Kovno ghetto, Lithuania, September 1941
Lyrics by: Avrom Akselrod
Music by: Mark Warshawsky
Performed by an unknown singer, Bavarian displaced persons camp, ca. 1946
A topical song about food smuggling in the Kovno ghetto, By the Ghetto Gate draws on the melody of the much-loved “Yiddish alphabet song,” Oyfn pripetshik (At the Hearth). Lyricist Avrom Akselrod, a refugee who had fled Poland at the start of World War II, wrote a number of parodic verses in the ghetto. He was killed in July 1944, when German militiamen set fire to his underground hiding place.
Yad Vashem/USHMM recorded sound archive
Kovno (article in the USHMM’s Holocaust Encyclopedia)
Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto (USHMM Online Exhibition)
Oyfn pripetshik (in Yiddish Language and Culture Web site)
Dennis B. Klein, ed. Hidden History of the Kovno Ghetto. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1997.
Various artists. Hidden History: Songs of the Kovno Ghetto. CD. USHMM.03. Available from the Museum Shop