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.

  • M Goldshteyn is a pseudonym for Moyshe Bershling (1900?-1941), who was born in Piaski. He later lived in Łódź and Bialystok, where he worked as a Jewish history teacher. He was an organizer in the Linke Poale-Tsiyon (leftist workers of Zion), and cofounded an organization devoted to the colonization of Birobidzhan. He wrote poems for numerous publications. He was arrested in Bialystok in July 1941, and was never seen again.

  • Miryem (Miriam) Ulinover

    When the day is hot
    thirst becomes oppressive
    I’ve been sent out for drinks
    or to the local bar

  • Shloyme (Shlomo) Burshteyn

    A cloud hung his tears on my window
    and clothed me in his fears.
    If I were a small crying gray cloud,
    then someone would see my tears.
    But I’m not a cloud…
    no one sees my grief,
    and my tears have no power to reach
    anyone’s windows…

  • Shloyme (Shlomo) Burshteyn (1920-1943) was born in Białystok, and began writing poetry at age 17. He was confined in the Białystok ghetto, where he was active in the underground. He later spent a short time in the Łódź Ghetto before being deported to the Bliżyn concentration camp where he was murdered in 1943.

  • Miryem (Miriam) Ulinover

    “Never ever take this off
    not in joy or sadness
    unless you are washing
    to eat a piece of bread.”

  • Mordche (Mordechai) Gebirtig

    Farewell, my Kraków!
    farewell my dear
    The wagon waits before my house
    and mad enemies are here drive me out
    like you would cruelly chase a dog

  • Hinde Nayman

    From my hair rain is running
    my cheeks are wet
    I come to muddy thresholds as a guest
    am silent, about where and to whom

  • Hinde Grin-Nayman (1916-1944) was born in Łódź and spent her youth there. After studying literature and chemistry at Warsaw University, she started publishing poetry in Yiddish and Polish in 1934. She wrote a novel about Jewish student life that was never published. She and her husband Yerakhimiel Grin were imprisoned in the Janów concentration camp, and was murdered in 1944. Her song, Mir zitsn bam zamdbreg tsufusns un trinken lekhayim mitn toyt (We’re sitting by the edge of the sand and drinking “to life” with the dead) was popular in many death camps.

  • Mordche (Mordechai) Gebirtig

    One Two Three Four
    unemployed are we
    haven’t heard month’s long
    the factory’s hammering sound
    tools lay cold forgotten
    rust has made them rotten
    and we walk around the streets
    like the wealthy here and there
    like the wealthy here and there

  • Mordkhe (Mordechai) Gebirtig (1877-1942) was born Markus Bertig in Kraków, and is one of the best known Yiddish poets. He trained as a carpenter, but his true passion was the theater. He published his first book of poetry in 1920, and made many of his poems into songs.