Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If you have to bear the exiles' fate

In the fireplace, a fire is burning.
In the room, it's warm,
And the rabbi is teaching the young children the alphabet.
Listen carefully children,
All that I'm telling you,
The one among you who will read the fastest
Will receive a small flag.
Learn children, have no fear,
Any beginning is difficult,
Happy is the one who has learnt the Tora,
What can a man wish more?
Children, you are going to grow up,
And you will learn by yourselves
How many tears and sobs
Are present in every letter.
If you, my children,
One day, you have to bear the exiles' fate,
Then, you will draw on your strength by gazing at these letters.

Tomorrow, January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day. This date is the anniversary of the liberation by the Soviet Army in 1945 of the largest Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the first name in the list of camps above. My photos show the M├ęmorial de la D├ęportation in Paris which remembers the 200,000 people deported from Vichy France to the Nazi concentration camps. It is interesting that French architect Georges-Henri Pingusson's haunting design predates Daniel Libeskind's much better known Jewish Museum in Berlin by thirty-nine years.

The verses are from the Yiddish song Oyfn Pripetchik - In the Fireplace. German singer Jutta Carstensen's CD of Yiddish songs and Klezmer music made with Ensemble Trielen for the inimitable Ad Vitam label was one my personal highlights from the 2009 releases. You can hear Jutta Carstensen and Ensemble Trielen performing Oyfn Pripetchik in the podcast of my recent A World of Music programme.


Jutta Carstensen and Ensemble Trielen's CD of Yiddish Chants and Klezmer music was bought online. All photos are (C) On An Overgrown Path 2010. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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