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Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)

Lena 14 Sep 00 - 02:33 AM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 00 - 03:52 AM
Lena 14 Sep 00 - 03:59 AM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 00 - 04:06 AM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 00 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Vincenzo Roma Italia 14 Sep 00 - 07:30 AM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 00 - 02:14 PM
Bill D 14 Sep 00 - 03:45 PM
MMario 14 Sep 00 - 03:48 PM
Ferrara 14 Sep 00 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,marcelloblues 14 Sep 00 - 07:18 PM
Ferrara 14 Sep 00 - 11:47 PM
GUEST 17 Mar 08 - 06:13 PM
Monique 18 Mar 08 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,LynnT 18 Mar 08 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,Ann 26 Nov 08 - 04:16 AM
Monique 26 Nov 08 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,me 28 Dec 08 - 08:01 AM
Genie 28 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM
polaitaly 29 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,guest -me 10 Jan 09 - 01:24 PM
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Subject: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: Lena
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 02:33 AM

Do you happen to have the words of "Se questo e' Un Uomo?!"I'm looking for them,thanks-ooops....Grazie.


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Subject: ADD: Se questo è un uomo
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 03:52 AM

Hey, Lena. I'm not Italian, but I went to Rome last year and they said my accent was pretty good. Can I do it?
I can just barely make out bits of meaning. Sounds like it might be a very powerful song. There's some sort of connection with Auschwitz, but I can't quite make it out. So far, I've found sites about Levi in French and Italian. I studied Latin, so I can just get pieces of the meaning, not the whole thing.
Can somebody give us a translation?
-Joe Offer-

Se questo è un uomo

Voi che vivete sicuri
Nelle vostre tiepide case,
Voi che trovate tornando a casa
Il cibo caldo e visi amici:
Considerate se questo è un uomo
Che lavora nel fango
Che non conosce pace
Che lotta per mezzo pane
Che muore per un sì o per un no.
Considerate se questa è una donna,
Senza capelli e senza nome
Vuoti gli occhi e freddo il grembo
Come una rana d’inverno
Meditate che questo è stato:
Vi comando queste parole.
Scolpitele nel vostro cuore
Stando in casa andando per via,
Coricandovi , alzandovi
Ripetete ai vostri figli.
O vi si sfaccia la casa,
La malattia vi impedisca,
I vostri nati torcano il viso da voi.

[Primo Levi, da Se questo è un uomo]


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: Lena
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 03:59 AM

Joe,I love you.I'll stick it in the folk nazi thread


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Subject: Primo Levi
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 04:06 AM

Levi, Primo

Levi, Primo, (1919-1987), Italian novelist, essayist, and scientist, whose works were greatly influenced by his imprisonment at the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz in Southern Poland. Levi was born into a Jewish family in Turin, Italy. He studied chemistry at the local university from 1939 to 1941. In 1943, he was working during World War II as a research chemist in Milan, Italy, when German intervention in northern Italy prompted him to join an anti-fascist resistance group. Levi was captured and deported in 1944 with other Italian Jews and political prisoners to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, where he survived by doing laboratory work for the Nazis. He resumed his career as an industrial chemist in 1946, retiring in 1974 to concentrate on writing.

Levi's many books include Se questo è un uomo (1947, translated and originally published as If This Is a Man, later changed to Survival in Auschwitz, 1959), a personal observation of the inhumane treatment of prisoners at Auschwitz; La tregua (1958, originally published as The Truce, also published under the title The Reawakening, 1963), which describes his long journey home by way of Poland and Russia; II sistema periodico (1975, The Periodic Table, 1984), a group of stories that use chemical elements as metaphors for human personalities; and Se non ora, quando? (1982; If Not Now, When?, 1985), which describes his wartime resistance group's efforts to counter a prevalent belief in the passivity of Jews in the face of persecution by Nazis.


"Levi, Primo." Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000
http://encarta.msn.com (14 Sept. 2000)

© 1999-2000 Microsoft Corporation.
All rights reserved.


