Ikh Ganve In Der Nakht

I Steal at Night
איך גנבֿע אין דער נאַכט

Words by Moishe Broderson (1890-1956), music by David Beigelman (1987-1944). Written for the Ararat Theatre of pre-war Warsaw. The song, which incorporates the argot of the underworld, was a popular repertory piece of the singer-actors Leon Liebgold and Lilly Liliana. Liebgold submitted the song to Mina Bern who transcribed it for compilers. During the Holocaust the melody was used for two songs in the Lodz Ghetto, collected by Gila Flam: “Kemfn” (Fight) and “Amerike hot erklert” (America Declared). The second states that “America has declared . . . that England must let the Jews have their own country.”

Illustration of musical notes from the books


He: I steal in the night,
the night is pitch black,
and you have caught me,
and stolen my heart.

She: If I have stolen, that’s good,
a sign that I am useful,
I am, after all, a capable one,
the apple of your eye.

And don’t interfere
in our dealings,
we’re in cahoots, in cahoots with the city patrol.
Just slowly play
your part
my guy, and say to me, “I do, I do.”

She: I steal your heart,
it’s no fortune,
you have suffocated me (a pun on an endearment)
and squeezed out my bitter gall.

He: If I darling you, that is good,
my love is great, you know,
I am squeezing the evil
the bitterness out of you.

He: I steal a diamond,
a lash of pearls,
and in the end I see you going around
with Yosele the Germanized Jew.

She: What’s the difference if you see
a German or a Frenchman,
As far as I’m concerned, he can get
a skin disease with a rash.

Yosele said to me
that I am a rare treasure,
he said he would give me
a great heap of happiness.

He: What does he want, that washrag, what?
coming on again,
does he want a knife
slipped into his side?

The switchblade sparkles
it plays like a bow.
No need for violence,
I’ll just slit his throat.

She: Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead,
again you’re making me nauseous,
big shot, do you want to go back
into prison?

Well, ok, I won’t go
with Yosele any more.
So, we’ll go to Buenos Aires,
and travel, just the two of us.

He: It’s good that way,
that’s just what I mean,
you will be the mistress of the house,
and I will be the man.

Er: lkh ganve in der nakht,
Di nakht iz khoyshekh-shvarts,
Un du host mikh fartshapet,
Gelatkhnt mir mayn harts.

Zi: Az ikh latkhn iz dokh gut,
A simen, az ikh toyg,
lkh bin dokh a berye,
Dos vaysl fun dayn oyg.

Undz nisht shatn ,
Keyn masematn,
Mit shtot-parad zenme blat, zenme blat.
Shpil pavole
Nor di role
Zog mir, yat, harey-at, harey-at.

Zi: lkh, ganve tsu dayn harts,
Es iz keyn kapital,
Un du host mikh derdushet,
Mir tsugedrikt di gal.

Er: Az ikh dushe iz dokh gut,
Mayli libshaft iz dokh groys,
lkh drik fun dir dos beyzkeyt,
Dos biternish aroys.

Er: lkh latkhn a brilyant,
In perelekh a baytsh,
Tsum sot ze ikh dikh geyn gor
Mit Yoselen dem daytsh.

Zi: A nafke mine zest
A daytsh tsi a frantsoyz,
Bay mir ken er bakumen
A parekh mit a royz.
S’hot Yosele gezogt,
Az ikh bin an antik,
Er zogt er vet mir shenken
A groyse kupe glik.

Er: Vos vii der vishtukh, vos,
Oyf s’nay zikh ongezetst,
Tsi vii er gor a meser ,
In zayt arayngezetst.
Dos knipekhl er glantst,
Es shpilt dokh vi a smik
lkh broykh dokh nisht keyn brunes,
Vayl teykev makh ikh khik.

Zi: Nu shoyn, nu shoyn, nu shoyn,
Oyf s’nay du drikst di gal,
Vilst, Vaptshele, shoyn vider
Arayn in kriminal?

Nu shoyn, ikh vel nisht geyn,
Mit Yoselen mer geyn,
To vein mir keyn Boyne
Forn bloyz in tsvey’n (tsveyen).

