Gefloygn iz ales

This song concerns a demonstration that took place in the Łódź ghetto in early 1940.  It was quelled by the Jewish police together with a special arm of the German militia.  The demonstration ended when the Germans fired on the crowd as described in the Chronicles of the Łódź Ghetto.

Both the refrain and the single verse mention food.  Here, however, food is used as a weapon of protest.  As precious as food was, the ghetto inhabitants hurled it back at the Jewish police, venting their rage with the same weapon used against them.  The verse is a powerful call to arms: 'We shall fight in life and death' for food 'to keep us alive'.

The melody of this song probably has its origins in a popular marching tune.  It is in a major key and uses a march rhythm.

Gefloygn iz Ales sung in the Łódź Ghetto. From Singing for Survival, courtesy Gila Flam.

Gefloygn iz ales
(Yidishe politsay)
Gefloygn iz ales in di lift arayn,
Tsibl, mayrn, burkes, vorshtn, khrayn.
Gekumen zene yidishe politsay,
A kamf tsizamen shtoys,
Pinkt vi in ershtn may.
Mir veln kemfn,
Oyf leybn in oyf toyt,
Biz ir velt nisht geybn
A tele zup mit broyt.
Biz ir velt nisht geybn
Burkes mit salat,
Dus leybn tsi derhaltn,
In tsi zany nor zat.
Refrain: Gefloygn iz...

Everything is up in the air,
Onions, carrots, beetroot, salami, horseradish.
Get the Jewish police to come,
To combat the crowd,
Just like on the First of May.

We shall fight,
In life and death,
Until you give us
A bowl of soup and bread
To keep us alive,
And to be full.

Everything is...