Thursday, August 9, 2018

Arbetlose Marsch (1937)


Arbetlose Marsch [Song of the Unemployed] was written and composed by Mordechai Gebirtig [born Markus Bertig; 1877–1942].  Like so many other Polish Jews at the time, he was murdered by the Nazi/Fascist beast in the Warsaw Ghetto. Another version that I would recommend is by Daniel Kahn [here], a modern version yet telling the same story of rusted factories and people not working. The singer here is Ernst Busch [1900–1980], a lifetime communist who fled Nazi Germany in 1933, settling initially in The Netherlands before going to the Soviet Union, eventually settling in East Berlin. Wikipedia writes: “A beloved figure in the German Democratic Republic, he is best remembered for his performance in the title role of Brecht’s Life of Galileo and his recordings of workers songs, including many written by Hanns Eisler. He also made a memorable recording of Peat Bog Soldiers.”
Via: Youtube

The first verse and translation is found below:

Eynts, tsvey, dray, fir, arbetsloze zenen mir.
Nisht gehert khadoshim lang
in fabrik dem hamer klang,
s’lign keylim kalt fargesn,
s’nemt der zhaver zey shoyn fresn.
Geyen mir arum in gas,
vi di gvirim pust un pas.

One, two, three, four, we are unemployed.
We have not heard all month long,
in the factory the hammer sound.
Tools lie cold, forgotten,
the rust is beginning to eat them.
While we go around on the streets,
like the rich, idle and aimless.