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Lyr Req: Yiddish Partisan Song (Zog Nit Keyn Mol)

07 May 03 - 12:01 AM (#947503)
Subject: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song

Hello Friends,

Wondering if anyone has the lyrics in Yiddish to the famous World War II song "The Partisan", sometimes known as "The Jewish Partisan"?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Len Wallace

07 May 03 - 12:05 AM (#947506)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Joe Offer

Gee, it sounds familiar, Len, but I think I'm getting it confused with the Leonard Cohen song (click). Titles can be misleading - can you give us any more? I have lots of Yiddish songbooks, so I may be able to help.
-Joe Offer-

07 May 03 - 12:15 AM (#947513)
Subject: DTADD: Partizaner Lid (Hirsh Glik)
From: Mark Cohen

Len, if you're talking about the song by Hirsh Glik, "Partizaner Lid", here are the words:

Shtil, di nacht iz oysgeshternt
Un der frost hot shtark gebrent
Tsi gedenkstu vi ich hob dich gelernt
Haltn a shpayer in di hent?

A moyd, a peltsl un a beret
Un halt in hant fest a nagan
A moyd mit a sametenem ponim
Hit op dem soyne's karavan

Getsilt, geshosn un getrofn!
Hot ir kleyninker pistoyl
An oto, a fulinkn mit vofn
Farhaltn hot zi mit eyn koyl

Fartog, fun vald aroysgekrochn
Mit shney girlandn oyf di hor
Gemutikt fun kleyninkn nitsochn
Far undzer nayem, frayen dor

Here is a singable translation by Ruth Rubin. (I'm not able to translate it myself.)

Silence, and a starry night
Frost crackling, fine as sand
Remember how I taught you
To hold a gun in your hand?

In fur jacket and beret
Clutching a hand grenade
A girl whose skin is velvet
Ambushes a cavalcade

Aim, fire, shoot--and hit!
She, with he pistol small
Halts an autoful
Arms and all

Morning, emerging from the wood
In her hair a snow carnation
Proud of her small victory
For the new, free generation

According to Rubin, the song was written to commemorate the partisans of the Vilna ghetto, led by Itzik Matzkevitsh and Vitke Kempner, who in 1942 blew up a German ammunition column on the outskirts of the city.


07 May 03 - 12:46 AM (#947530)
Subject: DTADD: Zog Nit Keyn Mol! (Hymn of the Partisans)
From: Joe Offer

It's hard for me to be shown up by the estimable Dr. Cohen. This also could be the song that was requested. Also take a look at Unter Dayn Vayse Shtern in the Digital Tradition.
I see that Theo Bikel has a CD called Rise Up and Fight! Songs of Jewish Partisans. Looks interesting. I see there's one song on the CD called "Yid, Du Partizaner (The Jewish Partisan)" - but I can't find that song in a songbook.
-Joe Offer-

[Hymn of the Partisans]
(words by Hirsh Glik, music by Dmitri Pokrass)
Zog nit keyn mol az du geyst dem letstn veg,
Khotsh himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg.
Kumen vet nokh undzer oysgebenkte sho ?
S'vet a poyk ton undzer trot ? mir zaynen do!

Fun grinem palmenland biz vaysn land fun shney,
Mir kumen on mit undzer payn, mit undzer vey,
Un vu gefaln s'iz a shprits fun undzer blut,
Shprotsn vet dort undzer gvure, undzer mut.

S'vet di morgnzun bagildn undz dem haynt,
Un der nekhtn vet farshvindn mitn faynd,
Nor oyb farzamen vet di zun in dem kayor ?
Vi a parol zot geyn dos lid fun dor tsu dor.

Dos lid geshribn iz mit blut un nit mit blay,
S'iz nit keyn lidi fun a foygl af der fray,
Dos hot a folk tsvishn falndike vent
Dos lid gezungen mit naganes in di hent!

To zog nit keyn mol az du geyst dem letstn veg,
Khotsh himlen blayene farshteln bloye teg.
Kumen vet nokh undzer oysgebenkte sho ?
S'vet a poyk ton undzer trot ? mir zaynen do!
Never say that you are going your last way,
Though lead-filled skies above blot out the blue of day.
The hour for which we long will certainly appear.
The earth shall thunder 'neath our tread that we are here!

From lands of green palm trees to lands all white with snow,
We are coming with our pain and with our woe,
And where'er a spurt of our blood did drop,
Our courage will again sprout from that spot.

For us the morning sun will radiate the day,
And the enemy and past will fade away,
But should the dawn delay or sunrise wait too long.
Then let all future generations sing this song.

