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Video Archives: Lazar Burshtein

Lazar Burshtein

Lazar Burshtein

born in Goworowo , 1929

Videos

Lazar Burshtein was born in Goworowo (Poland; Yiddish: Govrove) in 1929, where he lived until the 1939 German invasion of Poland. He had five siblings and went to religious school (kheyder) and then studied at a Polish school. When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, he fled with his family into Soviet occupied Belorussia, first to Bialystok and then to Bobruisk, where he lived until the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union. After He then fled with his family further east toward the Urals, where he lived in evacuation in Chusovaya for the duration of the war, during which time his parents died. There he met some other Jews from Zhytomyr, and decided in 1944, to settle with them in Zhytomyr.


Current Video: Oreme pleytim (Poor Refugees)

Lazar Burshtein told us when we visited him in 2002 that he remembered hearing this song from German refugees in Poland. The song likely originated among refugees from the First World War.

Another, apparently fuller version of this song, entitled "Gasn zinger," appears in the commercially recorded "Jidische Vergessene Lieder" by Karsten Troyke (1997/98). The details of that album can be viewed here. The text of the song appears on p. 25 of the album's liner notes and was also reproduced online. Karsten tells in his introduction to the liner notes (pp. 6-7), that this song was found by his Yiddish language and Yiddish song mentor Sara Bialas-Tenenberg "in a 10 groszy song book" which she got as a little girl in prewar Poland, when this song was "a Yiddish hit" in the Polish Republic.

Elnt un eynzam bin ikh yung geblibn
On a tatn-mamen,on a heym
Shtark tsu der arbet hot men mikh getribn
Gevolt a mentsh zol fun mir zayn

Oreme pleytim--Farloyrn af der velt
Oreme pleytim--on ayn groshn on an ayn getselt
A gasn-zinger gevorn bin ikh fun noyt
Tsulib a froy gekumen bin ikh tsu dem broyt

Mayn veytog tu ikh aykh atsind oyszingen
Un batrakht mayne verter atsind
Tsu vos a froy ken alts tsu brengen
Ven zi hot a man mit a kind

S'iz oys milyonen--Ayn kaptsn bin ikh shoyn tsurik
S'iz oys milyonen--Farloyrn hob ikh mayn glik
Eyn gasn-zinger gevorn bin ikh fun noyt
Tsulib a froy gekumen bin ikh tsu dem broyt.
When I was young I was alone and miserable.
Without a mother and father.
Without a home.
I was pushed to work very hard
As a mentsh I deserved more.

Poor refugees lost in the world.
Poor refugees without a penny, without a roof.
I have become a street singer out of need.
On account of a woman, I came to this profession.

Let me sing to you about my suffering.
Looking at my words now.
And realizing what you can sacrifice for a woman,
when she has a husband and a child.

Are the millions gone.--I was left behind as a beggar.
Are the millions gone--I lost my fortune.
I became a street singer out of need.
On account of a woman, I came to this profession.