Mr. Daniel Kempin; Mordecai Gebirtig
Lyricist: Mordecai Gebirtig
Composer: Mordecai Gebirtig/Daniel Kempin
Original Title: Mayn kholem
Yiddish folk poet and songwriter Mordecai Gebirtig was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1877. In 1940, he was forced to flee from German-occupied Krakow to nearby Lagiewniki. There, in May 1941, he wrote "My Dream" -- in which he dreams of peace and revenge. In March 1942 Gebirtig was forced into the Krakow ghetto, where he was killed in June 1942.
English Language Lyrics:
I've just now had the sweetest dream --
I still can feel how my heart thrills --
Peace has come! Yes peace has come!
Peace throughout the whole wide world.
There is singing in the streets,
Children dancing, old folks, too;
Row by row the people gather --
Singing out the joyful news.
Peace has come! Yes, peace has come!
Enemies are replaced by friends;
More than others, Jews are singing,
To celebrate their greatest day.
Men are kind to one another,
As if Messiah had arrived;
Suddenly, I hear chains rattling --
And what a vision I behold!
In a cage, enclosed in iron,
Lies the figure of a naked man,
Like an angry, savage creature,
Hungry as a forest wolf.
Men and women, children, too,
Passersby of every age,
Treat him like a rotting carcass --
Aim and spit into the cage.
And with passion, and with pleasure,
They spit directly in his face;
While a swarm of biting insects
Lines up in the spray, and waits.
"Spit on him! Spit on him!" I hear the cry,
"He's poisoned our whole world!
Eternally as the name of Cain --
Shall his name be cursed with blood!"
"Spit on him! Spit on him!" echo the streets,
Resounding to the cry;
And as the masses file past his cage,
Each person aims, and lets some spit fly.
I beheld this vision in a dream;
I only hope that very soon
This beautiful, sweet dream of mine
Will in fact come true.
Copyright © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC