[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 19. 014

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Sun Nov 1 14:51:55 EST 2009

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 19.014

October 30, 2009

1) farker-mitlen (Dina Levias )
2) cancer (Arnold Wishnia)
3) "Mayn Kindhayt" (Arnold Wishnia)
4) The origins of Ashkenaz in Fourth Century Crimea (Charles Nydorf)
5) ayngeshtelt in firlekh/pirlekh (Martin Jacobs)
6) Max Perlman's "Benzin" (Refoyl Finkl)
7) "Unter dayne vayse shtern" (Wolfgang Schulze)

Date:   October 9, 2009
Subject: farker-mitlen

farker-mitel - or mitlen, in plural - means mode, or means of 
transportation -i.e. cars, trucks, etc. The sentence you reproduce means: 
There were means of transportation but they were not available because all 
of them had been requisitioned by the Polish military.

Mit a grus,
Dina Levias

[Moderator's Note: similar responses were sent by Leybl Goldberg, Martin 
Jacobs,Mirjam Gutschow, Norman Buder, Peter Gutmann, Rukhl Schaechter, and 
Zachary M.Baker, most of whom indicated the contemporary German cognates 
(Verkehr, Mittel) for these words.]

Date:  October 19, 2009
Subject: cancer

Joshua Kutz recently asked about the Yiddish for "cancer" and mentioned 
the word "kreps." "Krebs" is the standard German word for cancer, and, 
given the normal sound of "b" here, would be "kreps" in Yiddish. Weinreich 
translates it as "crab," which is of course the other meaning (the 
Zodiacal sign "Cancer" is "the Crab," and the way crabs consume flesh is 
doubtless the referent for the current medical use of "cancer")l

Arnold Wishnia

Date:  October 16, 2009
Subject: "Mayn Kindheyt"

A friend asked me about a poem by Yitskhak Viner in the Ringelblum Archive 
of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, translated into English by Dr. 


The text is handwritten and not well-reproduced on the site, so there are 
ambiguities in the transliteration. This is what I reconstruct, aided by 
the translation:

Yorn fun kindhayt in Balutisher hoyfn
Mayn mame, mayn tate in oremer heym
Kh'gedenk nokh mayn hunger, ven kh'hob mit khaveyrim
Broytn gebakn fun blotikn leym

Broytn gebakn -- opshpiln dem hunger
Dem noentstn un shlekhtstn fun undzere gest
Farbay iz der zumer, in hits bay rinshtokn *** ??? ***
Gekumen iz vinter mit shney un [not there, but meter suggests "mit"] frest

[lots of letters indecipherable here -- my best guess]
Groy iz der droysn, in shney [oykh ??] gezunken
Di dekher**, di moyer, farzilbert, farvayst
Ikh lig oyf geleger, in shmates farviklt
Kuk mir durkh shoybn, fardekt mit ayz

Geyt fri mayn tate -- zikh fregn oyf arbet
Blayb ikh mit mamen, in tunkeler heym
Kalt iz ... m[e]'hungert, nito vos tsu esn
Glust [reconstructed] mikh khotsh bakn, a broytl fun leym

** "dekher"  roofs.  I think the translator misread d (daled) as b (beys),
and got "bekher" =beaker(s), translated as "wine glass," which makes no 
sense to

*** ??? *** Farbay iz der zumer, in hits bay rinshtokn
Moskovitz translates "rinshtokn" as gutters (as does Weinreich).
My first question is, "What kind of gutters??" -- drains along the roof 
edges, drains in the
streets, or what.
My second question is this:  what is the image?
My third question is:  Is this a misreading for "binshtokn" (could they 
have had beehives in courtyards in pre-war Baluty/Lodz, and is "heat 
rising from beehives" a reasonable image)?
The spacing is a bit odd in the script, and the reysh is squarer/flatter 
on the top than in most cases, although it is written that way in "farbay" 
at the beginning of the same line.
The beys also has many forms, fairly clear in that same "farbay," but 
sometimes odd, for example, in both "broytn" and "gebakn" at the start of 
the fourth line  of the first stanza.
Hoping that some experts will help me out.
Arnold Wishnia

Date: October 27, 2009
Subject: The origins of Ashkenaz in Fourth Century Crimea

The major objection to the hypothesis that the Germanic component of 
Yiddish is underlyingly Gothic is that Gothic was spoken in eastern 
Europe, Spain and Italy, mostly before 600 while Yiddish appears later in 
Germany. A new post at
traces the origins of the Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim to the Gothic-ruled 
Crimean Bosporus ca. 262. Jews from this Crimean community subsequently 
participated in the Ostrogothic invasion of Italy and then migrated to the 
German-speaking lands.