This song was written with our blood and not with lead,
This is no song of free birds flying overhead,
But a people amid crumbling walls did stand,
They stood and sang this song with rifles held in hand.
(Translated by Elliot Palevsky)

Poem by Hirsh Glik (1922-1944), music by Dmitri Pokrass. The song became the hymn of the United Partisan Organization in 1943. It spread to all the camps in Eastern Europe and later to all Jewish communities the world over. It was translated into several languages. Today it is sung at memorial meetings for martyred Jews. Published by Yehude Ayzman in 1945.

Source: Mir Trogn a Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs, Eleanor Mlotek

07 May 03 - 01:11 AM (#947542)
Subject: DTADD: Yid du Partizaner (Jewish Partisan)
From: Joe Offer

Ah, here it is. I found it at Zemerl, the Jewish Song Database. I can't quite figure out who the songwriter is, and I couldn't find any reference to the song in any of the books I have.
-Joe Offer-

Yid Du Partizaner (The Jewish Partisan)

Fun di getos tsife vent
In di velder fraye
Anshtot keytn af di hent
Kh'halt a biks a nayem
Af di oyfgabes mayn fraynt
Kusht mikh haldz un aktsl
Mitn biks bin ikh fun haynt
Fest tsunoyfgevaksn.

Veynik zenen mir in tsol,
Drayster vi milyonen
Raysen mir af barg un tol
Brikn ershalonen.
Dem fashist fartsitert vert,
Veyst nit vu fun vanen
Shturmen yidn fun unter der erd,
Yidn partizanen.

S'vot nekome hot a zin
Ven mit blut farshraybst im
Far dem heylikn bagin
Firn mir di shtraytn
Neyn! mir veln nit keynmol zayn
Di letste mohikaner
Brengt di nakht der zunenshayn
Der yid, der partizaner.

From these ghetto prison walls
Into the free forests
Instead of chains on my hands
I carry a new rifle
On missions, my friend kisses me
Throat and shoulder
From this day on
I am one with my weapon.

We are few in number
But we count for millions.
On hills and in valleys
We explode bridges, brigades.
The fascist will tremble
Won't know from where
Jews, partisans,
Storm up from under the earth.

A word like "revenge" counts for something
When you're illing to write it in blood.
We strike before
Sacred day's dawn.
And no! We will not be the last,
The Last of the Mohicans
We bring sunshine to the night,
Jews Partisans!

Zemerl -

07 May 03 - 01:23 AM (#947551)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Joe Offer

In a search for something like this, you go off on the most interesting tangents. Take a look at My Grandmother's Yiddish.
-Joe Offer-

07 May 03 - 08:50 AM (#947763)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Wolfgang

Shtil di Nacht is one of my all time favourite songs.
Zupfgeigenhansel sings it and other songs on 'Jiddische Lieder'.


07 May 03 - 02:31 PM (#947990)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Joe Offer

The song Mark posted is probably the best-known partisan song. I didn't recognize it at first, until Wolfgang identified it as Shtil di Nacht (click for alternate translation).
-Joe Offer-

08 May 03 - 04:20 AM (#948426)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: GUEST,Len Wallace

Dear Friends,

Many thanks for the lyrics to several partisan songs and for the links. this has aided me immensely.

For music that never dies,

Len Wallace

08 May 03 - 05:55 AM (#948477)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Mark Cohen

Yes, Joe, in the collection We Are Here: Songs of the Holocaust (Mir Zaynen Do: Lider fun di Getos un Lagern), the song is called Shtil di Nacht. That's a wonderful book, by the way, published by the Workmen's Circle (Arbeter-Ring).


08 May 03 - 06:41 AM (#948497)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Wolfgang

(smile) I had not consciously tried to identify the song Mark has posted. I even hadn't seen he had used another title and I had to look back to see what Joe meant.

German folksongs are know by their first few words and the titles the authors had given them are mostly completely unknown and rarely used. So when I saw the song I looked for the first few words to see whether I knew it and referred to it this way. This habit is hardwired in my brain. That's all.


09 May 03 - 12:05 AM (#949097)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Mark Cohen

It's not just German folksongs that have their titles changed by the folk process, Wolfgang. Eric Bogle's song "No Man's Land" is commonly called either "The Green Fields of France" or "Willie McBride." Archie Fisher's "Dear Dark Eyes" was recorded by Stan Rogers with the title "Dark Eyed Molly." And many people know the Joni Mitchell song "Both Sides Now" as "Clouds".