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Subject: Primo Levi
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 04:20 AM

The deeper I dig, the more interesting this gets. Click here for the Encyclopedia Britannica article on Primo Levi. Clicxk here for an interview of Levi that looks very interesting.
Thanks, Lena.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: GUEST,Vincenzo Roma Italia
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 07:30 AM

Ciao Lena and ciao to all!! Escuse me but I have the computer only at work, I can use it not always and I writing at 1,30 PM in Rome, but you time is little different... so for these reasons I can't answer you or help you ealry. I have arrive to late now. I can tell more only that Levi has wrote another book "La tregua" I don't know in english. However I am very ignorant about the writer!!!

Ciao

Vincenzo


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 02:14 PM

Refresh. Can somebody give us a translation of the song-poem?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 03:45 PM

I will try. I'm going to guess the passages I'm not sure of. (Someone else can fix it) It's a very powerful poem.

SE QUESTO E' UN UOMO
WHETHER THIS BE A MAN OR NOT

Voi che vivete sicuri
You who live secure

Nelle vostre tiepide case,
In your warm houses

Voi che trovate tornando a casa
You who find, on returning to your house,

Il cibo caldo e visi amici:
A warm dinner and friendly faces:

Considerate se questo è un uomo
Consider, whether this is a man or no:

Che lavora nel fango
Who works in ?hunger?

Che non conosce pace
Who does not know peace

Che lotta per mezzo pane
Who eats his dinner of bread alone

Che muore per un sì o per un no.
Who may die through a casual yes or no.

Considerate se questa è una donna,
Consider whether this be a woman or no,

Senza capelli e senza nome
Without hair and without a name

Vuoti gli occhi e freddo il grembo
With empty eyes and cold skin (?)

Come una rana d'inverno
Like a frog in wintertime

Meditate che questo è stato:
Meditate that these things have been:

Vi comando queste parole.
I lay these words before you (...literally, I command you these words)

Scolpitele nel vostro cuore
Carve them in your heart

Stando in casa andando per via,
Staying in your home, walking through the streets

Coricandovi , alzandovi
?lying down?, waking up

Ripetete ai vostri figli.
Repeat them to your children.

O vi si sfaccia la casa,
Or your house will ?be taken? from you,

La malattia vi impedisca,
Illness will hinder you,

I vostri nati torcano il viso da voi.
Your own kin will turn their face from you.


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: MMario
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 03:48 PM

powerful words. sitting here with goosebumps


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: Ferrara
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 03:53 PM

Yeah. BTW I forgot I was using Bill's cookie ... if anyone wondered how Bill learned Italian so quickly....

Rita Ferrara


Who was that masked translator?
I was wondering if I should trust a translation by somebody named "Bill Day." I saw a note (this one) from Ferrara farther down, but I hadn't read it; and I figured that Ferrara's would be the definitive translation. Well, it turned out that Day did a pretty good job.
And then I found out that he was she. Or vice versa.
-Joe Offer


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: GUEST,marcelloblues
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 07:18 PM

today I learn something about my culture, this is really great. I don't think it has anything to do with nazy. Obviously Primo Levi was an italian jew writer who experienced detention in a nazy detention camp, but the pain he describes in these words, is related to hard workin' and bein' left down (something like "Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out"). There's a great unseen link between farm workin' in pre-war Italy and MS Delta Blues.

I think the first line should be translated as: Would you pretend to call this a man?

Cheers, blues the hardway Marcello


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Subject: RE: Italian mudcatters:you have the words of
From: Ferrara
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 11:47 PM

Marcello, at first I thought also that he was talking about poor and disenfranchised people everywhere, and in a way I believe this is so. But the image of a woman "without hair and without a name" is from the camps.

I typed in the history of what that phrase seems to be about, then decided it was too distressing for this forum and erased it. (It made me want to cry.) Anyway, to me it does seem to be talking specifically about the camps although the poem can be read in a more generalized way.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 08 - 06:13 PM

A few friendly translation corrections on Bill's:

line 5 Considerate se questo è un uomo
       Consider if this is a man

6: Che lavora nel fango
    Who works in the mud

8: Che lotta per un pezzo di pane
   Who fights for a piece of bread

13: Vuoti gli occhi e freddo il grembo
    Empty eyes and cold womb

19: Coricandovi alzandovi
    Going to bed, waking up

I'm stuck on the meaning of "vi si sfaccia la casa" and "i vostri nati torcano il viso da voi" - your births twist your face from you?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: Monique
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 04:29 AM

