Song written in the Vilno ghetto by Kasriel Broydo (1907 – 1945), author and director of theater revues and concerts in the ghetto. He was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to a Latvian concentration camp. In January, 1945 he was transferred to Germany and was forcibly drowned in the Baltic Sea near Konigsburg together with hundreds of other Jews. Composer unknown.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


We’re standing by the walls
With heartache, lost, defenseless,
With hands that hang and fall
Just like the weeping willow branches.
Into the void eyes stare
Peering blindly through the denseness
Only pain is there —
The infinite.

Hard to view the world through crowded dwellings,
Tall gates of ghetto walls ali light dispelling
Yet when you close your eyes,
Then everything appears like dreaming,
And you almost surmise
The great wide world.

In my memory you’ll never die,
My dirge —
Is your heartfelt,
And your mournful song.
I see all your weeping,
Your sadness I see.
I hear all your pleas,
What will be, what will be?
Within your ghetto alleys there’s no room,
Sadness the heart sustains,
Although I know the hurt —
The love always remains. . .
In my memory you’ll never die!

Mir shteyen bay di vent
Mit hertser mit farklemte,
Mit aropgelozte hent
Vi bay a veynendiker verbe.
Es kukn oygn shtar
Un zinken ayn tif in der vaytkeyt
Un s’blaybt in zey der tsar. —
Di eybikeyt.

Shver tsu zen di velt durkh enge moyern.
Di shayn hobn farshtelt di geto toyern –
Farmakhst di oygn nor.
Dan zestu alts vi in a kholem,
S‘dershaynt vi af der vor
Di groyse velt.

Dikh fargesn vel ikh keyn mol nit.
— Eykho —
Iz dayn hartsike,
Dayn troyerik lid,
Kh’ze do dayne trern,
Dayn umet un dayn payn.
Kh‘her do dayn gebet:
Vos vet zayn, vos vet zayn?
In dayne geto geslekh iz mir eng.
Dos harts azoy batribt,
Un khotsh kh‘farshtey s’tut vey —
Dokh tv mir azoy lib. . .
Dikh fargesn vel ikh keyn mol nit!

מיר שטײען בײַ די װענט
מיט הערצער מיט פֿאַרקלעמטע,
מיט אַראָפּגעלאָזטע הענט
װי בײַ אַ װײנענדיקע װערבע.
עס קוקן אױגן שטאָר
און זינקען אײַן טיף אין דער װײַטקײט
און ס׳בלײַבט אין זײַ דער צער —
די אײביקײט.

שװער צו זען די װעלט דורך ענגע מױערן,
די שײַן האָבן פֿאַרשטעלט די געטאָ־טױערן —
פֿאַרמאַכסט די אױגן נאָר,
דאָן זעסטו אַלץ, װי אין אַ חלום,
ס׳דערשײַנט װי אױף דער װאָר
די גרױסע װעלט.

דיך פֿאַרגעסן װעל איך קײן מאָל ניט!
— איכה —
איז דײַן האַרציקע
דײַן טרױעריק ליד.
כ׳זע דאָ דײַנע טרערן,
דײַן אומעט און דײַן פּײַן.
כ׳הער דאָ דײַן געבעט:
װאָס װעט זײַן. װאָס װעט זײַן?
אין דײַנע געטאָ–געסלעך איז מיר ענג.
דאָס האַרץ אַזױ באַטריבט,
און כאָטש כ׳פֿאַרשטײ ס׳טוט װײ —
דאָך איז מיר אַזױ ליב. . .
דיך פֿאַרגעסן װעל איך קײן מאָל ניט!

Song Title: Geto

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Kasriel Broydo
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: כּתריאל ברױדאָ
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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