Es brent

Mordechai Gebirtig's song 'Es brent' (It is burning) is one of the best known Yiddish songs from the Holocaust era, although it was written before the outbreak of war in 1938. Gebirtig wrote the song after a pogrom in a Polish town Przytyk during that year, and the lyrics tell of the apathy of the bystanders who witnessed the event. The song was very popular amongst Jewish ghetto inmates, and is often performed at Holocaust commemoration ceremonies.

S’brent! briderlekh, s’brent!
Oy, undzer orem shtetl nebekh brent!
Beyze vintn mit yirgozn
Raysn, brekhn un tseblozn
Shtarker nokh di vilde flamn
Alts arum shoyn brent!

Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh
Mit farleygte hent
Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh-
Wi undzer shtetl brent!

S’brent! briderlekh, s’brent!
Di hilf iz nor in aykh aleyn gevendt!
Oyb dos shtetl iz aykh tayer
Nemt di keylim, lesht dos fayer
Lesht mit ayer eygn blut
Bavayzt, az ir dos kent

First page from Gebirtigs handwriting of Undzer shtetl brent (ca. 1938)