The Song Remains

Last month, I helped launch a new web site: The Song Remains, a collection of Yiddish poetry with English translations by Polish-Jewish poets who were killed during the Nazi occupation. The poems come from the eponymous book, anthologised by Binem Heller and published in Warsaw in 1952. There are over 160 poems by 36 authors in total. We will be publishing one poem per week from the collection. You can subscribe (for free) to receive a poem per week in your inbox.

The poems were translated into English by my mother, Dr Sarah Traister Moskovitz, who is about to turn 97.

We held a launch webinar featuring a number of interesting speakers talking about the historical context of the poets, poetry as an important historical perspective, Jewish culture in pre-war Poland, and some readings of the poems themselves.

The poems reflect the full range of human experience under extreme stress, from the love of nature, to the challenges of growing up, and of course dealing with persecution and one’s own imminent death.

My favourite poem so far in the collection is “My Way through Life” by Y L Kohn:

My way through life, was through
years of injustice and bitter suffering and anger
In my young life I struggled through
years of epidemics and hunger

Today my way is through unemployment
days of disappointment, rough bad times
But I don’t give up, I’m unbroken
and hold myself together – I will remain

And I know that life can sometimes take you
with its nails at your throat and choke you
I hope to break through each and every time
and I hope that I can help you

There are many more poems to discover – do explore The Song Remains.

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