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Mordechaj Gebirtig

Mordechai Gebirtig commemorative plaque, 5 Berka Joselewicza Street - once Gebirtig's home, photo by Maire

Mordechaj Gebirtig

Farewell Cracow

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Read by Piotr Czarnota, recorded by Radiofonia Association
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English translation: Aleksandra Toczyłowska
Farewell Cracow!
Farewell.
The cart is waiting for me outside,
The enemy has made me an exile,
Like a dog
I am being banished from my town.

Farewell Cracow!
Today I might be seeing
For the last time what is dear to me,
I visited my mother's grave,
So many tears I shed
Saying goodbye.

My eyes were
Short of tears
The last absorbed by my father's cold tomb...
My grandfather's grave –
– I do not know where it is.
Probably perished, covered by sand...

Farewell Cracow!
Your land is sacred,
My parents dream through your ground.
I will not lie beside them,
My fate is different,
I do not know my final resting place...

Farewell Cracow!
Farewell,
The cart is waiting for me outside,
The enemy has made me an exile,
Like a dog
I am being banished from my town.
English translation: Aleksandra Toczyłowska
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Mordechaj Gebirtig

(1877–1942) Mordecai Gebirtig, a self-taught carpenter, lived and renovated old furniture on the first floor of an outhouse on Joselewicza Street in Krakow’s Kazimierz district. He won worldwide fame as a poet and singer of Jewish Kazimierz, author of poems and songs describing at first the everyday life of the underprivileged community there, and later its destruction. In 1940 he was forced to move to Łagiewniki, and from there – in the spring of 1942 – to the ghetto in Podgórze. He found accommodation on Janowa Wola Street, and was killed there on 4th June 1942. In his poem Żegnaj, Krakowie (Krakow Farewell), written on 24th October 1940, Gebirtig hailed the Kazimierz he was leaving forever. (ezp)
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