- Es geyt a yeke ♫
- Es iz a klug ♫
- Ikh fur in keltser kant ♫
- Ikh fur kayn palestine ♫
- In geto s'iz du a shteyger ♫
- Nishtu kayn przydziel ♫
- S'iz kaydankes kaytn ♫
- Vus zol men tien yidn ♫
The song was composed and sung by Yankele Hershkowitz in the ghetto. It was recalled and sung by Yaakov Rotenberg and recorded by Gila Flam in 1984.
'Geto getunya' is a commentary on events that took place in the Łódź Ghetto during late summer 1940. The burdens of distress and lack of work caused the ghetto inhabitants to protest against Rumkowski, and they held public demonstrations. Rumkowski, whose life was threatened, decided to establish a Jewish police force for his personal protection, the Sonderkommando, which was detailed for internal affairs. To this special police section he appointed all the physically strong men he could find in the ghetto.
Full of irony, the refrain pays tribute to a woman. The small, weak woman, however, symbolizes the ghetto inhabitants, while the strong men are the Sonderkommando, there not to protect the woman but simply to keep themselves alive, strong, and happy. The strong man gets 'the nicest and the best of everything, he also gets a position of the highest order,' while the 'poor intellectual' man 'walks around like a corpse.'
What is left for the inhabitants? Singing. In every language they cry that they want to eat. In this song the whole situation is described in negative terms. The verse uses a number of ghetto slang words, such as kolacja (Yiddish: kulatsye), a Polish word for 'dinner', which here refers to a meal given as a prize to the best workers once every fourteen days at the public kitchens in the Łódź Ghetto.
The melody of this song is probably of Jewish origin. It is reminiscent of a Jewish cumulative song built of short melodic motives to which one could add ever increasing numbers of sequences.