Friday, May 4, 2007

Isn't its the biggest irony

Mordecai Gebirtig (1877 - 1942), made his living as a carpenter but was celebrated throughout the Yiddish-speaking world as a folk poet and songwriter—the "troubadour of the Jewish people. During World War II, he continued to write and perform, using the medium of song to chronicle his experiences under the German occupation. In June 1942, Gebirtig, age 65, was shot and killed by German soldiers when he refused to comply with a deportation order. one of his best composition is "Undzer shtetl brent"(while our town Burns). I was thinking of French riots, London Bombing, Mumbai Train blast, Delhi Diwali bombing, September-11 and various unlimited terror attacks. Gebirtig wrote Our Town is Burning in response to a 1936 pogrom in the Polish town of Przytyk. In retrospect, the song seems prophetic of the Holocaust, but Gebirtig had hoped its message ("Don't stand there, brothers, douse the fire!") would be heard as an urgent call to action. He was reportedly gratified to learn, during the war, that Cracow's underground Jewish resistance had adopted Our Town is Burning as its anthem. where entire Islamic terrorism is linked with Hitler, the situation of 1936 is repeating again.... and the song validates itself in real world. you need real player to hear the song...
Es brent! Briderlekh, s'brent! It's burning, brothers, it's burning! Oy undzer orem shtetl, nebokh, brent Oy, our poor Town is burning, Beyze vintn mit irgozn Evil winds, full of anger Raysn brekhn un tzeblozn Rage and Revenge, Smash and Shatter Shtarker nokh di vilde flamen Stronger now the wind flame grows, Altz arum shoyn brent! All around now Burns Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh And you stand and look just so, mit verlegter hent With your folded hands... un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh And you stand and look just so, Undzer shtetl brent While our Town burns! S'brent, briderlekh, s'brent! It's burning, brothers, it's burning! Oy undzer orem shtetl nebekh brent our poor Town, brothers, burns! S'hobn shoyn di fartzungen soon the rabid tongues of fire S'gantze shtetl aygengetzungen While consuming each house entire Un di beyze vintn hudzhen As the wild wind blows and howls S'gantze shtetl brent! The whole Town's up in flames! Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh And you stand and look just so, mit verlegter hent With your folded hands... un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh And you stand and look just so, Undzer shtetl brent While our Town burns! S'brent, briderlekh, s'brent! It's burning, brothers, it's burning! Oy skon kholile kumen der moment God Forbid the movement should arrive, Undzer shtot mit undz tzuzamen That our town, with us, together Zol oyf ash avek in flamen should go up in ash and fire Blaybn zol, vi nokh a shlakht Leaving when the slaughter's ended Nor puste shvaze vent! Charred and empty walls! Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh And you stand and look just so, mit verlegter hent With your folded hands... un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh And you stand and look just so, Wie undzer shtetle brent How our beautiful Town burns! S'brent briderlekh s'brent! It's burning, brothers, it's burning! Di hilf iz nor in aykh aleyn gevendt And salvation hangs on you alone Oyb dos shtetl iz aykh tayer If our town is dear to you Shteyt nit brider lesht dos fayer Grab the bucket, douse the fire Lesht mit ayer eign blut Douse it with your very blood, Bavayzt az ir dos kent Show that you know how! Shteyt nit brider ot azoy zikh don't stand there, brothers, looking on Mit farleygte hent with futile, folded arms Shteyt nit brider lesht dos fayer Grab the bucket, douse the fire Undzer shtetl brent! While Our Town burns.............

4 comments:

Jewel said...

This moved me to tears. Thank you for posting it, along with the Yiddish words and their translation. Simply beautiful.

JR said...

Interesting Post. I had never heard of him before. Are there also two pictures in the article? It looks like there are but they won't show up on my computer for some reason.

PM said...

hi jr,

thats audio, you need real player or real alternative to hear that....

wellington said...

25 years ago I was a newly arrived political exile in Frankfurt. I will never forget the night when I first heard S'Brent on the radio. I could barely speak German but somehow I understood Gebirtig's Yiddish just fine.

Thank you for posting the song. It is beautiful.

You are right about the current context, too. Nothing much changes, does it? Despite the poseurs who always proclaim that “Never again!” but go and look the other way.