On his 85thyahrzeit, Sh. Anski was featured in the Pearls of Yiddish Poetry columns of the Yiddish Forward. Sh. Anski was the nom de plume that the composer derived from his mother; his given name was Rapoport. Sh. Anski’s most memorable work was the classic “Der Dibek,” (“The Dybbuk”). He wrote two popular songs dedicated to the Bund, a militant revolutionary organization of Jews in Eastern Europe.
What follows are two such numbers, transliterated by Goldie Gold and translated into English by Gus Tyler.
Tsum Bund: In Zaltsikn Yam Fun di Mentshlekhe Trern
In zaltsikn yam fun di mentshlekhe trern
Gefint zikh a shreklekher tkhom;
Er ken shoyn nit tifer, nit finsterer vern,
Im tseykhnt a blutiker shtrom
To the Bund: In The Salty Sea of Human Tears
In the salty sea of human tears
One hears a painful frightening scream
For one beholds years after years
That life’s an endless blood-soaked stream.
The second selection is a song that many in America who felt close to the Bund sang on virtually every occasion that their members and sympathizers met.
Brider un shvester fun arbet un noyt.
Ale vos zaynen tsezeyt un tseshpreyt,
Tsuzamen, tsuzamen, di fon zi iz greyt
Zi flatert fun tsorn un fun blut iz zi royt.
A shvue, a shvue oyf lebn un toyt!
Himl un erd vet undz oyshern
Eydes veln zayn di likhtike shtern
A shvue fun blut un a shvue fun trern
Mir shvern, mir shvern, mir shvern!
Brothers and sisters in struggle and need
All who are scattered and far spread apart
Together, together, our flag says, “Let’s start.
At this very moment, with you I do plead.”
An oath on our lives is now what we need.
Heaven and earth to our oath will listen
The stars be our witness as they brightly glisten
Our oath, yes indeed. Our oath, yes indeed.