Er: Azoy iz take gut,
lkh meyn dokh ot-o dos
Vest zayn di baleboste
Un ikh der balebos.

ער: איך גנבֿע אין דער נאַכט,
די נאַכט איז חושך-שװאַרץ,
און דו האָסט מיך פֿאַרטשאַפּעט,
געלדחנט מיר מײַן האַרץ.

זי: אַזּ איך לדחן איז דאָך גוט,
אַ סימן, אַז איך טױג,
איך בין דאָך אַ בריה,
דאָס װײַסל פֿון דײן אױג.

אונדז טינישט שאָטן,
קײן משׂא-מתּן,
מיט שטאָט פֿאַראַד זענימיר בלאַט, זענימיר
שפּיל פּאַװאָלע
נאָר די ראָלע
זאָג מיר, יאַט, הרי-אַתּ, הרי-אַתּ.

זי: איך גנבֿע צו דײַן האַרצ,
עס איז קײן קאָפּיטאַל,
און דו האָסט מיך דערדושעט,
מיר צוגעדריקט די גאַל.

ער: אָז איך דושע איז דאָך גוט,
מײַן ליבשאַפֿט איז דאָך גרױס,
איך דריק פֿון דיר דאָס בײזקײט,
דאָס ביטערניש אַרױס.

ער: איך לדחן אַ בריליאַנט,
אין פּערעלעך אַ בײַטש,
צום סוף זע איך דיך גײן גאָר
מיט יאָסעלען דעס דײַטש.

זי: אַ נפֿקא-מינה זעסט
א דײַטש צי אַ פֿראַנצוז,
בײ מיר קען ער באַקומען
אַ פֿאַרעך מיט אַ רויז.

סיהאָט יאָסעלע געזאָגט,
אַז איך בין אַן אַנטיק,
ער זאָגט ער װעט מיר שענקען
אַ גרױסע קופּע גליק.

ער: װאָס װיל דער װישטוך, װאָס,
אױף ס׳נײַ זיך אָנגעזעצט,
צִי װיל ער גאָר א מעסער,
אין זײַט אַרעַנגעזעצט.

דאָס קניפּעכל ער גלאַנצט,
עס שפֿילט דאָך װי אַ סמיק,
איך ברױך דאָך נישט קײן ברונעס,
װײַל תּיכּף מאַך איך כיק.

זי: נו שױן, נו שױן, נו שױן,
אױף סינײַ דו דריקסט די גאַל,
װילסט, װאַפּטשעלע, שױן װידער
אַרײַן אין קרימינאַל?

נו, שױן, איך װעל נישט גײן
מיט יאָסעלען מער גײן,
טאָ װעלן מיר קײן בױנע
פֿאָרן בלױז אין צװײ׳ן (צװײען)

ער: אַזױ איז טאַקע גוט,
איך מײן דאָך אָטאָ דאָס,
װעסט זײַן די באַלעבאָסטע
אוֹן איך דער באַלעבאָס.

Song Title: Ikh Ganve In Der Nakht

Composer: David Beigelman
Composer’s Yiddish Name: דוד בײגלמאַן
Lyricist: Moishe Broderson
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: משה בראָדערזאָן
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song

The Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song anthology comprises songs that were either never printed before or appeared in rare and inaccessible publications — sometimes in different versions and without proper sources. Most of the songs in this book were submitted by readers of Chana and Yosl’s column “Perl fun der yidisher poezye” (Pearls of Yiddish Poetry) in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forverts (The Forward), initiated in October, 1970. Over 25 years, thousands of songs were collected in correspondence and on cassettes from readers throughout the world, and they represent a veritable national Yiddish song archive. Chana Mlotek, in her introduction, writes, “In the course of years the inquiries, contributions and enthusiasm of these readers have kept our own interest unflagging and have reinforced our dedication to this effort. And in recent years our participants have also been augmented by new readers from the former Soviet Russia, who receive our newspaper there or from newly-arrived immigrants in this country and Israel.”

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