S'iz Kaydankes kaytn
The song 'S’iz kaydankes kaytn' (It’s shackles and chains) was composed as a commentary on the thievery common in the Łódź ghetto, and on one event in particular: the theft of three sacks of flour in the guise of a funeral. The song dates from the early days of the ghetto, probably during the autumn or winter of 1940.
The refrain describes 'good times' which came to the ghetto. Once again the street singer uses the idea of 'good' to mean 'bad' – referring to the shortage of food and low moral standards.
The second verse supplies the details of the general phenomenon of stealing sh’rayim (food, or more accurately, leftovers.) Theft, especially of food, was an everyday occurrence in the ghetto, and the Chronicle of the Łódź Ghetto reports many instances.
In the third verse, according to the singer, Rumkowski speaks to the Jews in a Lithuanian dialect, a more scholarly language. Rumkowski warns his Jews that he will arrest anyone caught stealing, and speaks about the need for a strong independent ruler in the ghetto.
The melody of this song has a strong Jewish character. The beginning of the song resembles another Yiddish song entitled 'Vu nemt men parnose?' (Where can one make a living?). The song is in the ‘frigish’ mode, a minor mode with an augmented second commonly used in Jewish music. The mode became a musical symbol for popular Yiddish music in America.