Motele Fun Varshever Geto

Motele from the Warsaw Ghetto
מאָטעלע פֿון װאַרשעװער געטאָ

Words are by Reuven Lifshull (see note on author in Der Hoyfzinger Fun Varshever Geto). Composer unknown.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


In the narrow alleys of the ghetto,
Where the sun with effort sends a beam:
On his fragile body clothes with patches,
The tailor’s youngest son is to be seen.
Every morning looking like a shadow,
On his listless lips.the mark of want.
Through barbed wire steals from out the ghetto
To earn enough for bread – a job he hunts.

Motele, a decent fellow,
Motele, a skillful guy:
Motele, successful also,
Because our Motele, he excels in all he tries.

Jews rebel against the brutal tyrant,
Pools of blood in every ghetto street.
Motl helps in building the entrenchments,
His young face with hate and anger bleak.
In this fire two blue eyes are shining,
Thirst and hunger dry and crack his tongue,
Horror beats in his brave heart so daring,
For his people every bomb is flung.

Motele, a decent fellow. . .

Dzhike, Pave, Mile, Niske, Genshe-
Streets where flames are leaping all about,
The boom of cannon fire shatters Warsaw,
Cries for help are heard through helpless shout.
In the roar of falling bombs and cannons
Moti’s name is heard, it floats so free,
On barricades our hero fell among them,
His Bar Mitzvah didn’t live to see.

Motele, a decent fellow,
Motele, a skillful guy.
Motele, successful also
Because our Motl, he excelled in all he tried.

In di shmole geselekh fun geto,
Vu es rayst zikh koym arayn di zun —
Afn layb begodimlekh mit lates,
Loyft arum dem altn shnayders zun.
Yedn frimorgn vi a shotn
Mit farshmakhte lipelekh fun noyt —
Ganvet zikh adurkh di geto-drotn,
Tsu fardinen af a shtikl broyt.

Motele, a voyler bokher,
Motele, a groyser spets,
Motele hot fil hatslokhe,
Vayl undzer Motl iz a yat, a molodyets!

Yidn shteyen oyf kegn barbarn,
Taykhn blut in yeder geto-gas,
Motele helft boyen barikadn
Un dos peneml fun kas toyt blas.
In dem fayer finklen oygn bloye,
Dursht un hunger trikenen dos moyl;
S’klapt zayn heldish hertsele fun groyl;
Far zayn folk shikt er zey yede koyl.

Motele, a voyler bokher. . .

Dzhike, pave, mile, niske, genshe —
Tsungen fayer flakern iber zey.
S’klapn dort harmatn, s’tsitert varshe —
Gevald! hilkht op dos hilfloze geshrey,
In dem roysh fun bombes, kananadn
Molts nomen hot arumgeshvebt.
Vi a held gefaln af barikadn,
Zayn eygene bar-mitsve nisht derlebt.

Motele, a voyler bokher,
Motele geven a spets
Motele gehat hatslokhe,
Der kleyner Motl iz geven a molodyets!

אין די שמאָלע געסעלעך פֿון געטאָ,
װוּ עס רײַסט זיך קױם אַרײַן די זון —
אױפֿן לײַב בגדימלעך מיט לאַטעס,
לױפֿט אַרום דעם אַלטן שנײַדערס זון.
יעדן פֿרימאָרגן װי אַ שאָטן
מיט פֿאַרשמאַכטע ליפּעלעך פֿון נױט —
גנבֿעט זיך אַדורך די געטאָ–דראָטן,
צו פֿאַרדינען אױף אַ שטיקל ברױט.

מאָטעלע, אַ װױלער בחור,
מאָטעלע, אַ גרױסער ספּעץ.
מאָטעלע האָט פֿיל הצלחה,
װײַל אונדזער מאָטל איז אַ יאַט, אַ מאָלאָדיעץ.

ייִדן שטײען אױף קעגן באַרבאַרן,
טײַכן בלוט אין יעדער געטאָ־גאַס,
מאָטעלע העלפֿט בױען באַריקאַדן
און דאָס פּנימל פֿון כּעס טױט־בלאַס.
אין דעם פֿײַער פֿינקלען אױגן בלױע,
דורשט און הונגער טריקענען דאָס מױל;
ס׳קלאַפּט זײַן העלדיש הערצעלע פֿון גרױל:
פֿאַר זײַן פֿאָלק שיקט ער זײ יעדע קױל.

מאָטעלע, אַ װױלער בחור. . .

דזשיקע, פּאַװע, מילע, ניזקע, גענשע —
צונגען פֿײַער פֿלאַקערן איבער זײ,
ס׳קלאַפּן דאָרט האַרמאַטן, ס׳ציטערט װאַרשע —
געװאַלד! הילכט אָפּ דאָס הילפֿלאָזע געשרײ,
אין דעם רױש פֿון באָמבעס, קאַנאַנאַדן
מאָטלס נאָמען האָט אַרומגעשװעבט.
װי אַ העלד געפֿאַלן אױף באַריקאַדן,
זײַן אײגענע בר־מיצװה ניט דערלעבט.

מאָטעלע, אַ װױלער בחור,
מאָטעלע געװען אַ ספּעץ,
מאָטעלע געהאַט הצלחה,
דער קלײנער מאָטל איז געװען אַ מאָלאָדיעץ!

Song Title: Motele Fun Varshever Geto

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: ראובֿן ליפֿשיץ
Lyricist: Reuven Lifshitz
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
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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