Am Yisroel Khay

The Jewish People Live!
עם ישׂראל חי

This song was written by M. Knapheise (b. 1910), poet who survived the war in Russia and migrated to Argentina, where he was editor of a Yiddish literary magazine. The music is by S. Beresovsky (1908-1975). The song was written after the Holocaust and was sung in the Displaced Persons camps in Europe.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Open door and open portal,
It’s enough, let’s not be mournful,
With flags unfurled and freedom’s torch held high.
From the burrow, from the bunkers,
Going onward’s what we long for,
While proclaiming: Am Yisroel Khay!

Once again our lives are thriving,
It’s our answer for surviving,
Our response to everything gone by;
Put a boulder on a boulder,
Placed above us winglike shoulders
Has our future: Am Yisroel Khay!

Again the sunshine’s ours,
Through tears our joy returns,
To life now, sisters, brother,
Our presence we affirm!

All the terror that existed
Bravely faced, our hope persisted,
Ghetto, death camp, full of pain and cries!
Jewish folk alive remaining
And once more our song containing
Our message: Am Yisroel Khay!

Yiddish language, mother language,
Was not silenced, dear its usage,
Stripped of pain, we know it will not die.
From the ashes, houses, spires,
Like a flag we held it higher,
We have done so: Am Yisroel Khay!

Again the sunshine’s ours. . .

Who’s to hammer, who’s to shovel,
Come on, fiddler, play your fiddle,
It wrings the heart and makes the spirit fly. . .
Mothers smile their children rocking,
Sing this song, their crying stopping,
Children sleep too: Am Yisroel Khay!

To the hoe and to the ploughshare,
Miracles will be performed here,
Add a hand and your devotion give,
While we all are here together,
Though we part, and paths may sever,
Sing with me: the Jewish people live!

Again the sunshine’s ours . . .

Efnt tir un efnt toyer,
Shoyn genug, genug der troyer,
Mit fonen-flater shpant atsind di fray.
Fun di bunkers, fun di lekher
Shtaygn veln mir alts hekher,
Vayl mir zogn: Am yisroel khay!

Vider oyfgeyn vet dos lebn
Un dermit a tikn gebn
Veln mir dos alts vos iz farbay;
Leygt a tsigl tsu a tsigl,
lber undz geshpreyt di fligl
Hot der goyrl — Am yisroel khay!

Es shaynt di zun shoyn vider,
Durkh trern shaynt dos glik,
Tsum lebn shvester, brider,
Mir kern zikh tsurik!

Vifl shrek s’iz nor faranen
Heldish zaynen mir oysgeshtanen,
Getos, lagers ful mit payn geshrey!
Yidish folk geblibn ze’mir
Un s’vet vider undzer zemer
Vayt farklingen: Am yisroel khay!

Yidish loshn, mame-loshn
Nit farshtumt un nit farloshn
Oysgesheylt iz shoyn fun payn un vey.
Fun di ashn, fun di shtoybn,
Vi a fon aroysgehoybn,
Hobn mir es — Am yisroel khay!

Es shaynt di zun shoyn vider. . .

Ver tsum hamer,
Ver tsum ridl,
Nem zikh klezmer
Tsu dayn fidl,
S’zol baym harts
A tsup ton, ot azoy. . .
Shmeykhlen mames iber vign
Un farvign mit dem nign
Zeyere kinder: Am yisroel khay!

Tsu der sher, tsum akerayzn,
Vunder veln mir nokh vayzn,
Leygt zhe ale tsu a hant getray,
Kol zman mir shteyen nokh
Baym rand do
Eyder ir geyt zikh funander
Zingt zhe mit mir: Am yisroel khay!

Es shaynt di zun shoyn vider. . .

עפֿנט טיר און עפֿנט טױער,
שױן גענוג, גענוג דער טרױער,
מיט פֿאָנען־פֿלאַטער שפּאַנט אַצינד די פֿרײַ.
פֿון די בונקערס, פֿון די לעכער,
שטײַגן װעלן מיר אַלץ העכער,
װײַל מיר זאָגן: עם ישׂראל חי!

װידער אױפֿגײן װעט דאָס לעבן,
און דערמיט אַ תּיקון געבן
װעלן מיר דאָס אַלץ װאָס איז פֿאַרבײַ;
לײגט אַ ציגל צו אַ ציגל,
איבער אונדז געשפּרײט די פֿליגל
האָט דער גורל — עם ישׂראל חי!

עס שײַנט די זון שױן װידער,
דורך טרערן שײַנט דאָס גליק,
צום לעבן, שװעסטער, ברידער,
מיר קערן זיך צוריק!

װיפֿל שרעק ס׳איז נאָר פֿאַראַנען
העלדיש זײַנען מיר אױסגעשטאַנען,
געטאָס, לאַגערס פֿול מיט פּײַן־געשרײ!
ייִדיש־פֿאָלק געבליבן זע׳ מיר
און ס׳װעט װידער אונדזער זמר
װײַט פֿאַרקלינגען: עם ישׂראל חי!

ייִדיש־לשון, מאַמע־לשון,
ניט פֿאַרשטומט און ניט פֿאַרלאָשן,
אױסגעשײלט איז שױן פֿון פּײַן און װײ.
פֿון די אַשן, פֿון די שטױבן,
װי אַ פֿאָן אַרױסגעהױבן
האָבן מיר עס — עם ישׂראל חי!

עס שײַנט די זון שױן װידער. . .

װער צום האַמער,
װער צום רידל,
נעם זיך קלעזמער
צו דײַן פֿידל,
ס׳זאָל בײַם האַרץ
אַ צופּ טאָן, אָט אַזױ. . .
שמײכלען מאַמעס איבער װיגן
און פֿאַרװיגן מיט דעם ניגון
זײערע קינדער: עם ישׂראל חי!

צו דער שער, צום אַקעראײַזן,
װוּנדער װעלן מיר נאָך װײַזן.
לײגט זשע אַלע צו אַ האַנט געטרײַ,
כּל זמן מיר שטײען נאָך
בײַם ראַנד דאָ
אײדער איר גײט זיך פֿונאַנדער
זינגט זשע מיט מיר, עם ישׂראל חי!

עס שײַנט די זון שױן װידער. . .

Song Title: Am Yisroel Khay

Composer: S. Beresovsky
Composer’s Yiddish Name: ס. בערעסאָװסקי
Lyricist: M. Knapheise
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: מ. קנאַפּהײַסע
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

We Are Here Book Cover with Illustrations of a red rising sun

We Are Here: Songs of the Holocaust

Compiled by sisters Malke Gottleib and Chana Mlotek, this collection of 40 songs, issued on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, reflects the suffering, despair, longing, as well as the strength, hope and courage that led the last remnant of enfeebled Jews to take up arms against the mammoth Nazi war-machine. Save for five songs, this compilation comprises songs that were actually written or sung in the ghettos and concentration camps. Four exceptions written after the war: “Babi Yar,” “Moyshelekh un Shloymelekh,” “Kadish,” and “Mayn mame hot gevolt zayn oyf mayn khasene” are often presented at commemorative gatherings and were therefore included. The fifth song “Am Yisroel Khay” was written in a D.P. camp and is an affirmation of the will of the survivors to build new lives for themselves, holding high their belief in the endurance of the Jewish people. To enable readers and singers not conversant with the Yiddish alphabet to utilize this collection, We Are Here! Songs of the Holocaust provides parallel transliterations and singable English translations by Roslyn Bresnick Perry.

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