Yiddish transliteration

I

Tsi halt undz nit keyner far mentshn,
A yid iz a zind den tsu zayn?
Bloyz mir muzn lign bahaltn,
Nit onzen di likhtike shayn.

Far undz iz dos lebn farbotn,
Di gantsene velt iz farshtelt.
A beyzer, a fintsterer sotn
Makht khoyzek, regirt un bafelt.

Refren:

Akh, likhtike zun,
Du bashaynst di gantse velt,
Du bist umetum.
Far vos zhe far undz
Gistu keyn shtral
Un kerst dayn freylekhn blik nit um?
Vi gliklekh iz der vos ken zen
Vi du geyst uf un vi du fargeyst.
Bloyz undz nor aleyn
Farvert der tayvl alts,
Roybt tsu undzer bestn treyst.
Bloyz giftike shlangen
Vartn undz ayntsushlingen.
Es droet undz an opgrunt,
Shver im ibertsushpringen.

Akh, likhtike zun,
Du bashaynst di gantse velt,
Du bist umetum.
Far vos zhe shaynstu nit mer,
Far vos zhe laykhstu nit oykh far undz?

II

Tsi zaynen mir andere mentshn,
Mit andere blutn un fleysh?
Tsi viln mir oykh den nit lebn
Ven herlekh di velt iz un groys?

Far vos muzn mir azoy laydn,
Zayn hefker tsu shpot un tsu shand?
Nito ver es zol undz bashitsn,
Mir hobn keyn mamen, keyn land.

Refren: Akh, likhtike zun...

English translation

Verse 1:
Is there no one
who considers us people?
Is it a sin merely to be a Jew?
Only we must remain hidden,
Never to see the light of day.
For us, living is forbidden,
The entire world is barred.
A wicked, villainous devil mocks,
Controls and commands.

Refrain:
Ah, radiant sun, you light up the whole world,
You are everywhere.
Why then, do you not offer us a ray
And direct your cheerful gaze our way?
How fortunate is one
Who can see you rise and set.
Only to us does the devil deny all,
Steals our greatest consolation.
There are only poisonous serpents
Waiting to devour us.
We are imperiled by an abyss,
Difficult to hurdle.

Ah, radiant sun, you light up the whole world,
You are everywhere.
Why do you no longer shine,
Why do you not shine for us, too?

Verse 2:
Are we then different people,
With another sort of blood and flesh?
Do we not also want to live
In this grand and glorious world?
Why must we suffer so,
Be forsaken to mockery and to shame?
There is no one who will defend us;
We have no mother, no land.

David Botwinik wrote both the lyrics and music to the song ‘Far undz iz dos lebn farbotn’ (For us, living is forbidden). This is a song about Jews who hid underground from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Coming out for even a moment was risking death. Richard Lenatsky, tenor, performed the world premiere of this art song in May 2009.

The above translation (by Naomi Cohen, Leybl Botwinik, and Alexander Botwinik) together with the original Yiddish text and complete musical score can be found in the book From Holocaust to Life: New Yiddish Songs. See http://botwinikmusic.com.