[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 22.006

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Wed Aug 15 20:54:52 EDT 2012

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language


Contents of Vol. 22.006

August 13, 2012

1) gehakte vundn (Aaron Krishtalka)

2) gehakte vundn (Eliezer Greisdorf)

3) New Translations of Yiddish Poetry (Andrew Firestone)

4) "Es loyfn, es yogn shvartse volkns" (Oscar Berland)

5) "Es loyfn, es yogn shvartse volkns" (Bob Rothstein)

6) bakhmalyet (Bob Rothstein)

7) bakhmalyet (Steve Berr)

8) Now available: translations of biographies from Zylbercweig's "Lexicon
of the Yiddish

Theatre" (Steven Lasky)


Date:  July 26

Subject: gehakte vundn

Literally, in English: chopped wounds, meaning "in agony," or "great
suffering." In the usage I'm familiar with, this locution could refer to
psychological or emotional suffering, as well as physical, and is usually
contrasted with some bystander's uncaring attitude. For example:

er dreyt zikh / er kortshet zikh / er geyt arum / in gehakte vundn,

un zayn khaver makht zikh nisht visndik:

he twists / he doubles up / he walks about / in agony, and his friend

ignores it.

Aaron Krishtalka


Date: July 23

Subject: gehakte vundn

Gehakte vundn is very likely the same as gehakte tsores.  When someone is
at the end of his rope or has extreme problems, we might say "er is oyf
gehakte tsores" or "gehakte vundn."

Eliezer Greisdorf.


Date:  August 6

Subject:  New Translations of Yiddish Poetry

*www.YiddishPoetry.org* is pleased to announce that four poems by *Zalman
Shneour*, beautifully read by Isaac Apel, have been added to the section
"Anthology of Yiddish Poetry of Poland between the Wars," together with
English translations.

And attention is drawn to the superb Polish translation by Marek Tuszewicki
of Sutzkever's epic farewell poem */Tsu Poyln,/* in the section "Postwar

Andrew Firestone, Melbourne.

*www.YiddishPoetry.org* :

Mir meldn az fir lider fun Zalmen Shneyer zenen aroyfgeshtelt gevorn,
tsuzamen mit englishe iberzetzungen. Deklamirt hot Itzkhok Apel.

Zey gefinen zikh in der opteylung "antologye fun der yidishe poezye in
poyln tsvishn beyde velt milkhomes."

In der opteylung "nokhmilkhomedike yidishe poezye" iz aroyfgeshtelt gevorn
Sutzkever's epopeye "Tsu Poyln", prekhtik ibergezetst oyf Poylish fun Marek

Endru Fayershtayn, Melburn.


Date: July 24

Subject: "Es loyfn, es yogn shvartse volkns"

In response to Joe Mankowits's question I remember my mother singing
(beautifully -

and the only thing she ever sang)

es loyfen, es yogn (or flien)

shvartse volkn -

es fayft, es bumt

di vint

fun subia shikt dayn tate

dir a grus mayn kind.

Hope this connects with what you remember.

Oscar Berland


Date: July 23

Subject: "Es loyfn, es yogn shvartse volkns"

Joe Mankowitz asked (22.0004). about the lyrics of a song that begins "Es
loyfn, es yogn..."

The collection "Yiddish Folksongs from the Ruth Rubin Archive," edited by
Chana Mlotek and Mark Slobin, contains the following text, which was
written by H. D. Nomberg (1876-1927):

     Es loyfn, es yogn shvartse volkns,

     Es fayft un brumt der vint.

     Fun sibiryen shikt dayn tate

     Dir a grus, mayn kind.

     Di vintn, di vintn, zey brengen grusn

     Fun dem vaytn land.

     Dortn shteyt er, a lopete

     Halt er in der hant.

     Er grobt un grobt alts tifer un tifer,

     Un varft di erd aroys.

     Zorg nit, kind mayns, far dem sheker

     Grobt er kvorim oys.

     Nit der ershter un nit der letster,

     Falt er afn feld.