The translation of "Shtil di Nacht" that Joe posted is fairly literal. The book I mentioned above gives a different singable translation, credited to Roslyn Bresnick-Perry. I think each translation has its strong points and its less than strong points:

Still the night, and full of starlight,
And the frost - burned on the land;
Do you still remember how I taught you
To hold a revolver in your hand?

A girl, a sheepskin and a beret,
In her hands she holds a gun,
A girl with her face as smooth as velvet
Keeps watch of the enemy's caravan.

An aim, a shot right on the target,
Her small pistol had reached its mark,
An auto filled high with ammunition
Her shot had stopped it in the dark.

At dawn she crept out of the woodland,
With snowy garlands in her hair,
Encouraged by her little victory
For our future freer heirs.


09 May 03 - 11:47 AM (#949373)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Joe Offer

I think I'm going to have to get that book, Mark. I thought the three Mlotek books covered Yiddish music very well, but I'm finding out there is much more. Besides, there's a sale at - 25 percent off everything until May 11.

Anybody find out anything else on "Yid Du Partizaner"?
-Joe Offer-

09 May 03 - 12:18 PM (#949400)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Rick Fielding

By the way, if anyone is unfamiliar with Len's music or albums....investigate. He's simply one of the best. One of Pete Seeger's favourites as well, I might add.

He DOES tell accordion jokes, but nobody's perfect!


Click to Len's Website

12 May 03 - 02:06 PM (#951164)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Joe Offer

I got a note from Len Wallace. He thanks us all for our help. He thinks "Zog nit kein'mol" was the one he wanted.

See this thread for French partisan songs.
-Joe Offer-

Here's Len's message:

Dear Friends,

Many, many thanks for the responses for lyrics to Jewish Partisan songs.
I think i found the right one with "Zog nit kein'mol". Very much appreciate all of you answering me.

For music that never dies,

Len Wallace

03 Oct 04 - 10:45 AM (#1287395)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: GUEST,abraham Diner

Try to listen to the song ZOG NIT KEIN MOL as sung in Yiddish
by the great Paul Robeson ( live in Moscow) in the 1940s.
Maybe you can find it in the internet and download it.

06 Oct 04 - 09:38 AM (#1290166)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Jim Dixon

There are many recordings of this song, but the spelling varies:

ZOG NIT KEYNMOL, recorded by:
Emil Decameron & His Orchestra on "Tumbalalaika! [Yiddish Folksongs without Words]," 1959.
An unnamed artist on "Songs of WWII Jewish Resistance," 1989.
Sarah Gorby on "Unforgettable Songs of the Ghetto," 1989.
Lucie Skeaping & the Burning Bush on "Raisins & Almonds," 1995.
Rosalie Gerut on "We Are Here," 1996.
Jaffah Musicians & Singers Traditional on "Israeli Folk Music," 1998.
Martha Schlamme on "Sings Jewish Folk Songs," 1998.
Theodore Bikel on "Taste of Passover," 1998.
An unnamed artist on "When the Rabbi Danced: Songs of Jewish Life," 2004.
Partisans of Vilna on "Partisans of Vilna."
Paul Robeson on "Collector's Paul Robeson."

ZOG NICHT KEIN MOLL, recorded by:
Duo Peylet-Cuinot on "For the Love of Niguns, Vol. 3," 2002.

ZOG NISHT KEYN MOL, recorded by:
Daniel Kempin on "Mir Leben Eybik," 1998.

ZOG NIT KEIN'MOL, recorded by:
Chava Alberstein on "Yiddish Songs," 2000.

ZOG NIT KEYN MOL, recorded by:
Paul Zim on "Yiddish Songs of the Holocaust," 2000.

Sound samples are available for most, if not all, of these recordings at allmusic, from which I got the above information.

Most sources say: poem by Hirsh Glik (1922-1944), music by Dmitri Pokrass; some say "traditional" (incorrectly, I assume).

07 Oct 04 - 03:23 AM (#1290992)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Wilfried Schaum

Yid du partizaner - author/composer on this site; look up for the title.

07 Oct 04 - 09:24 AM (#1291215)
Subject: RE: Need Lyrics Yiddish Partisan Song
From: Jim Dixon

Here's some information from The Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Music Archive Catalogue at the University of Pennsylvania library:

Title: Zog Nit Keyn Mol
Author: Glik, Hirsh (1922-1944)
Composer: Pokras, Dan
Composer: Pokras, Dimitri
Artist: Zim, Sol
Artist: Fish, Peter, orchestration
On album: Z-010(k) (Sol Zim Jewish Memories)
First line: With strength and courage, we will fight with all our might.
Language: English/Yiddish

[The original entry contains some Yiddish written in Hebrew characters, but apparently these won't copy-and-paste correctly into the Mudcat forum.]

