"Siete Dias Enserados" - Greek Sephardic poetry of the Holocaust, new music by me.
David Haim was originally from Salonika in Greece. He survived the death camps and immigrated to Tel Aviv after the Holocaust.
This year our local Yom HaShoah (Holocaust remembrance) memorial featured a speaker from Greece, so Sheva Zucker and her committee worked on finding music from Greek tradition. They wanted to feature this poem although the speaker was not a Sephardic Jew, because Sephardic Jews actually outnumbered Greek-speaking (Romaniote) Jews in the country.
I offered to set this poem to music. I listened to about thirty Greek cds (I bought them all in a bundle on eBay a few years ago!) and then channeled Tsitsianis. Here's the first and perhaps only-ever performance of the song as I put it together. Sung by the Triangle Jewish Chorale, April 20 2009, with Ken Bloom on guitar, Bob Vasile on bouzouki, and I was playing fiddle.
It's been brought to my attention (see comments) that the author had a melody for this song and has performed it.
Poem by David Haim, music adapted/written by Jane Peppler
Siete dias enserados
en vagones de bemas
ouna ves alos tres dias
mos quitavan ayrear.
Madre mia mi querida
ya touvites el zehout
de mouerirte en tous tieras
y non passates por el olouk.
Padre mio mi cerido
quien te lo iva dezir
que vinieras con tou ermano
al cramatorio de Auchvits?
Padre y madre ermanos y ermanikas
saliendo todos redjadjis
a el patron de el moundo
que embie saloud ami
que me quite de estos campos
para vos etchar kadich.
Seven days locked up in boxcars for animals. Once every three days they would take us out for air.
My dearest mother, you were fortunate, dying in your own country and not passing through the chimney.
My dearest father, who would have told you that you would come with your brother to the crematorium of Auschwitz?
Father and mother, brothers and sisters, may you all be supplicants to the Master of the World, to grant me health and remove me from these camps to recite Kaddish for you.