Lodz ghetto, ca 1942
Lyrics by: Jankiel Herszkowicz
Music by: traditional
Performed by Jankiel Herszkowicz
Two destitute children share a bowl of food on the streets of the Lodz ghetto.
USHMM #02697, courtesy of Nachman Zonabend
Hunger is the theme of many songs from Lodz ghetto. In Potato, Herszkowicz, characteristically finding farce within misfortune, addresses the precious vegetable in the mock-intimate tones of a badkhn (Jewish traditional wedding entertainer) crooning to an anxious bride. The ghetto audience would have understood the line “Instead I'll get a visa” (stanza 2) to mean “Instead, I'll go to the graveyard,” or, still less euphemistically, “I'll starve to death.” Herszkowicz recorded the song for Polish radio in 1965.