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Yidn zingen ani mamin 03:14
 

Liner Notes

Concluding with a desperate attempt at affirmation—desperate because it comes in response to imminent death and destruction—is the song Yidn zingen ani mamin (1973). The hymnlike chant is believed to have been sung as an anthem of hope and unswerving belief by many Jews in the German-built ghettos, concentration camps, and death camps during the Second World War.

The preexisting melodic material of this Ani mamin version is woven into the fabric of Weiner’s despairing art song. The text cries out, “The Messiah will come, even though he may tarry; he must come, he is coming, he is already here...!” The conclusion, surrounded by crashing chords, suggests hope against hope rather than realistic hope of rescue.


Editor's note by Neil W. Levin:

The words quoted in this song are based on the twelfth of Moses Maimonides’ (1135–1204) “Thirteen Articles of Faith,” which are recited daily by most observant Jews in the morning service and are also paraphrased in the hymn yigdal. These words have been set to different tunes and chants at various times. The melody upon which Weiner’s song is based is believed to have been fashioned for these words in the Warsaw Ghetto by the Hassidic singer-composer Azriel David Fastag. According to that scenario, it would have been spread from there to the camps to which Jews were deported from the ghetto, as well as to the outside world by the small number of Jews who escaped or otherwise survived. Notwithstanding admitted gaps in our knowledge of the actual provenance and currency of this song during the Holocaust, even concerning the degree to which its familiarity might have been exaggerated in postwar symbolism, it has become nonetheless indelibly associated with the Holocaust and with our perception that it was sung in that context. It has therefore become a staple rendition at Holocaust-related memorial events, for which it has also acquired a number of choral arrangements. The Ani Mamin of Max Helfman (1901–1963) is particularly notable.

By: Yehudi Wyner

 

Lyrics

Poet: H. Leivick [Leivick Halpern] (1886–1962)

In the bunkers Jews are singing: “ani mamin—I believe
In the coming of the Messiah, even though,
even though he may tarry, I believe”—
He will come, from there and from here.

Jews are singing in a camp: “I believe—
I believe, I believe, even though,”
That even though he may tarry, I believe—
I believe like a believer, a DP [displaced person].

Let’s all sing now: “I believe”—
If we do not sing it—it will sing itself anyway.
Both at evening and at dawn, I believe,
“Even though he may tarry, even though...”

He will come, he must come—“I believe.”
Don’t ask anyone, don’t ask when and how.
Jews are singing: “I believe, I believe”—
Look, he is coming, look, he is already here.

Poet: H. Leivick [Leivick Halpern] (1886–1962)

yidn zingen in di bunkers: ani mamin
bevias hamoshiakh, af-al-pi,
af-al-pi sheyismameyha ani mamin—
er vet kumen say fun dortn, say fun hi.

yidn zingen in a lager: ani mamin—
ani mamin, ani mamin, af-al-pi,
az afile az er zamt zikh ani mamin—
ani mamin vi a mamin a di-pi.

lomir zingen itster ale: ani mamin—
oyb mir zingen es nisht—zingt zikh es say vi.
say in ovnt, say baginen ani mamin,
af-al-pi sheyismameyha, af-al-pi.

er vet kumen, er muz kumen—ani mamin.
fregt nit keyner, fregt nit keynem ven un vi.
yidn zingen: ani mamin, ani mamin—
ot-o kumt er, ot-o iz er shoyn do hi.


 

Credits

Composer: Lazar Weiner

Length: 03:14
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Raphael Frieder, Baritone;  Yehudi Wyner, Piano

Date Recorded: 12/01/1992
Venue: Kilbourn Hall/Eastman School of Music (F), University of Rochester, New York
Engineer: Dusman, David
Assistant Engineer: Michael Isaacson and Samuel Rosenbaum

Additional Credits:

Publisher: Transcontinental

Translations and Transliterations: Eliyahu Mishulovin
Preliminary preparations by Adam J. Levitin

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