Friling (Spring)

Lyrics: Shmerke Kaczerginski
Melody: Abraham Brudno

Friling (Spring)

The recordings were made by Shmerke Kaczerginski for the Jewish Historical Commission, Munich, 1946. 

The song was published by Kaczerginski in his anthology, Lider fun di Getos un Lagern  (1948: lyrics – p. 70, melody – p. 379). The song was also published with English translation in Mir Zaynen Do (1983, p. 42), and in Hebrew translation in Min Hametzar (1987, pp. 24-25).

The song was written in the Vilna ghetto following the death of Shmerke Kaczerginski’s wife, Barbara Kaufman (Kaczerginski) in April 1943. It was first performed in the Vilna Theater’s production, “Dos Yogenish in Fas” (The Haste in the Barrel). It was later sung in concentration camps and after the war. The song won widespread popularity when it was incorporated into Joshua Sobol’s popular play “Ghetto,” which dealt with the topic of theater and music in the Vilna ghetto.

A lover seeks his beloved in the streets and alleys of the ghetto, but cannot find her. He asks the spring to take away his woes, and replace them with his fortune, his beloved. The man continues to go to work, each day passing through the gate and remembering his meetings there with his beloved. Spring comes, and with it the blossoming trees, but the lover’s yearnings only deepen. In his imagination, he sees his beloved joyously coming to meet him, adorned with flowers.

The song’s melody employs a tango rhythm. The use of a tango in love songs was common in interwar Jewish culture, as well as other cultures. The melody combines the past and the present, reinforcing the disparity between the two.

From a recording by the Jewish Historical Commission, Munich, 1946. The song is performed here by:

01. Shmerke Kaczerginski
02. Betty Segal

Ikh blondzhe in geto
Fun gesl tsu gesl
Un ken nit gefinen keyn ort:
Nito iz mayn liber, vi trogt men ariber?
Mentshn, o zogt khotsh a vort.
Es laykht af mayn heym itst
Der himl der bloyer
Vos zhe hob ikh itst derfun?
Ikh shtey vi a betler
Bay yetvidn toyer
Un betl – a bisele zun.

Friling, nem tsu mayn troyer,
Un breng mayn libstn,
Mayn trayer tsurik.
Friling, af dayne fligl bloye,
O nem mayn harts mit
Un gib es op mayn glik.

Ikh gey tsu der arbet
Farbay undzer shtibl,
In troyer – der toyer farmakht.
Der tog a tsehelter,
Di blumen farvelkte,
Zey vyanen – far zey iz oykh nakht.
Far nakht af tsurikvegs,
Es noyet der troyer,
Ot do, hostu, libster, gevart.
Ot do inem shotn
Nokh kentik dayn trot iz,
Flegst kushn mikh liblekh un tsart.

Friling, nem tsu mayn troyer...

S'iz hayyor der friling
Gor fri ongekumen.
Geblit hot zikh benkshaft nokh dir.
Ikh ze dikh vi itster
Balodn mit blumen,
A freydiker geystu tsu mir.
Di zun hot fargosn
Dem gortn mit shtraln
Tseshprotst hot di erd zikh in grin.
Mayn trayer mayn libster
Vu bistu farfaln?
Du geyst nit aroys fun mayn zin.