Lid Fun Mendl Beylis

The Song of Mendel Beilis
ליד פֿון מענדל בײליס

Mendel Beilis (1874-1934) was the victim of one of the most notorious blood-libel accusations in Russia in 1911. He was the superintendent of a brick kiln in Kiev, where 12-year-old Andrei Yushchinsky had been seen playing before his murder. Beilis was arrested for allegedly using the boy’s blood for ritual purposes, even though the leader of a gang of thieves, Vera Cheberiak, was implicated. The trial took place in Kiev, September 25-October 28, 1913, at which anti-Semitic statements were brazenly pronounced by the chief prosecutor A. I. Vipper. The case attracted world-wide attention and protests, and finally, Beilis was acquitted. The song was sent in to the VIVO magazine Yidisher folkor. It was adapted from the song “Vi halt ikh dos oys?” (How do I bear it?) by Mark Warshawsky.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


How can one bear it?
The Jew asks, astonished.
His delicate mind cannot fathom it.
In the present day,
in the twentieth century,
that such an atrocity could happen.
Theologians, scholars can barely grasp it,
they speak out with scathing protests
against the slanderous blood-libel.
They cry out, they ask:
How can one bear it?

When those demons there in Kiev,
common criminals, murder that child,
it’s Mendel Beilis, an innocent man, who is thrown in prison
and he is accused of that dreadful sin,
in order to create the slander of a blood-libel.
The tyrant Zamislavski impudently speaks out
in order to provoke a wild pogrom.
How can one bear it,
how can one bear it!

Being in the courtroom to hear out the accusations
of that evildoer Vipper, the prosecutor,
hot, bloody tears spring into my eyes
to see the deception happening there.
How he seeks to distort every honest word
that the honest witnesses declare
to show that Beilis is guilty of the murder.
How can one bear it,
how can one bear it!

“Who cannot see this murderer, this wild killer,
this Jew, thirsting after Christian blood.”
His back bent, his face dismal and pale,
the stamp of the exile on him, the downtrodden Jew,
he looks over at his enemies, confused,
a sigh tearing itself out from his heart,
his dry lips asking one question:
How can one bear it,
how can one bear it!

There in prison, in a dark room,
night comes like a black curtain concealing the Torah.
There sits Mendel Beilis, constantly worried.
He longs for his wife and children and languishes.
It won’t let him rest and it won’t let him sleep.
He cries quietly and prays: “God, help me!
Enough already, You are punishing me too much, God,
I cannot bear it,
I cannot bear it!”

Vi halt men dos oys?
Der yid fregt farvundert,
Zayn eydeler moyekh kon dos nisht farshteyn.
Bay der yetstiker tsayt,
In tsvantsikstn yorhundert,
Aza min retsikhe zol kenen geshen.
Teologn, gelernte, zey bagrayfn dos kam*,
Mit sharfe protestn .zey tretn aroys
Kegn dem bilbl fun aliles-dam.
Zey shrayeri, zey fregn:
Vi halt men dos oys?

Az dort in kiev, di shvartse khavruse,
Gemeyne farbrekher, zey teytn dos kind.
Mendl Beylis umshuldik, im varft men in tfise
Un im klogt men on in der shreklekher zind,
Tsu makhn a bilbl fun aliles-dam,
Der tiran Zamislavski tret khutspish aroys,
Kedey oyfhetsn a vildn pogrom.
Vi halt men dos oys,
Vi halt men dos oys!

Tsu zayn in gerikht di taynes oystsuhern
Fun dem roshe Viper, dem prokuror,
in di oygn zikh shteln heys-blutike trern
Tsu zen dos falshkeyt vos dortn geyt for.
Vi er zukht tsu fartumlen yedes emese vort,
Vos di erlekhe eydes zogn dbrt oys,
Tsu bavayzn az Beylis iz shuldik in dem mord.
Vi halt men dos oys,
Vi halt men dos oys!

Ver es zet nisht dem merder, dem vildn rotseyakh,
Dem yid vos er dorsht nokh krishtlekhn blit (blut),
Der rukn geboygn, dos ponem vist un bleykh,
Der shtempl fun dem goles, der dershlogener yid,
Er kukt vi fartsveyflt tsu di sonim akegn,

• koym

A zifts fun dem hartsn im rayst zikh aroys.
Zayne trukene lipn eyn shayle zey fregn:
Vi halt men dos oys,
Vi halt men dos oys?

