The moving Yiddish song 'Friling' (Spring) was written by Shmerke Kaczerginski in April 1943, after the death of his wife Barbara in the Vilna ghetto. Set to a tango melody composed by fellow inmate Avrom Brudno, the song's lyrics tell of the author's sadness and sense of despair and loneliness.

This recording, recreated by Gustavo Beytelmann, is from the CD, Tangele: The Pulse of Yiddish Tango available worldwide. The accompanying booklet contains translations of all lyrics to English. Courtesy of Tzadik and Tangele.

English translations by Lloica Czackis and Bella Klein. All lyrics have been adapted and transliterated according to the standardized YIVO Yiddish, except for where is required by rhyme.

Ikh blondzhe in geto fun gesl tsu gesl,          
un ken nisht gefinen keyn ort;           
nishto iz mayn liber, vi trogt men ariber?       
mentshn, o zogt khotsh a vort.           
Es laykht? oyf mayn heym itst, der himl der bloyer, 
vos zhe hob ikh itst derfun?   
ikh shtey vi a betler bay yetvidn toyer,          
un betl, a bisele zun.
Friling, nem tsu mayn troyer,             
Un breng mayn libstn, mayn trayen tsurik.    
Friling, oyf dayne fligl bloye,                               
O, nem mayn harts mit un gib es op mayn glik.         
[...] S’iz hay-yor der friling gor fri ongekumen,         
Tseblit hot zikh benkshaft nokh dir,  
Ikh ze dikh vi itster balodn mit blumen,
A freydiker geytse tsu mir.    
Di zun hot fargosn dem gortn mit shtraln,
Tseshprotst hot di erd zikh in grin.    
Mayn trayer, mayn libster, vu bistu farfaln?  
Du geyst nisht aroys fun mayn zin.   
     Friling, nem tsu mayn troyer...

I roam through the ghetto from alley to alley,
And I cannot find any haven;
My beloved is not here, how can I bear it?
Oh, people, at least say something.
The blue sky illuminates my home
But what benefit do I have from it now?
I stand like a beggar at each gate,
And beg for a little bit of sunshine.
     Springtime, dispel my sorrow,
     And bring back my beloved, my adored one to me.
     Springtime, on your blue wings,
     Oh, take my heart with you and return joy to it.
[…] This year springtime came very early,
And my longing blossomed for you once again,
I see you before me all laden with flowers,
Happily you come to me.
The sun showered the garden with its rays,
The earth has sprouted its green.
My adored one, my darling, where have you gone?
You are never out of my mind.
     Springtime, dispel my sorrow…