Dos Elnte Kind (The Lonely Child)

Lyrics: Shmerke Kaczerginski
Melody: Yankl Krimski

Dos Elnte Kind (The Lonely Child)

The song is performed by Shmerke Kaczerginski, recorded for the Jewish Historical Commission in Munich, 1946.

Yankl Krimski was a composer active in drama circles before the war. He died in Estonia in 1945.

The song was published in Lider fun di Getos un Lagern (1948, lyrics – p. 90 melody – p. 386), as well as in Mir Zaynen Do (1983, p. 58) with English translation, in Min Hametzar (1987, pp. 46-47), and in other sources.

The song was dedicated to the daughter of the teacher Rachel Pupko-Krinski. Like other children, the girl was hidden by a non-Jewish family, who raised her in a village close to Vilna. Her father had been killed by the Germans in 1941. Her mother, Rachel Pupko-Krinski, survived, and emigrated with her daughter to the United States.

The song describes Sorele looking for her mother. She dreams of her mother, and also imagines her father returning home. She hears her mother singing her a lullaby, asking her to tell future generations what happened to her. The song’s message, like other songs from the Vilna ghetto, is to document what happened as part of the history of the Jewish people at their darkest hour, and never to forget.

S'yogt mikh ver, s'yogt,
Un lozt nit tsu ru.
O mame, mayn mamele
Vu bistu, vu?
Es zukht dir dayn sorele
S'ruft dikh dayn kind…
S' voyet un s'yomert
In feld um der vint.

Der tate – nito,
Ver veys vu er iz?
Es hot im gefangen
A groyzamer riz,
Di nakht shvarts geven iz
Ven dos iz geshen,
Nokh shvartser dos ponem
Mayn mames geven…

In umru fun tog,
In vander fun nakht,
In umru fun shlof
Ligt dos kind un es dakht:
"O kind mayns" zi hert shoyn
Fun tatn di trit,
Di mame farvigt ir
Un zingt ir dos lid:

Az du vest a mol
A mamele zayn,
Zolstu dayne kinder
Dertseyln dem payn,
Vos tate un mame
Gehat fun faynd,
Farges nit dem nekhtn
Dermon es zikh haynt!