Dort in der tfise, in a fintstern kheyder,
In dem shvartsn paroykhes kumt di nakht.
Dort zitst Mendl Beylis farkimert keseyder,
Nokh zayn vayb un kinder er benkt un er shmakht.
Dos lozt im nisht ruen, dos lozt im nisht shlofn,
Er veynt shtil un bet: Got, helf mir aroys!
Genug shoyn, tsu fil, got, tustu mikh shtrofn,
lkh halt es nisht oys,
lkh halt es nisht oys!

װי האַלט מען דאָס אױס?
דער ייִד פֿרעגט פֿאַרװונדערט,
זײַן אײדעלער מוח קאָן דאָס נישט פֿאַרשטײן,
בײ דער יעצטיקער צײַט,
אין צװואַנציקסטן יאָרהונדערט,
אַזאַ מין רּציחה זאָל קענען געשען.
טעאָלאָגן, געלערנטע, זײ באַגרײַפֿן דאָס קאַם (קױם),
מיט שאַרפֿע פּראָטעסטן זײ טרעטן אַרױס
קעגן דעם ביבול פֿון עלילת-דם,
זײ שרײַען, זײ פֿרעגן:
ױ האַלט מען דאָס אױס?

אַז דאָרט אין קיעװ, די שװאַצע חבֿרותא,
געמײנע פֿאַרברעכער, זײ טײטן דאָס קינד,
מענדל בײליס אומשולדיק, אים װוּאַרפֿט מען אין תּפֿיסה
און איס קלאָגט מען אָן אין דער שרעקלעכער זינד,
צו מָאַכן אַ בילבול פֿון עלילת-דם,
דער טיראַן זאַמיסלאַװסקי טרעט חוצפּיש אַרױס,
כּדי אױפֿהעצן אַ װילדן פּאָגראָס,
ױ האַלט מען דאָס אױס?
װי האַלט מען דאָס אױס?

צו זײַן אין געריכט די טענות אױסצוהערן
פֿון דעם רשע װיפֿער, דעם פּראָקוראָר,
אין די אױגן זיך שטעלן הײס-בלוטיקע טרערן
צו זען דאָס פֿאַלשקײט װאָס דאָרטן גײט פֿאָר.
װי ער זוכט צו פֿאַרטומלען יעדעס אמתע װאָרט,
װאָס די ערלעכע עדות זאָגן דאָרט אױס,
צו באַװײַזן אַז בײליס איז שולדיק אין דעם מאָרד.
װי האַלט מען דאָס אױס?
װי האַלט מען דאָס אױס?

װער עס זעט נישט דעס מערדער, דעם װילדן רוצח,
דער ײד װאָס ער דאָרשט נאָך קריסטלעכן בליט (בלוט),
דער רוקן געבױגן, דאָס פּנים װיסט און בלײך,
דער שטעמפּל פֿון דעס גלות, דער דערשלאָגענער ייִד,
ער קוקט װי פֿאַרצװײפֿלט צו די שׂונאים אַקעגן,
א זיפֿצ פֿון דעם האַרצן איס רײַסט זיך אַרױס,
זײַנע טרוקענע ליפּן אײן שאלה זײ פֿרעגן:
װי האַלט מען דאָס אױס?
װי האַלט מען דאָס אױס?

דאָרט אין דער תּפֿיסה, אין א פֿינצטערן חדר,
אין דעס שװואַרצן פֿרוכת קומט די נאַכט,
דאָרט זיצט מענדל בײליס פֿאַרקימערט כּסדר,
נאָך זײַן װײַב און קינדער ער בענקט און ער שמאַכט.
דאָס לאָזט אים נישט רוען, דאָס לאָזט איס נישט שלאָפֿן,
ער װײנט שטיל און בעט: גאָט, העלף מיר אַרױס!
גענוג שױן, צו פֿיל, גאָט, טוסטו מיך שטראָפֿן,
איך האַלט עס נישט אױס!
איך האַלט עס נישט אױס!

Song Title: Lid Fun Mendl Beylis

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Unknown
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
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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