Yad Vashem Heartstrings. Music of the Holocaust

Vos Darf Ikh Hobn Mmer? – What Else Do I Need?

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.

According to the singer’s voice, which is heard in several other songs in this recording, the song is from the Kovno ghetto. The song, which is probably not complete, does not mention historical details such as names of places, people or local terms. 

The song describes the poor living conditions in the ghetto: the hunger, slave labor, and the favoritism policies. It describes the fear of the “Yaalos” (a nickname for the Nazis, from the expression “Yaaleh Veyavo” – Arise and Come) who could ambush the Jews anywhere. The song comments, in positive terms and humor, on life in the ghetto: “What else do I need? I’ve got everything. I’ve brought my poverty, my wife, my child, my belonging and even my lover to the ghetto.” In the final verses the singer says: “Good days will come, don’t despair, don’t worry, things will get brighter and life will return to be good and calm.”

Vos Darf Ikh Hobn Mmer?

Vos darf ikh hobn mer
Ikh hob do ales
Funem geto mitgebrakht
Dem gantsn dales
Dos vaybl un dos kind
Dos gantse hoyz-gezind
A gelibte iz oykh do
In a mazldiker sho.

Undzer naye heym
Di harte nare
Do shlofn alt un kleyn
Di luft a pare
Af tishn un oyf benk
A tuml vi in shenk
In engshaft un in rash
Vi hering in a fas.

Es iz undz gut un voyl
Gor a mekhaye
In kesl gor es kokht
A velt a naye
Ir zayt nit mer tsezeyt
In shtibelekh tseshpreyt
S'iz greyt far ayer shtam
Grates mit a tsam

Ir darft keyn peklekh mer
In geto brengen
Di finferlekh baym toyerl
Dem posten shenken
Ir hot a portsye broyt
A yushnikl un kroyt
Di kave hot a shem
Khotsh bod zikh oys in dem!

Af yedn trit un shrit
Zayt ir bagleyte
Kaftns tsum badarf
Hot ir gegreyte
Doktoyrem, politsey
"Yayles" alerley
Zey kukn aykh sheyn nokh
Tseshtekt a gantse vokh
Ven es kumt bay nakht
In koridorn
Shushken zikh farshmakht
Farlibte porn
Men kusht zikh in der shtil
Es fayft un takt a gril
Men kvelt zikh take tsu
Tsum aza [min] ronde-vu

Vitaminshtshikes vi feygelekh
Zayt ir gefloygn
Ikh veys nit vos hot aykh
Azoy getsoygn
Di drote ful mit shrek
Nito tsurik keyn veg
Zet ir oys farklemt
Antoyshte un farshemt.

Ir hot gemeynt dos glik
Vet ir farzamen
Gekhapt af ayern pek
Dem tatn mamen
Farloz dem magistrat
Itst zayt ir toyt un mat
Fun zorgn mit fardrus
Ver henden klapn muz.

Tsi veln mir nokh lang
Azoy farbrengen?
Tsi veln mir nokh gants
Di beyndlekh brengen?
S'vet zayn amol gut
Farlirt zhe nit dem mut
Fartsveyflt zayt zhe nit
Un zogn zhe take mit.

Nit gedayget nor
Ir shantser brider
S'vet nokh vern klor
Der himl vider
Di khmares veln farbay
Dos lebn vet vern nay
Gebentsht mit ales guts
Mit brokhes afn tuts.

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.