Shtey oyf tsum kamf
Rise Up and Fight

Leah Svirski (Yiddish lyrics)
Anonymous (Music)

Shtey oyf dokh tsum kamf, du yidish folk
genug unterdrikt shoyn gevezn;
Mit zaynen keyn knekht, mir fodern rekht,
Mir veln es keynmol nit fargesn.

Genug shoyn gevezn farshklaft, nidershlogn,
Funanderraysn muzn mir di keytn,
Vi heldn mit mut fargisn dos blut,
Nekome nemen eyner farn tsveytn.

A sakh hot der soyne genosn fun undz shoyn,
Un dokh iz er zat nit gevorn,
To shvaygt nit far dem un git zikh a nem, 
Ver zogt, az dos glik iz shoyn farlorn.

Es zogn dokh ale, az trusn mir zaynen--
Lomir vayzn, az es iz nit rikhtik, 
Tsum kamf gegn faynt aroystretn haynt,
Es zol shoyn der morgn vern likhtik.

Oyf tantsn un zingen nit itster di tsayt,
Nit itster di tsayt iz tsu lakhn;
Shteyt oyf ver s'iz yung, a lof un a shprung,
Mit dem vet ir zikher beser makhn.

Dreyst on moyre faroys lomir geyn,
In geto nito vos tsu zitsn;
Mir muzn in shlakht bakemfn di makht,
Dos blut fun dem soyne zol shpritsn.

Nor tomer der soyne vet shtarker fun undz zayn,
Men ken gornit helfn, farfaln,
Dan klert vos ir vilt, der kamf iz farshpilt,
Vi heldn in shlakht veln mir faln.

Jewish people, rise up and fight!
Too long have we been oppressed;
We won't be slaves, our rights we will claim,
And we will never, never forget.

Too long we've been slaves, dejected, depressed,
We must tear apart the chains that bind us,
Like heroes so bold, our blood has been spilled,
Revenge we must take--one for the other.

The enemy has gained much profit from our work,
Yet he is never satisfied;
Don't keep still about this--but get going, quick!
Who says that our good cheer has run dry?

Everyone says that we Jews are cowards,
Let's show them that this isn't right!
Now marching we'll go, to battle the foe,
So that our tomorrow will be bright.

Now is no time to dance or to sing,
Nor is this now the time to laugh;
You who are young, rise up! jump and run!
This will surely make things better fast.

Fearless and brave, we march, forward on,
In the ghetto, there is no more to do;
In battle we'll fight, and vanquish their might,
Let the blood of our enemy flow!

But should the foe's strength prove greater than our own,
And nothing will help, all is futile,
Then think what you must:  that our cause has been lost,
Let us still die like heroes in the battle!


English translation by Bret Werb

NOTE:  Leah Svirski, from Svintsyan, wrote the Yiddish lyrics for this song in the spring of 1943, while a teenaged prisoner at Kaisiadorys, a Nazi labor camp near Kovno.  The song encouraged other prisoners to escape from the camp to join partisans operating in nearby forests.  Ms. Svirski survived the war and became Lila Holzman of Israel, assuming a leadership role as chairperson of the Svintsyan landsmanschaft.  Her song, with music, is now on a CD, Rise Up and Fight, which includes additional partisan songs and is available from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Contact the Museum shop.



Copyright © 2000 M S Rosenfeld