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A Dermonung Funem Appellplatz

Analysis and contextual notes by D. Zisl Slepovitch.
All songs transcribed, translated, scored, arranged, and produced by Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch.


Moshe B. (HVT-4409) was born in Rymanów, Poland in 1926, the youngest of four children. He recounts his family’s poverty; attending cheder and public school; antisemitic harassment; his brothers studying in Pinsk (they were exiled to Siberia by the Soviets); German invasion; selection for forced labor; his family’s deportation; transfer to the Rzeszów ghetto; deportation to Pustków in 1943; slave labor; transfer to Auschwitz/Birkenau in 1944, then Buna/Monowitz two weeks later; train transfer to Mauthausen; many deaths en route; Czechs throwing them food; transfer to Hannover; slave labor in a factory; Allied bombings; a death march to Bergen-Belsen; taking scraps from the garbage; liberation by British troops; returning home; reunion with one brother, a Soviet soldier, in Katowice; traveling to Prague; living in the Zeilsheim displaced persons camp; joining a Zionist group; emigration to the United States, with assistance from the Joint; draft into the U.S. military; being stationed in Ulm; discharge; traveling to Israel; marriage; and the births of three sons.

Unedited Testimony

A Dermonung Funem Appellplatz (The Memory of the Roll Call)

Music and lyrics: unknown; arrangement: D. Zisl Slepovitch.

Moshe B. (HVT-4409) was born in 1926 in Rymanów, Western Galicia, Poland, near the Czechoslovakian border. After numerous deportations and imprisonment in death and slave labor camps, Moshe survived a death march to Bergen-Belsen, where he was liberated by British troops. In his testimony, Moshe remembers the grim experience of the daily roll call at one of the concentration camps. The commandant would order everyone to take hats off (Mützen ab!) and to sing (Singen!). Moshe pays tribute to one of his musically talented fellow prisoners (whose name remains unknown), who sang this song during the roll call.

Mayn harts tut mir vey.
Vus zhe helft mayn geshrey,
Az kayner tut mikh nit oyshern?
Men tut mikh nor yugn,
Ikh fil mikh ershlugn,
Ikh hob shoyn kayn koy’kh mer tsu klern.

Der mentsh hot kayn deye,
Bay der runde matbeye
Af velkhe zayt es varft zikh.
Er tit shtendik shtrebn
Tsu genisn fun lebn.
In hartsn dort hobn dos glik.

Mentsh, di bist dokh narish,
Farges nisht fun deym,
Az dayn gants geveyn
Iz nor erd un leym.

In shtopn dem baytl,
Meynsti iz klig,
Farges nisht, di kumst naket
In di geyst naket tsurik.

Meygst zayn raykh vi Korakh,
Zikh budn in glik.
Blaybsti alts der zelber orakh,
Ven er ruft dikh tsurik.

In shtopn dem baytl,
Maynsti iz klig,
Farges nisht, kumst naket,
In di geyst naket tsrurik.

My heart is aching,
but what does my cry help,
If no one hears me?
They only chase me,
I feel beaten up.
I have no energy to think.

A human cannot understand,
when tossing a round coin,
On which side it will fall.
One always aspires
To enjoy life,
And have joy in one’s heart.

Human, you are foolish.
Don’t forget that
All your crying
Is just earth and clay.

And as you fill your wallet,
You think you’re so smart.
Remember, you’re born in this world naked,
And you’ll return naked.

You can become rich as Korah.
And bathe in luck,
You’re still the same as everyone else,
When God calls your number.

And as you fill your wallet,
You think you’re so smart.
Remember, you’re born in this world naked,
And you’ll return naked.