Charles Nydorf

Date: October 29, 2009
Subject: ayngeshtelt in firlekh/pirlekh

This expression occurs in a description of Jews being forced to run for a 
train that would take them to a concentration camp. Because of the nature 
of the orthography I do not know if the last word is "firlekh" or 
"pirlekh"; I am inclined towards the former, which I presume means "little 
carts," but I do not know what is happening here. The context:

m'hot gemuzt loyfn, ayngeshtelt in firlekh, un ver es hot nisht gekent 
nokhloyfn, oder iz aroys fun di reyen, hot men glaykh dershosn.

Martin Jacobs

Date: October 9, 2009
Subject: Max Perlman's "Benzin"

I haven't heard the recording, so my slight emendations to Cedric's 
transcription are based primarily on spelling corrections.  However, the 
first line made no sense to me ("petroleum iz a tsoyber klang, un akht vi 
flisik gold"), so I changed it to something with roughly the same phonemes 
but more sense.  I also re-punctuated a bit.


petroleum iz a tsoyber, tog un nakht, vi flisik gold
di velt bakumen hot a nayem zin.
es hot der mentsh gevolt azoy, un di tsayt hot es gevolt
az alts zol dreyen zikh arum benzin.
me zukht benzin, men grobt azoy di erd
durkh blut in harts, durkh fayer un durkh shverd.

     ay vil men forn, ay vil men forn,
 	nor tsum forn darf men ongisn benzin.
     un az men gist nit keyn benzin,
     shtup aher un shtup ahin;
 	es geyt nit, es fort nit di mashin.

in kasino dort baym yam, bay der rulet-aparat
yidn praven khatsos a gantse nakht.
dort shteyt reb yankl, mit zayn vayb, shoyn opgeflikt oyf glat,
farshpilt dem gantsn oytser vos gebrakht.
zayn vayb bet im, oy yankl "stop di game"
du vest nisht hobn mit vos tsu forn aheym!

     un er vil forn ay vil er forn,
 	nor tsum forn darf men ongisn benzin
     un az men gist nit keyn benzin,
     shtup aher un shtup ahin;
 	es geyt nit, es fort nit di mashin.

an almen shoyn fun akhtsik yor hot zikh amol farglust
a yunge sheyne meydl far a vayb.
dos meydl ober hot gevust az er hot gelt a sakh
hot zi gehayrat tsulib tsaytfartrayb.
dos yunge vaybl vil forn, nit shpatsirn,
a yid an alter ken zikh shoyn nit rirn.

     ay er vil forn, ay vil er forn,
 	nor tsum forn darf men ongisn benzin
     un az men gist nit keyn benzin,
     shtup aher un shtup ahin;
 	es geyt nit, es fort nit di mashin.

     ay vil men forn, ay vil men forn,
 	nor tsu forn darf men ongisn benzin
     un az men gist nit keyn benzin,
 	hot dos lebn nit keyn zin.
     es geyt nit, es fort nit di mashin!


Refoyl Finkl

Date:  October 16, 2009
Subject:  "Unter dayne vayse shtern"

Dear Colleagues,

Being new on this list, I'd like to profit from the cumulated expertise 
represented by the fellow list members. In the famous song "Unter dayne 
vayse shtern," two words occur that are opaque to me (probably due to my 
ignorance): The verse goes like this:

*nemen* yogn mikh meshune
trep un hoyfn - mit *gevoy*.

My simple question is: How to translate "nemen" and "gevoy"? Any helping 

Best wishes,
Wolfgang Schulze
End of Mendele Vol. 19.014

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