Lyrics by: Hirsh Glik
Music by: Dmitri and Daniel Pokrass
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. 1921ca. 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.
Yad Vashem/USHMM recorded sound archive
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.
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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