Łódź Ghetto, 1943 II

Miriam wrote the lyrics of this song to the music of a Polish folksong, 'Stokrotka rosła polna' (Flowers are blooming in the fields) in 1943.  It expresses Miriam’s anger and calls for vengeance.  She stands on one of the three bridges of the ghetto, important symbols of survival.  Crossing the bridge once meant successfully reaching one's workplace, crossing twice was just as significant – one had returned from work.  Working in the ghetto, being productive, meant surviving.  Crossing the crowded bridges was not easy, however, since each was guarded by German soldiers.  People were frequently kidnapped or even killed on these bridges.

Miriam stands on the bridge, looks at the Germans, wishing them dead, wishing to go on with her life that has stalled on the bridge.  Anger and a call for revenge can be perceived not only in Miriam’s poems, but in much of the poetry written in the ghettos and camps during this period.  As time went on, when action became impossible, Miriam's anger increased.

The original Polish folksong celebrated life's beauty, adding pathos to Miriam’s lyrics in which she mourns the loss of joy, beauty and freedom.

Lódz Ghetto 1943 II
Lyrics: Miriam Harel
Melody: Polish folksong
Tu w getcie kolo mostu,
Niemiecki zolnierz trwa,
On sterczy tam poprostu,
A na nim krocze ja.
On trzyma strzelbe w reku
I patrzy na mnie sie,
Me serce pelne leku,
I plakac mi sie chce.
Ja chodzic juz nie moge
Bo glod zabija mnie,
Bezsilne moje nogi
I rece trzesa sie.
Moze go piorun trzasnie
Cholera wezmie w mig
A la na moscie wlasnie,
Uslysze jego krzyk
Czy ktos Niemców ukaze?
Kto z getta zwolni nas !
Na moscie stoje marze
Ze przyjdzie taki czas.

Łódź Ghetto, 1943 II
Lyrics: Miriam Harel
Melody: Polish folksong
Here in the ghetto;
Next to the bridge,
A German soldier stands,
As I cross the bridge.
He’s holding a gun in his hand,
And he looks at me.
I am afraid
And I want to cry.
I can’t walk any more
Because I am dying of hunger.
My legs are paralysed
And my hands are shaking.
Maybe he will be struck by lightning,
Maybe the cholera will take him,
And I, over the bridge,
Will hear his screaming.
If someone would punish the Germans
And rescue us from the ghetto!
On the bridge I stand and dream
That the day will come.