Music of the Holocaust: Highlights from the Collection

Songs of the ghettos, concentration camps, and World War II partisan outposts

Partisan Songs

 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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Pencil drawing of Hirsh Glik by Y. Benn.
Pencil drawing of Hirsh Glik by Y. Benn.
From Mark Dvorzhetski, Hirshke Glik, Paris, 1966. All rights reserved.
Betty Segal in the Landsberg displaced persons camp. Germany, ca. 1946.
Betty Segal in the Landsberg displaced persons camp. Germany, ca. 1946.
Shlomo and Rivka Baran Collection, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Never Say That You Have Reached the Final Road
(Zog nit keynmol az du geyst dem letstn veg)

Lyrics by: Hirsh Glik

Music by: Dmitri and Daniel Pokrass

Language: Yiddish

 

Performed by Betty Segal, with Akiva Daykhes, concertina, ca. 1946

News of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of April 1943 inspired the Vilna poet and underground fighter Hirsh Glik (ca. 1921–ca. 1944) to write Never Say That You Have Reached the Final Road (the Yiddish title is often shortened to Zog nit keynmol). With a melody taken from a march tune composed for the Soviet cinema, the song spread quickly beyond the ghetto walls and was soon adopted as the official anthem of the Jewish partisans. Glik was later deported to an Estonian labor camp and is presumed to have lost his life during an escape attempt. His song remains a favorite at Holocaust commemoration ceremonies worldwide.

This early recording of Never Say That You Have Reached the Final Road features vocalist Betty Segal, who later became a well-known Israeli stage and cinema actress. A native of Vilna and a survivor of the Vilna ghetto and several labor camps, Segal recorded Never Say That You Have Reached the Final Road for the Munich Jewish Historical Commission, ca. 1946.

Recording Source:

Yad Vashem/USHMM recorded sound archive

Related Links:

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (article in the USHMM’s Holocaust Encyclopedia)

Excerpt from Shmerke Kaczerginski's memoir I Was a Partisan, in which he recalls the birth of this song.

Further Reading/Listening:

Shmerke Kaczerginski, Ikh bin geven a partizan. Buenos Aires, 1952.

Ruth Rubin, Voices of a People. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979.

 

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