The Mendele Review: Yiddish Literature and Language
(A Companion to MENDELE)

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Contents of Vol. 12.006 [Sequential No. 197]
Date: 2 March 2008

Partisans Issue (Part Two)

1) This issue of TMR (ed).
2) Letters to the editor from Hershl Hartman and Leybl Botwinik
3)
"Der oyfrays fun a soldatn-heym" ('The Demolition of a Soldier's Home') [M. Gildenman (Diadya Misha, pseud.)], Part Two
4) Yiddish Partisan Songs: "Shtil di nakht" and "Yid du Partizaner"
5) Meredith CD Covers

1)---------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 March 2008
From: ed.
Subject:
This issue of TMR

The second half of the partisan story begun in the last issue of TMR is here completed. Written by the partisan leader Dyadye Misha (pseud.), it describes a military action by a young musician who is also a resourceful partisan. Is there another such klezmer hero in the literature of the Holocaust? Exploiting his knowledge of the traditional music of the Ukrainians among whom he has lived, he is able to join the assorted band of performers, beggars and townsfolk that are permitted to enter the town without papers on this special day. It is a festival day and the occupying Germans have thrown a bone to the local population that streams to the principal church. A motley group of mendicants and musicians, Motele with his violin among them, gather in front of the church. Motele is able to kindle the hearts of the natives by adeptly playing favorite folk melodies; he equally impresses a Nazi officer who is recruiting entertainers for the town's German officers' club. Motele is conscripted to be a military musician and his spying function soon becomes an active incendiary one. He sees the possibility of blowing up the officers' club and with the help of outside associates proceeds to realize a daring plan. Its successful conclusion brings a moment of intense emotion to Motele. Revenge is sweet, affording not only an opportunity to hurt drastically a hated enemy, but a way meager and convoluted though it may be of restating one's unquenchable love for a savagely murdered father, mother, sister.

The entire issue, with its two moving songs, Shtil di nakht and Yid, du partizaner centers on the partisan experience, a chapter of Jewish life whose heroism went unacknowledged for many years but has now won respect and appreciation and will not soon be forgotten. The second song contains the powerful word revenge, but like most Jewish partisan songs, these two celebrate life and look to the future.

2)-----------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 March 2008
From: Hershl Hartman and Leybl Botwinik

a. Hershl Hartman writes: In addition to the citations in TMR 12.005, please note two other relevant brochures: Nakhman Mayzil (Nachman Meisel), Hirsh Glik un zayn lid 'Zog nisht keynmol', Ykuf Farlag NY, 1949, 63 pp. and Hirsh Glik, Lider un Poemes, mit an araynfir fun Nakhman Mayzil, Ykuf Farlag NY, 1953, 62 pp. The first examines in detail many different versions of the song, including translations into many languages, including five in English, and also describes a full-color film made in France in 1947 by a Dutch director, starring Khayele Goldshteyn, who had popularized the song in Holland, France and Belgium. The 1953 pamphlet includes the full texts of 14 of Glik's poems and lyrics and a 29-pp. biographical and critical essay by Mayzil. See too http://www.deathcamps.org/occupation/glik.html and http://epyc.yivo.org/content/11_7.php.

 

b. Leybl Botwinik writes that the English translation of the song Zog Nit Keynmol has a common mistake in it: "I was just visiting the impressive collection of the song 'Zog Nit Keynmol'. Note that the English translation has a common mistake in it: 'From lands of palm-trees to the far-off lands of snow / We shall be coming with our torment and our woes'. Very often, the word vaysn [white] is switched with 'vaytn' [far-off]. The original Yiddish text correctly states 'vaysn' [white]. It would be illogical for the poet, living in a wintery Vilna to speak of far-away white lands [if anything, the palm-tree-land is far away] Note, the French translation is correct. The correct text should be: 'From THE LAND of palm-trees to the WHITE LAND of snowS [-plural for the rhyme, or make snow and woe singular] / We shall be coming with our torment and our woes.'"

3)----------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 March 2008
From: ed.
Subject:
"Der oyfrays fun a soldatn-heym" ('The Demolition of a Soldier's Home'), Part Two [Moyshe Gildenman (Dyadya Misha, pseud.) Oyfn veg tum zig, pp. 10-16.

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Notes
Two problematic words appear in this story: vizgen ], which I guess to be a typo for [voyen] 'scream' which fits the meaning more or less. Another puzzling word is . It is clear from the context that it refers to an explosive substance. tal is Polish for 'thallium' but thallium is a toxin not an explosive. (But it can catch fire under certain conditions). In the story the explosive is transported in a sack and in a violin case. Maybe it was a slang term for a cheap explosive.

4)----------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 March 2008
From: Robert Goldenberg
Subject: Yiddish Partisan Songs

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.    "Shtil di nakht"

i.      audio (click on phonograph image)

ii.    lyrics in (a) Yiddish, (b) romanization and (c) English translation (click on image to enlarge)



2.    "Yid du partizaner"

i.      audio (click on phonograph image)

ii.    lyrics in Yiddish and English translation

Text Box: Jew, You Partisan

Josh Waltezky is the performing artist of Shtil di nakht and Yid du partizaner. He has been described as a lifelong force in the field of Yiddish music, as teacher, performer and composer. He was a founding member of Kapelye, an early, leading band of the klezmer revival. He co-produced the Grammy-nominated album of Jewish songs of resistance, 'Partisans of Vilna' (1989). 'Partisans of Vilna: The Songs of World War II Jewish Resistance' was nominated for a Grammy award in the folk category in 1991." See http://www.docurama.com/filmmakerdetail.html?filmmakerid=87.

5)-----------------------------------------------------
Date: 2 March 2008
From: Robert Goldenberg
Subject: Meredith CD Covers

 



[Meredith is heard singing "Zog nit keyn mol as du geyst dem letstn veg" in TMR 12.005].

 

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End of The Mendele Review Issue 12.006
Editor, Leonard Prager
Editorial Associate, Robert Goldenberg

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