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DER YIDDISH-VINKL August 8, 2003

By age 13, David Einhorn was writing poems in Hebrew. He continued to write his popular poems, often for the Forverts, until his passing in 1973. On the occasion of his 30th yahrzeit, excerpts from several of his poems ran in the pages of the Forverts devoted to “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry.” What follows is an early piece about when, as a wanderer in a strange land, he looked for consolation in the leaves of a birch tree. In the second piece, Einhorn directs his ire at Nazi Germany in “Oh, Germany,” a scathing indictment of the Holocaust that could just as easily be titled “The Curse.”

The transliteration is by Goldie Gold; the English version is by Gus Tyler.

Di Beryozkele

Ruik, ruik, shoklt ir geloktes, grines kepl

Mayn vaysinke beryoskele un davnt on a shir,

Yedes, yedes bletele irs sheptshet shtil a tfile

Zay shoyn, kleyn beryoskele, mispalel oykh far mir!

Ikh bin do an elnter gekumen fun der vaytn

Fremd iz mir der Got fun dan un fremd iz mir zayn shprakh,

Nisht er vet mayn troyer zen un nisht farshteyn mayn tfile,

Khotsh ikh vel mispalel zayn, mipalel zayn a sakh.

O Daytshland Du

O, Daytshland du, di velt vet nit fargesn,

Vos du host opgeton di mentshheyt oyf der erd,

Host alts tseshtert, vos heylik iz un tayer,

Farfleytst di velt mit trern, blut un fayer.

Has un mord, retsikhe un farrat,

Dikh farshilt der foygl oyfn tsvayg,

Fun boym a yede blat,

Di grozn oyf di felder, di khayes in di velder.

Akhuts dem oysvurf, velkher geyt in ayer trit,

Iz nit keyn zakh, vos krikht, vos geyt, vos flit

Oyf undzer oremen, farpayniktn planet,

Vos zol nit oysshrayen dayn shtrof in zayn gebet!

Er ruft oys tsu Got zayn gebet oyf nekome:

O, Got, gis oys oyf im dayn flamen-tsorn!

Heyb oys oyf im dayn shvern rikhter-orem!

Zol zayn fun im, vos s’iz fun undz gevorn —

A land fun khurves un nomenloze kvorim,

An oysgebrent land fun eygene hent farbrent

Fun alemen gemitn, fun keynem nit derkent.

The White Birch

Quite quietly, the birch does shake its head

Its curly head of green and trembling leaves.

The leaves did talk, and this is what they said:

“We hope our prayer for you the Lord receives.”

I am a lonely soul from far away

Your God is strange, so are the words He speaks

I fear He does not understand the words I say

I hope He finds that I’m a soul He seeks.

Oh, Germany

Oh, Germany, the world will not forget

What you have done to mankind on this earth

For all that’s holy you have now upset

And to a newborn Hell you did give birth.

Hatred, murder, terror you unleashed

You’re cursed by every bird in every tree

By every blade of grass you are impeached

To one and all, you are the enemy.

Except for those who follow in your way

All things that walk or creep or crawl

Upon this planet on this painful day

A punishment upon your head do call.

They all cry out in solemn saddened prayer

That You unleash Your wrath upon their head

Yes, let them know that You are truly there

And make them pay for every one they bled.

Yes, lift Your mighty arm against them all

And do to them what they have done to us.

Then let the hand of death upon them fall

And then unnamed just turn them into dust.

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