The Song Remains

People of the Warsaw Ghetto merged with a map of the Nazi occupation of Poland

דאָס ליד איז געבליבן

Welcome to our collection of Yiddish poems with English translations from Nazi German occupied Poland. We’ll be publishing one new poem per week into 2027, so be sure to subscribe to get free weekly updates.

  • Shmuel Vulman


    Right now – stream your brightest rays
    melt brightness into my eyes
    and pull me into white light
    swimming into a light stream

    and waves are flooding silver light
    it is a light strike
    I spread my hands out
    and swim in two small rudders thick waves of stars

    I dip deep into light waves
    on my shoulders – wings wave
    and my eyes are two stars
    I begin to dance in a ring of sunlight
    already broken all ladder steps
    I am pulled by starlight


    I closed darkness with herself
    let her cool down in her own shade!
    I was chilled by her cold bars
    I so longed for a warm sun ray!

    I emerged – eyes open – drinking light
    shoulders bared – bathed in rays.
    Gently rain tenderly fell on me
    and now my face is bathed in kisses

    It’s still so great to have a mother
    a warm hearted one who laughs and
    meets your gaze with loving eyes!
    I left confusion buried in the darkness
    let myself run with the sun rays
    and laugh out love and sing and shout


    Wherever you have been and didn’t come from
    the beautiful red morning star will light
    and if you walk into the dawn of sunrise
    give me your hand, and be a friend and dear to me today!

    And if you are sad – your day is darkened
    and into evening darkness goes your way
    then we must part at the beginning
    and you’re not my friend you are my enemy

    I carry parts of sun upon my shoulder
    with streaks of light my way it is now paved
    come with a smile or go away with sorrow!
    My field is full of blooming roses of my own
    and all my days are filled with spring
    waves of light and sun flood over me
    and into me alone…

  • Shmuel Vulman (1896-1941) was born in Kałuszyn, near Warsaw into a poor Hassidic family. He moved to Warsaw in 1917, and became active in the left Labour Zionists. He published poetry in many Yiddish journals, wrote a number of popular books, and also translated works from other languages into Yiddish.

    When the Nazis invaded Poland, he escaped to Białystok which was under Soviet rule, and was persecuted for his prior critical attitude toward Bolshevism. When the Nazis invaded Russia, he moved to Kremenits (in modern Ukraine), where he was killed by the Nazis along with fellow writers Sh. Zaromb and Yerakhmiel Nayberg.

    Vulman also published under the names: Y.-Sh. Prager, Sh.-Z. Vulf, L. (Leyzer) Felzner, Sh. V. Man, A. Masholnu, Sh. V., and Shin-vov, among others.

    Source: Congress for Jewish Culture

  • Ber Horovits

    Hot nights
    have drunk
    our stammering
    Naked we
    rolled around on roses
    Millions of songs
    died then

  • Ber Horovits (1895-1942) was born in the rural village of Majdan, in the Carpathian Mountains of eastern Galicia. He received a traditional Jewish education at home, and also studied at a Ukrainian primary school, and graduated from the Polish gymnasium in Stanisławów.

    He fought for the imperial Austro-Hungarian army during the First World War, and later studied medicine in Vienna. He was associated with a group of Yiddish authors in Vienna including Avrom Moyshe Fuks, Melech Ravitch, and Moyshe Zilburg.

    He later moved to Kraków, where he translated and adapted plays for the Krakover Yidish Teater, and ultimately back to Stanisławów.

    According to Melech Ravitch, “Ber Horowitz is one of the powerful Jewish poets. He sings loudly. His poetry is noisy, even the quiet tenor of his lyrics is noisy … He uses a language that is semi-gentile, Judeo-Slavic pidgin Yiddish. He is a splendid representative and this alone has a bit of a stir for him: What am I?”

    He was also a gifted artist.

    He was murdered by the Nazis at the age of forty-seven. According to the oral testimony of three Jewish survivors, he died on Hoshana Rabbah, 1942, with 9,000 Jews in Stanislawów. According to another source, he was murdered by local peasants in his birthplace of Majdan.

  • Misha Troyanov

    Close your doors, lock all up
    mad dogs are howling in this dark city

    Mad dogs are howling in this dark city
    waking little children – making them cry
    Those who long have been saddened
    will even sadder be

  • Misha Troyanov, also known as Misza Trojanow (1906-1942) was a pen name used by Moyshe Troyanovski. He was born in Dąbrowa Górnicza near Będzin, and later lived in Łódź and Warsaw. He and had a religious education, and later worked as a tutor, business agent, and storehouse employee. His literary work first appeared in a number of Yiddish newspapers and journals based in Łódź and Warsaw. He was killed by the Nazis in Otwock on 19 August 1942.

  • Sholem Zhirman

    It’s a mighty symphony
    just one word – not more:
    Over human soul
    Be an Engineer.

  • Miryem Ulinover

    When from my little village I was parted
    My grandfather took me to the lake
    the spring sun warmed the blue sky
    He handed me a note when we said goodbye

  • Borekh Gelman

    My Boss owns a clock
    like all bosses do
    but this clock was made funny
    by the firm “Time is Money”

  • Borekh Gelman

    Borekh (Baruch) Gelman (1910-1941) was born in Widze (Vidzy) near Vilnius, now in Belarus. Gelman wrote for many publications including Di Naye Folks-tsaytung, Kleyne Folks-staytung, Yugnt-veker, Bokhnshrift, Foroys, Viner Tog, and Literarishe Bleter. He moved to Warsaw in 1936 and lived there until 1939. When the Nazis invaded Poland he escaped back to Widze, but was killed there with his five brothers and sisters in a pogrom in 1941.