DER YIDDISH-VINKL February 20, 2004


Published February 20, 2004, issue of February 20, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Shmerke Kaczerginski was a Jewish poet who died 50 years ago. To commemorate the anniversary, the Yiddish Forward devoted one of its columns last month, “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry” to his life and his works. What follows are fragments of his work cited in the Yiddish Forward. The transliteration is by Goldie Gold. The English versions are by Gus Tyler.

* * *

Shmerke’s poem “Shtiler, Shtiler,” sometimes called “Ponar,” a shtetl near Vilna where thousands of Jews were slaughtered, was written to music created by a 10-year-old boy who had won a music contest in the ghetto.

Shtiler, Shtiler

Shtiler, shtiler, lomir shvaygn

Kvorim vaksn do.

S’hobn zey farglantst di sonim

Grinen zey tsum blo;

S’firn vegn tsu Ponar tsu,

S’firt keyn veg tsurik,

Iz der tate vu farshvundn,

Un mit im dos glik.

Quiet, Quiet

Quiet, quiet, let’s be silent

Graves are growing here.

By our foes these graves were planted

They grow and with them grows our fear.

A path does lead unto Ponar

There is no avenue of return

A dear old father disappears

There’s naught to do but yearn and burn.

* * *

This one is probably Kaczerginski’s most popular song and was often sung by the youth in the Vilna Ghetto.


Undzer lid iz ful mit troyer,

Dreyst iz undzer munter-gang,

Khotsh der soyne vakht baym toyer,

Shturemt yugnt mit gezang.

Yung iz yeder, yeder, yeder ver es vil nor

Yorn hobn keyn batayt

Alte kenen, kenen, kenen oykh zayn kinder

Fun a nayer, frayer tsayt.

Youth Hymn

Yes, our song is full of sorrow

Although the way we march is bold.

Our foes say they control tomorrow

We shout, our future’s still untold.

Young, oh young, is everyone

The years that pass don’t mean a thing.

Yes, each and every single one

A better freer world will bring.

Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover!
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.