Zingt un Tantst in Ridelekh (Sing and Dance in Circles)

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 daily life in the ghetto, in an ironic way: the immeasurable overcrowding and hunger overcomes the morals of the people, leaving them no other choice but to dance and celebrate in order to survive and forget their miseries. The melody is similar to a prewar Yiddish folksong.

Zingt un tantst in ridelekh
Makh freylekh dem lebn.
Es iz keyn shpas ir briderlekh
Azoy vil zikh dem rebn
Ir zolt nor freylekh lustik zayn
Vi di kinder shtifn
Ot azoy iz take fayn
Endlekh hot ir bagrifn.

Dort shteyt a psule bay der tir
Shtrengt dort an oyer.
Er varft zayn blik o vi dakht zikh mir
Der shpil gor shoyn tsu tayer
Zi shpant di fislekh loyft geshvind
Pruvt zikh efsher retn.
Dertsu hot zi keyn glik
Es helft ir nit ir betn

Oybn voynt an orem kind
Fregt mit trer di mamen
Zog mir mame zog mayn zind
In alemen tsuzamen.