Ikh Benk Aheym

I Long For My Home
איך בענק אַהײם

Song created in the Vilno ghetto. Words are by Leyb Rozental (1916 – 1945) who wrote a number of plays for revue theatres. He was drowned by the Germans in the Baltic Sea near Konigsburg in January 1945. Composer unknown.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


When you are young,
Your spirit’s strong. —
Then your pursuit is gain,
Forsake, forget
Your home, your nest,
The time is not regained.
When your old age draws near,
The past then reappears,
We question what occurred.
How little we observed —
Just yesterday my childish voice was heard.

I want to see my home once more
Are things the way they were before,
The old worn porch, the old gnarled tree,
The roof from which the walls hung free, —
My poor old home.

Four walls, a table and a bench,
T’was here my childhood years were spent;
And here I dreamed my dreams alone,
My song of youth, my wild oats sown,
I long for home.

I hear the soulful singing sounds of night,
The wind like a mother holds me tight.
Oh, the longing for the charm once known
Found in a mother’s humble home.
It may be brick or made of stone,
it may be straw or built of loam, —
l long for home.

With life carefree,
The hours flee,
I stand aside and think:
Man has, I’m sure,
His place, his fare.
His warm bed, nothing more.
My home is marred for me,
My home is barred to me,
I wander all about
And I must do without. —
If I now only had my humble home.

I want to see my home once more. . .

Ven, mentsh, bist yung
Iz groys dayn shvung —
Dan yogstu zikh nokh glik.
Farlozt, fargest
Dayn heym, dayn nest.
Di tsayt kumt nit tsurik.
Ven s’kumt di elter on
Tustu zikh a dermon
Un trakhst vos iz geshen,
Zikh nit arumgezen —
Vi lang bin ikh aleyn a kind geven.

Ikh vil nokh eyn mol zen mayn heym,
Tsi iz nokh alts dort vi geven,
Ot der parkan, ot der boym,
Ot do der dakh vos halt zikh koym —
Mayn orem heym.

Fir vent, a tishl un a bank,
Ot do farbrakht hob ikh es lang,
Kh’hob do gekholemt in geheym
Mayn yugntlid, mayn yugnt-troym
Ikh benk aheym.

Ikh her es zingt in nakhtikn geroysh,
Der vint vi a mame mir in shoys,
O vifl benkshaft, vifl kheyn
Farmogt a mames orem heym,
S’meg zayn fun tsigl, tsi fun shteyn,
S’meg zayn fun shtroy, s’meg zayn fun leym —
Ikh benk aheym.

Vi zorgloz fray
Loyft mentsh farbay,
Ikh shtey derbay un kler,
Er hot gevis
Zayn ort, zayn tish,
Zayn varem bet nit mer,
Mayn heym iz mir farshtert,
Mayn heym iz mir farvert,
Ikh vander na-venad
Ikh bin keyn mol nit tsu zat —
Ven ikh volt itst mayn orem heym gehat!

Ikh vil nokh eyn mol zen mayn heym. . .

‫װען, מענטש, ביסט יונג,‬
‫איז גרױס דײַן שװוּנג —‬
‫דאַן יאָגסטו זיך נאָך גליק.‬
‫פֿאַרלאָזט, פֿאַרגעסט‬
‫דײַן הײם, דײַן נעסט,‬
‫די צײַט קומט ניט צוריק.‬
‫װען ס׳קומט די עלטער אָן,‬
‫טוסטו זיך אַ דערמאָן,‬
‫און טראַכטסט װאָס איז געשען,‬
‫זיך ניט אַרומגעזען —‬
‫װי לאַנג בין איך אַלײן אַ קינד געװען.‬

‫ איך װיל נאָך אײן מאָל זען מײַן הײם.‬
‫ צי איז נאָך אַלץ דאָרט װי געװען,‬
‫ אָט דער פּאַרקאַן, אָט דער בױם,‬
‫ אָט דאָ דער דאַך װאָס האַלט זיך קױם —‬
‫ מײַן אָרעם הײם.‬

‫פֿיר װענט, אַ טישל און אַ באַנק,‬
‫אָט דאָ פֿאַרבראַכט האָב איך עס לאַנג,‬
‫כ׳האָב דאָ געחלומט אין געהײם‬
‫מײַן יוגנטליד, מײַן יוגנט־טרױם,‬
‫איך בענק אַהײם.‬

‫איך הער עס זינגט אין נאַכטיקן גערױש‬
‫דער װינט װי אַ מאַמע מיר אין שױס.‬
‫אָ װיפֿל בענקשאַפֿט, װיפֿל חן‬
‫פֿאַרמאָגט אַ מאַמעס אָרעם הײם,‬
‫ס׳מעג זײַן פֿון ציגל, צי פֿון שטײן‬
‫ס׳מעג זײַן פֿון שטרױ, ס׳מעג זײַן פֿון לײם —‬
‫איך בענק אַהײם.‬

‫װי זאָרגלאָז, פֿרײַ
‫לױפֿט מענטש פֿאַרבײַ,‬
‫איך שטײ דערבײַ און קלער:‬
‫ער האָט געװיס‬
‫זײַן אָרט, זײַן טיש.‬
‫זײַן װאַרעם בעט ניט מער.‬
‫מײַן הײם איז מיר פֿאַרשטערט,‬
‫מײַן הײם איז מיר פֿאַרװערט,‬
‫איך װאַנדער גע־ונד,‬
‫איך בין קײן מאָל ניט צו זאַט —‬
‫װען איך װאָלט איצט מײַן אָרעם הײם געהאַט!‬

‫ איך װיל נאָך אײן מאָל זען מײַן הײם. . .‬

Song Title: Ikh Benk Aheym

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Leyb Rozental
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: לײב ראָזענטאַל
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.

Browse the Collection
Enter your email to download free sheet music for ​Ikh Benk Aheym