Vi si sfaccia la casa = your hourse falls down /collapes (quite lit. the house unmakes itself to you)
I vostri nati torcano il viso: if your children turn away from you/ turn their backs to you (nati = born = children; torcere il viso = twist one's face = turn one's back)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: GUEST,LynnT
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 09:19 PM

Powerful words. There is an echo in the phrases

"Vi comando queste parole.
I lay these words before you (...literally, I command you these words)

Scolpitele nel vostro cuore
Carve them in your heart

Stando in casa andando per via,
Staying in your home, walking through the streets

Coricandovi , alzandovi
?lying down?, waking up

Ripetete ai vostri figli.
Repeat them to your children "

of a traditional Jewish prayer (in Hebrew) the Kriet Sh'ma, which in the translation I learned as a child reads in part "And these words which I command thee this day shall be upon thy heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children. And thou shalt speak of them when thou sittest in thy house, when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shalt be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them on the doorposts of thy house and upon thy gates. That ye may remember and do all of my commandments, and be holy unto your God. "

By the way, this prayer is the basis of the Mezuzot (small cylinders holding a scroll with certain prayers inscribed) observant Jews place upon their doorposts, as well as some other customs.

Lynn T


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: GUEST,Ann
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 04:16 AM

I too have been struggling with the final 3 lines -

They are written in the subjunctive/imperative voice (torcere - torcano, sfare - sfaccia)and are, therefore, in the nature of a order, or a curse upon, those who brought such appalling suffering upon the Camp inhabitants:

The best I can come up with is:
"O, may your house destroy itself,
May sickness impede (or halt) you,
May your descendants turn their faces from you."

Does anyone have any better suggestions please? I remain very much a student of this beautiful language and have much still to learn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: Monique
Date: 26 Nov 08 - 05:34 AM

I'd say that "O" is "or" and not "O", it's a sort of curse if they don't comply with the request.

I lay these words before you
Carve them in your heart
Staying in your home, walking through the streets
Lying down*, waking up
Repeat them to your children
Or may your house destroy itself,
May sickness impede (or halt) you,
May your descendants turn their faces from you.

* While English speaking people say "I'm going to bed", Italian, Spanish, French... speaking people can also say "Vado a coricarmi" / "Voy a acostarme" / "Je vais me coucher" literaly "I'm going to lie myself down" . You could also translate that as "Every night and every morning" but it's more abstract


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: GUEST,me
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 08:01 AM

SE QUESTO E' UN UOMO
WHETHER THIS BE A MAN OR NOT

You, who live safely
In your lukewarm houses
Who returning home find
hot food and the faces of friends
think, whether this is a man
who works in the mud
who doesn't know peace
Who fights for half a loaf
who dies from a yes or a no.
thnk whether this is a woman
Without hair or name
empty eyes and cold womb
like a frog in winter
think that this has been.
I commend these words to you.
carve them into your hearts
at home or in the street
at your going down and your getting up
tell them to your children
or may your home crumble
and illness beset you
and may your children turn their face from you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: Genie
Date: 28 Dec 08 - 09:06 AM

Thanks to all of you for asking for the lyrics, posting them, and correcting them.   Is audio of the song readily available? Or a MIDI?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: polaitaly
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 06:31 AM

Primo Levi is one of my most beloved writers. I remember that I cried when he, as many others nazi camps survivors, took his own life some years ago. The poem is one of the most powerful on Auschwitz; Marcelloblues before on the thread said that "is related to hard workin' and bein' left down" but the poem is on Auschwitz, and on the terrible fear that Levi had that what had happened there could be forgotten, or not believed. But I have never heard that someone had made a song of it; if it's true, I would like to know where I can find it. By the way, the last translation by Guest,me is very good.
paola


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Se questo è un uomo (Italian)
From: GUEST,guest -me
Date: 10 Jan 09 - 01:24 PM

Thanks, Paola - some mistakes I picked up later - tiepide is probably warm, isn't it?

I have not heard of any song - and yes, it is VERY specific - much more that about labour camps although of course auschwitz II was a labour camp - but Levi also intended (see his i sommersi e i salvati) the wider lessons to be learnt - and the need to be aware of what has happened and what could happen.

Anyone interested should read his books.

I keep thinking of the poem in light of whats going on in Gaza.


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