Vu Ahin Zol Ikh Geyn

Where Shall I Go
װוּ אַהין זאָל איך גײן?

This song was written before the war and was popular in the ghettos and Displaced Persons camps. It is attributed to S. Korntayer, a Yiddish actor, who died in the Warsaw ghetto in 1942. Music is attributed to Oscar Strock. Variants were sung in other ghettos as well.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


The Jew’s always hounded and plagued,
Not sure of his hour or his day.
His life is in darkness enclosed,
His strivings are thwarted, opposed.
Deserted, no friends, only foe,
No safe place, no safe day to know.

Tell me where shall I go,
Who can answer my plea?
Tell me where shall I go,
Every door is barred to me?
Though the world’s large enough,
There’s no room for me I know,
What I see
S’not for me,
Each road’s closed, I’m not free —
Tell me where shall I go?

Der yid vert geyogt un geplogt —
Nisht zikher iz far im yeder tog;
Zayn lebn iz a fintstere nakht;
Zayn shtebn, alts far im iz farmakht.
Farlozn, bloyz mit sonim, keyn fraynd,
Keyn hofenung, on a zikhern haynt.

Vu ahin zol ikh geyn
Ver kon entfern mir?
Vu ahin zol ikh geyn
Az farshlosn z’yede tir?
S’iz di velt groys genug,
Nor far mir iz eng un kleyn —
Vu a blik,
Kh’muz tsurik,
S’iz tseshtert yede brik;
Vu ahin zol ikh geyn?

דער ייִד װערט געיאָגט און געפּלאָגט —
נישט־זיכער איז פֿאַר אים יעדער טאָג;
זײַן לעבן איז אַ פֿינצטערע נאַכט;
זײַן שטרעבן, אַלץ פֿאַר אים איז פֿאַרמאַכט,
פֿאַרלאָזן, בלױז מיט שׂונאים, קײן פֿרײַנד,
קײן האָפֿענונג, אָן אַ זיכערן הײַנט.

װוּ אַהין זאָל איך גײן,
װער קאָן ענטפֿערן מיר!
װוּ אַהין זאָל איך גײן,
אַז פֿאַרשלאָסן ז׳יעדע טיר?
ס׳איז די װעלט גרױס גענוג,
נאָר פֿאַר מיר איז ענג און קלײן —
װוּ אַ בליק,
כ׳מוז צוריק,
ס׳איז צעשטערט יעדע בריק;
װוּ אַהין זאָל איך גײן?

Song Title: Vu Ahin Zol Ikh Geyn

Composer: Oscar Strock
Composer’s Yiddish Name: אָסקאַר סטראָק
Lyricist: S. Korntayer
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: ס. קאָרנטײַער
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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