By the Ghetto Gate (Baym geto toyerl)
Kovno ghetto, Lithuania, September 1941
Lyrics by: Avrom Akselrod
Music by: Mark Warshawsky
Performed by an unknown singer, Bavarian displaced persons camp, ca. 1946
German and Lithuanian guards search Jewish women returning from forced labor outside the ghetto. Kovno, Lithuania, wartime.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
One page from the Kovno diary of Tamara Lazerson. In this entry, Lazerson has transcribed the lyrics of the song By the Ghetto Gate, one of several Yiddish ghetto songs which she recorded in her diary.
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