Hirsh Lekert

The Ballad of Hirsh Lekert
הירש לעקערט

This is a part of the ballad of Hirsh Lekert, based on an actual incident: the attempted assassination on May 5, 1902, of a Vilna governor by a member of the Jewish Labor Bund, the shoemaker Hirsh Lekert, in retaliation for the brutal flogging of a group of workers because they had participated in a May 1st demonstration. Hirsh Lekert was hanged on May 29, 1902.

Text and music published by S. Lehman in 1921. Hirsh Lekert was also the subject of dramas by H. Leivick, A. Kushnirov and other Yiddish writers.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Since Hirshke was leaving his house,
he said: “A fine night.”
Since Hershke went over to the circus,
he passed the time there for a little while.

While Hershke was standing by the balcony,
he cast his gaze all around;
When the governor came out from the circus,
he shot him in the side.

“Oh, brothers, do not be afraid
of the rope they have put around my neck;
When my wife bears a son,
let her name him after me.

“Oh, brothers, do not forget me,
the world will yet ring out my fame;
May you take revenge on the tyrants
and may you sing a song about me.”

Azoy vi Hershke iz fun shtub aroysgegangen,
Gezogt hot er: — a gutinke nakht.
Azoy vi Hershke iz tsum tsirk tsugegangen,
A kleyne vayle hot er dort farbrakht.

Vi Hershke iz bay der lozhe geshtanen,
Zayn blik hot er gevorfn oyf vayt;
Ven der gubernator iz fun tsirk aroysgegangen,
Hot er im geshosn in a zayt.

— Ay, brider, ir zolt zikh nit dershrekn,
Dem shtrik vos m’hot farvorfn oyf mir;
Az mayn froy vet a zun geboyrn,
A nomen zolt ir gebn nokh mir.

— Ay, brider, ir zolt mikh nit fargesn,
Di velt vet mit mir nokh ton klingen;
Fun di tiranen nekome zolt ir nemen
Un a lid fun mir zolt ir zingen.

אַזױ װי הערשקע איז פֿון שטוב אַרױסגעגאַנגען,
געזאָגט האָט ער: — אַ גוטינקע נאַכט,
אַזױ װי הערשקע איז צום צירק צוגעגאַנגען,
אַ קלײנע װײַלע האָט ער דאָרט פֿאַרבראַכט.

װי הערשקע איז בײַ דער לאָזשע געשטאַנען,
זײַן בליק האָט ער געװאַרפֿן אױף װײַט;
װען דער גובערנאַטאָר איז פֿון צירק אַרױסגעגאַנגען,
האָט ער אים געשאָסן אין אַ זײַט.

— אײַ, ברידער, איר זאָלט זיך ניט דערשרעקן,
דעם שטריק װאָס מ’האָט פֿאַרװאָרפֿן אױף מיר;
אַז מײַן פֿרױ װעט אַ זון געבױרן,
אַ נאָמען זאָלט איר געבן נאָך מיר.

— אײַ, ברידער, איר זאָלט מיך ניט פֿאַרגעסן,
די װעלט װעט מיט מיר נאַך טאָן קלינגען;
פֿון די טיראַנען נקמה זאָלט איר נעמען
און אַ ליד פֿון מיר זאָלט איר זינגען.

Song Title: Hirsh Lekert

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Unknown
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Time Period:20th century

This Song is Part of a Collection

Mir Trogn Song Book Cover with Illustrations

Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs

First published in 1972, Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs was reprinted six more times (in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) due to popular demand. The songs in this anthology represent a sampling of beloved folk and well-known Yiddish songs, many of which are scattered in various song collections; some appear in very rare and inaccessible collections; and some were never before published. Folk songs comprise about a third of this volume and were selected mainly on the basis of popularity and sometimes for their historic significance. Needless to say, they are only representative of the vast, rich treasure of Yiddish folk material. The selection was made not only on the basis of personal preference, but in the knowledge they are favorites of many who sing these songs. Most of the songs represent the repertoire that was sung at Yiddish summer camps, May 1st demonstrations and at social gatherings. Many songs were introduced to American Jewry by Jewish immigrants who came to the United States after World War II, for whom these songs had been favorites in Poland and other East European communities destroyed by the Nazis.

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