Polish Jewish Cabaret: a library of wonderful but forgotten Yiddish songs of the 1920s - 1930s. Have a listen!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Vilne, Vilne - a song of old Vilna.

Vilne skyline'Vilne, Vilne' (also Vilna, Vilna) was written by A. L. Wolfson (1867-1946) in the early 1930s. Alexander Olshanetsky (1892-1946) wrote the music.

Vilna was known by Jews as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania" and there were some who thought Jerusalem should have the goal of someday coming up to Vilna's standard. For many generations it was the center of Jewish cultural and intellectual life. This nostalgic song, written before the second World War, was an anthem during and after the holocaust. I sang it Sunday when Ellen Cassedy gave a talk on her book "We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust" and so I present the sheet music to you here:


There is a lovely version you can hear for free at save the music: Vilne, Vilne by Adrienne Cooper, Zalman Mlotek and The New Yiddish Chorale

VILNA (VILNIUS)

Vilne, shtot fun gayst un tmimes
Vilne, yidishlekh fartrakht,
Vu es murmlen shtile tfiles,
Shtile soydes fun der nakht.
Oft mol ze ikh dir in kholem,
Heys-gelibte vilne mayn,
Un di alte vilner geto
In a nepldikn shayn.

Vilne, vilne, undzer heymshtot,
Undzer benkshaft un bager.
Akh, vi oft es ruft dayn nomen
Fun mayn oyg aroys a trer.
Vilner geslekh, vilner taykhn,
Vilner velder, barg un tol.
Epes noyet, epes benkt zikh
Nokh di tsaytn fun amol.

´Kh ze dem veldele zakreter
In zayn shotn ayngehilt,
Vu geheym es hobn lerer
Undzer visndursht geshtilt.

Vilne hot dem ershtn fodem
Fun der frayheyts-fon gevebt
Un di libe kinder ire
mit a tsartn gayst balebt.

Vilne, vilne, undzer heymshtot,
Undzer benkshaft un bager.
Akh, vi oft es ruft dayn nomen
Fun mayn oyg aroys a trer.
Vilner geslekh, vilner taykhn,
Vilner velder, barg un tol.
Epes noyet, epes benkt zikh
Nokh di tsaytn fun amol.
Vilna, city of spirit and innocence.
Vilna, conceived in Jewish ways,
where soft prayers are murmured,
soft nocturnal secrets.

I often see you in my dreams,
my dearly beloved Vilna,
and the old Vilna ghetto
in a foggy glow.

Vilna, Vilna, our hometown,
our longing and desire.
Ah, how often your name
brings a tear to my eye!
Vilna streets, Vilna rivers,
Vilna forests, mountains and valleys.
Something gnaws at me, makes me yearn
for the days of long ago.

I see the Zakret forest,
enveloped in its shadows,
where teachers secretly slaked
our thirst for knowledge.

Vilna sewed the first thread
in our flag of freedom
and inspired its children
with a gentle spirit.

Vilna, Vilna, our hometown,
our longing and desire.
How often your name
brings a tear to my eye!
Vilna streets, Vilna rivers,
Vilna forests, mountains and valleys.
Something gnaws at me, makes me yearn
for the days of long ago.

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