     Zorg nit, kind mayns, dikh geboyrn

     Hot a groyser held.

Bob Rothstein


Date: July 23

Subject: bakhmalyet

Alan Schuchat asked (22.0004) about the word "bakhmalyet," which he thought
meant "something like sad or disappointed". It might be related to the verb
"khmalyen," which means to hit hard, to administer a strong blow (no
obvious etymology).

Bob Rothstein


Date: July 23

Subject: bakhmalyet

When I grew up the term khmalye was a form of physical violence on a
person. A knip was a pinch, a frask was a forehand blow to the face, a
patsh was a smack of any small sort, and a khmalye was best described as an
uppercut.  I would suspect that bakhmalyet was expression that the blow had
been delivered.  Er hot bakhmalyet im.  And I think that would definitely
lead to sadness!

Steve Berr


Date: July 23

Subject: Now available: translations of biographies from Zylbercweig's
"Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre"


I would like to announce to you that I have to date translated from Yiddish
to English more than sixty percent of the biographies included within seven
volumes of Zalmen Zylbercweig's opus, the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre,"
a virtual "bible" of Yiddish theatre.

There are more than 2,800 individual biographies and many histories of
now-defunct Yiddish theatrical organizations included within these volumes,
and I have translated nearly 1,900 of them. They are now available for your
perusal on my virtual Museum of Family History website. All of those who
have been "biographied" are listed alphabetically by first letter of their
surname, and each listing is linked to the particular webpage on which the
biography is located. The biographies range in length from a single
sentence to dozens of pages. They not only include bios of actors and
actresses, but also playwrights, journalists, other theatre personnel and
many others whose paths have crossed with the Yiddish theatre throughout
the world.

The first volume was published in 1931, the sixth in 1969; the seventh
remains in galley form but most of volume 7 can be found (only) on my
website, along with Zylbercweig's unpublished "Yiddish Art Theatre in
America." I am also working on an eighth volume, which will include
biographies of those who were either not included in the previous volumes,
or those who merit an amended one. Also included will be biographies of
those currently involved in the Romanian Jewish State Theatre et al. If
anyone knows someone who has worked professionally in the Yiddish theatre
and has not yet been included in the Lexicon, please contact me.

These some 1,900 translations are a permanent part of a larger exhibition
entitled "The Remarkable Zalmen Zylbercweig and his Lexicon of the Yiddish
Theatre," which can be accessed via the banner atop the Museum website's
first page. Here, you can read more about Z.'s life, and the history behind
the Lexicon.

Z. and his wife Celia also had a Yiddish-language radio program, broadcast
out of their Los Angeles home between 1949 and 1969, of which I have the
only copies of theprograms. I have started to include these in my "On the
Air!" radio program on my site. I will be changing the program every month
or two. You can begin with the introduction to the Zylbercweig radio
programs at


One can acess the list of translated biographies at


though I would like you to visit the entire Zylbercweig exhibition when you
have the time.

Also, please visit my exhibition entitled "Lives in the Yiddish Theatre:
Tributes to a Bygone Era," found at
www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/yw/lyt-main.htm. Just click on the word
"Enter" on the door handles.

Lastly, I'd like to remind you of the assets that I wish you would feel
free to make use of (though they are not currently online, you can contact
me for information):

1. A full listing of those biographied, as mentioned above, in the seven
volumes of the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre," including birth towns,
dates of birth, page number. Also a translation of all photo captions from
these volumes.

2. A full listing of those biographied in Zalmen Reyzen's "Lexicon of
Yiddish Literature, Press and Philology", etc.

3. A massive listing of Yiddish plays performed in New York City, beginning
in the late 1800s, including play title, season and date first performed,
sometimes casts, theatre performed in and its location.

4. Information on memberships in the Professional Yiddish Actors Union in
Poland (pre-war).

5. Listing, and often cast information, for more than one hundred plays
staged by Maurice Schwartz and his Yiddish Art Theatre


Any questions, just ask.

Mit grusn,

Steven Lasky


End of Mendele Vol. 22.006

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