Yiddish Transliteration

A yomer a geshrey
oyf der yidisher gas,
Men geyt a geto makhn
ober nisht oyf keyn shpas.

In dem Bialystoker geto a yomer a geshrey,
In Bialystoker geto… vi dos harts tut mir vey.
Mir zitsn un mir klern vos vet fun undz do vern,
Men shlogt un plogt oyf der gas mit a late oyfn lats.

Men shikt undz tsu der arbet geyn
un mir krign glaykh a shayn,
Un tomer viln mir nisht geyn krign
mir geshmisn gants fayn.

In dem Bialystoker geto a yomer a geshrey…

[...]  Mentshn geyn in gas shpatsirn,
shrayt oyf zey der politsyant,
Er vayzt zey mit di finger,
az es geyt der shtot-komendant.

In dem Bialystoker geto a yomer a geshrey…

In geto-mark iz a ganeydn,
men krigt ales oyf der velt
Fun di beste meykholim,
nor vu nemt men gelt?

In dem Bialystoker geto a yomer a geshrey…

[...]  On a Bialystoker geto
veln mir gliklekh zayn,
On a Bialystoker geto
vi derlebt men shoyn tsu zayn?!  [...]

English Translation

Verse 1:
A lament, a cry
On the Jewish street,
They are going to make a ghetto,
But it’s not as a joke.

Refrain:
In the Bialystok ghetto, a lament, a cry.
In the Bialystok ghetto, how heavy is my heart.
We sit and we wonder what will become of us here,
They beat and torment us, on the street we wear the yellow patch on our lapel.

Verse 2:
They send us to work,
And right away we get a pass
And if we don’t want to accept it,
They cruelly lash us.

Refrain:
In the Bialystok ghetto, a lament a cry…

Verse 3:
[...]  People take a stroll in the street,
And the policeman shouts at them,
He indicates with his finger
That the commander is arriving.

Refrain:
In the Bialystok ghetto, a lament a cry…

Verse 4:
The ghetto market is a paradise,
One can get everything in the world,
The tastiest dishes,
But where does one find the money?

Refrain:
In the Bialystok ghetto, a lament a cry…

Verse 5:
[...]  Without a Bialystok ghetto
We will be happy,
Without a Bialystok ghetto
When will we ever live to see it?

In August 1941, the Germans ordered the establishment of a ghetto in Bialystok. About 50,000 Jews from the city and the surrounding region were confined in a small area of Bialystok city.

Tangele, sung by Lloica Czackis explores the nexus of Yiddish song and Tango and features songs from European ghettos and concentration camps.

'Dos lid fun Bialystoker geto' (Song of the Bialystok Ghetto), recreated by Gustavo Beytelmann, from the CD Tangele: The Pulse of Yiddish Tango, courtesy of Tzadik and Tangele. English translations by Lloica Czackis and Bella Klein.

English translations by Lloica Czackis and Bella Klein. All lyrics have been adapted and transliterated according to the standardized YIVO Yiddish, except for where is required by rhyme.