Es Brent

Gebirtig, Mordkhe (1877-1942)

Gebirtig, Mordkhe (1877-1942)

English Lyrics

Es brent! Briderlekh, sbrent!
Oy undzer orem shtetl, nebokh, brent
Beyze vintn mit irgozn
Raysn brekhn un tzeblozn
Shtarker nokh di vilde flamen
Altz arum shoyn brnet!

Un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh
mit verlegter hent
un ir shteyt un kukt azoy zikh
Undzer shtetl brent

Sbrent, briderlekh, sbrent!
Oy undzer orem shtetl nebekh brent
S'hobn shoyn di fartzungen
S'gantze shtetl aygengetzungen
Un di beyze vintn hudzhen
S'gantze shtetl brent!


S'brent, briderlekh, s'brent1
Oy skon kholile kumen der moment
Undzer shtot mit undz tzuzamen
Zol oyf ash avek in flamen
Blaybn zol, vi nokh a shlakht
Nor puste shvaze vent!


S'brent briderlekh s'brent!
Di hilf iz nor in aykh aleyn gevendt
Oyb dos shtetl iz aykh tayer
Lesht mit ayer eign blut
Bavayzt az ir dos kent

Shteyt nit brider ot azoy zikh
Mit farleygte hent
Shteyt nit brider lesht dos fayer
Undzer shtetl brent!


Es Brent (translation from <i>Favorite Yiddish Songs</i>,
complied by E.G.Mlotek, c.1972 Adama Books)
It's burning, brothers, it's burning!
Oy, our poor shtetl is burning,
Raging winds are fanning the wild flames
And furiously tearing,
Destroying and scattering everything.
All around, all is burning
And you stand and look just so, you
With folded hands...
And you stand and look just so,
While our shtetl burns.

It's burning, brothers, it's burning!
Oy, our poor shtetl is burning,
The moment is at hand when, God forbid,
Our town, along with all of us,
Will be turned to ashes by the flames,
And only bare, black walls will remain
As after a battle.

Our town is burning,
And only you can save it!
Extinguish the fire with your very blood,
If you must!

Don't just stand there, brothers,
With folded hands.
Don't stand there, put out the fire!
Our shtetl is burning!

Don't stand, brothers, while our town is burning! The Polish poet Mordekhai Gebirtig (1887-1942) wrote "'S brent!" as a reaction to the bloody act against Polish Jews in the village of Przytik. It was and still remains a dramatic warning to the dangers of remaining passive in times of oppression. "Brothers, our village burns! You all just stand and watch. Do something! If necessary, extinguish the flames with your own blood!" The clip featured here is by Aufwind, a German band. Click here to go to their website.


Added February 5th, 2020