.

Dos kind bay ir bet zikh shtark:
Kh'vil mame, nor zayn mit dir,
Mame farloz nit iber mir aleyn,
S'kind fargeyt zikh in geveyn.
Zi hot im gut gekusht a sakh,
Ober helft ir nit keyn zakh,
S'kind nor taynet: neyn un neyn,
Kh'vil nit blaybn do aleyn.

Af di hent genumen im,
Un mit veykhkayt in ir shtim
Zingt zi: yingele, du mayn,
Un zi vigt im azoy ayn.
Nokh dem veynt zi fray zikh oys
Un zi tret fun shtub aroys,
Ongefilt mit zorg un shrek,
Un zi geyt in nakht avek.

A Kelt in droysn un a vint,
Hert a kol zikh: oy, mayn kind.
Gelozt dikh af fremde hent,
Andersh hob ikh nit gekent.
Geyt a mame, mit zikh redt,
Un in droysn shreklekh kalt un shpet,
S'voyet in ponem ir der vint
Got, hob rakhmones af mayn kind!

Fremde shtub mit mentshen fil,
S'yingele iz shtum un shtil.
Redt nit, bet nit, vil keyn zakh,
Zeltn ven er tut a lakh.
Nit keyn tog un nit keyn nakht,
Nit er shloft un nit er vakht,
Vasilko a nomen fremd
Af zayn hertsl drikt un klemt.

A mames harts voglt vu arum,
Vi ir yosele oykh shtum,
Keyner veys nit, keynem art,
Un zi vart un vart un vart.
Tsu Yokheved iz zi glaykh,
Azoy vi Moyshe afn taykh
Elnt, eynzam afn vint,
Iz farlozt ir eyntsik kind.

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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.