17 Jul 17 - 07:13 AM (#3866546)
Subject: RE: Yiddish Partisan Song (Zog Nit Keyn Mol)
From: Felipa

You Tube: Partisans of Vilna - Zog Nit Keyn mol
Chava Alberstein, English language subtitles

also spelled Zog Nit Ka'yn Mol
A comment on another you tube offering of Chava Alberstein: " This song was composed not by Hirsch Glik, but by the famous soviet composer Dmitri Pokrass. Originally appeared with different lyrics as a kazak song in the film "I'm the son of the working people" (1938). Dmitri Pokrass (1899?1978) was also of Jewish origine. Hirsch Glik wrote the lyrics to this music." (Joe Offer gave correct attribution with lyrics and translation on this thread in May 2003)

The reason for my reviving this discussion is that I just read of a "Don't Give Up Hope Project"
With each Yom HaShoah the number of Survivors dwindles making the challenge of engaging new generations more difficult and more urgent. But Australian film maker Eli Rabinowitz has found a way ? and it's inspired ORT students across the Former Soviet Union.

Eli has started an international push to popularise the partisan song Zog Nit Keynmol by linking ORT and non-ORT schools in an online programme to not only learn its Yiddish ? or Hebrew ? words but also to delve into its meaning and historical significance and to share what they learn.

The result has moved groups of students at World ORT schools in Kiev, Odessa, Kishinev, Vilnius, Chernivtsi, Tallinn, Moscow, Kazan, Samara and Mexico to prepare videos for Yom HaShoah singing the anthem written by the Vilna poet Hirsh Glik to a melody by the Soviet-Jewish composer Dimitri Pokrass.

"This is a powerful statement and shows that we can link the generations this way," South Africa-born Eli said. "How many Survivors will be with us next year? Let's honour them and their legacy. Yom HaShoah is such a significant day for them and for our youth ? for all of us! We are all survivors!"

I didn't know what ORT is. I looked up World ORT and found the organisaton website. "World ORT is a worldwide charity whose aim is to work for the advancement of Jewish and non-Jewish people through training and education; To provide communities wherever they are, with the skills and knowledge necessary to cope with the complexities and uncertainties of their environment; To foster economic self-sufficiency, mobility and a sense of identity through use of state-of-the-art technology; To support non-sectarian economic and social development through International Cooperation programs in under-developed parts of the world, with vocational training and the provision of technical assistance."

The page about the project has various articles about the background of this song. Timeline

How the project started
The Poem

How it can be recited as a poem
The Music

How the music was matched to the words
The Words

In 17 languages

Hirsh Glik by Phillip Maisel

Phillip was a friend of Hirsh in the ghetto. He has a remarkable account to tell.



17 Jul 17 - 07:27 AM (#3866552)
Subject: RE: Yiddish Partisan Song (Zog Nit Keyn Mol)
From: Felipa

This song strikes me as one that could be sung by many groups of resistors; it doesnt only have relevance because of its Jewish/Shoah connection. But it is a militant song, connected to armed resistance, which to me reduces the lyrics' appeal.

Eli Rabinowitz of Perth,Australia; who runs the Don't Give Up Hope Project site I wrote about in the previous message, will be visiting the U.S. and Canada this summer. He is happy to meet with people to discuss the "The Partisan Poem and Song Project - Zog Nit Keynmol"
Dallas 19 - 22 July
Orlando 23 - 27 July
NYC - 28 -29 July and 2 - 9 August
Toronto 30 July - 2 August
Sydney, Australia 11 - 13 August

There are also some media articles about the song project reprinted at

17 Jul 17 - 08:37 AM (#3866564)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Yiddish Partisan Song (Zog Nit Keyn Mol)
From: GUEST,Gerry

Partisans of Vilna is a documentary, but there is also a CD by that name which may be the musical soundtrack of the documentary. A track listing is at It includes four songs that have come up in this discussion: Unter Dayne Vayse Shtern; Yid, Du Partizaner; Shtil Di Nakht; and Zog Nit Keynmol. [And I notice that Joe Offer posted a review of the CD to Amazon in 2006!]

17 Jul 17 - 09:00 AM (#3866568)
Subject: RE: Yiddish Partisan Song (Zog Nit Keyn Mol)
From: Felipa

Gerry, one of the links I provided today, a youtube offering called Partisans of Vilna - Zog Nit Keyn Mol,is about 4 minutes long and is a track from the CD "Partisans of Vilna -- The Songs of World War II Jewish Resistance" (1986)