Monday, November 1, 2010

The Songs of Westerbork

Hello folks, as I promised in the program, here are the songs in "The Westerbork Serenade" with their translations and some historical info: 1) Die Westerbork Serenade, by Johnny and Jones (1944), Translated by Meiti Opie, adapted by David Natale Johnny & Jones 1944 Hallo We zijn niet helemaal in orde, Ben met mijn gedachten er niet bij, Opeens ben ik ‘n ander mens geworden, M’n hart klopt als de vliegtuigsloperij. Ik zing mijn Westerbork serenade, Langs‘t sporebaantje schijnt‘t zilvermaantje Op de heide. Ik sing mijn Westerbork serenade, Mit einer shone dame wandelend tezamen Zij aan zijde. En m’n hart brandt als de ketel in’t ketelhuis, Zo had Ik ‘t nooit te pakken bij m’n moeder thuis. Ik zing mijn Westerbork serenade, Tussen de barakken kreeg Ik haar te pakken Op de hei Diese Westerbork liebelei. Daar ging ik naar se Sanitaten, Die vent zei:”Der is heus niets aan te doen; Maar je voelt je heel wat stukken beter Na ‘t geven van de allereerste zoen. (endat moet je niet doen…) *** Westerbork Serenade Hello we feel a little out of order, To pull myself together is quite hard, Suddenly I’m a different person, My heart beats like the airplane wrecking yard. I sing my Westerbork serenade, Along the little rail-way the tiny silver moon shines On the heath. I sing my Westerbork serenade With a pretty lady walking there together, Cheek to cheek. And my heart burns like the boiler in the boiler house, Oh it never hit me quite like this at Mother’s place I sing my Westerbork serenade, In between the barracks I threw my arms around her Over there This Westerbork love affair. And so I went over to the medic, The guy says: “there is nothing you can do; Oh but you will feel a whole lot better After you give her a kiss or two (But that you mustn’t do…) This is it! The song that hooked me into the whole story. You can find it on Maak Het Donker In Het Donker, Opnamen uit de period 1938-’44, Nederlands Jazz Archief, recording (track 21). In August of '44 Johnny and Jones went to Amsterdam and ,either secretly or with the tacit approval of Commandant Gemmiker, they recorded a series of songs they had writen and/or performed in Westerbork. This was not as unusual as it seems. J&J had connections all over the Netherlands and, according to Louis Dewijze, they had been sent out on several occasions to buy props,canvas, paints and costumes for the shows. Their wives were hostages in camp, and they know from other incidents that if they didn't come back, others would suffer. they were transported to Auschwitz only a few weeks later in early September'44. 2)Man without a Passport /Mensch ohne Pass, In the play, this is a cut-and-paste/mix I put together. The words are by Max Werner Lenz (1935).The poem can be found in: Cabaret Performance Volume Two, Europe 1920-1940 by Laurence Senelick. The music is from: Was nützen mir die schönsten Nelken (1928); track 17 on Text und Musik Von Mir, Musik Antik am Weidenstieg, recording. 3)Oyfn Pripetshik /At the Fireplace,by Mark M. Warshawsky (1901) Oyfn pripetchik brent a fayerl Un in shtub is heys. Un der rebbe lernt kleyne kinderlekh Dem alef-beyz. Gedenkt'zhe, kinderlekh, Gedenkt'zhe, tayere, Vos ir lernt do. Zogt'zhe nokhamol un take nokhamol, Komets alef-o. Lernt, kinderlekh, hot nit moyre. Yeder onheyb iz shver. Gliklekh iz der yid vos lernt toyre, Vos darfn mir nokh mer? Az ir vet, kinderlekh, elter vern, Vet ir aleyn farshteyn, Vifil in di oysyes lign trern Un vifil geveyn. Lernt, kinderlekh, mit groys kheyshik, Azoy zog ikh aykh on. Ver s'vet beser vun aykh kenen ivri, Der bakumt a fon. *** A fire burns on the hearth And it is warm in the little house. And the rabbi is teaching little children The alphabet. Remember, children, Remember, dear ones, What you learn here. Repeat and repeat yet again, Komets alef-o. Learn, children, don't be afraid. Every beginning is hard. Lucky is the Jew who studies Torah. What more do we need? When, children, you will grow older You will understand, How many tears lie in these letters And how much crying. Learn, children, with enthusiasm, As I instruct you. The one who learns Hebrew better Will receive a flag. I includded this Yiddish classic because I wanted to have a taste of the culture that was mostly wiped out by the Holocaust. I have Willy Rosen sing an excerpt of it to Kids in a Westerbork school after he realizes that they do not know him as an entertainer, and that his songs-now banned as "Degenerate" may very well dissapear from the world as well. Mark M. Warshawsky (1840-1907) is known as the Yiddish Robert Burns or Woody Guthrie. He is considered a true folk poet. Warshawsky was first an unsuccessful lawyer in Kiev. He originally called this song, ‘Der Alef-Beyz”. Warshawsky was discovered by the great Yiddish writer, Sholom Aleichem who helped publish his works, most notably; Yidishe Folkslider /Yiddish folk songs (1900). They also frequently performed together. During the Holocaust it was used as a ghetto song: “At the ghetto wall, a fire burns, the surveillance is keen.” In the Soviet Union in the early 1960’s a clandestine version went as follows: “Even should they beat you or throw you on the pyre, repeat komets-alef-o." 4) Magdeline/Little girl, by Willy Rosen (1943) translation: Louis Dewijze & Annatina Luck; adaptation: Natale click the link to hear an interview with Louis Dewijze. Louis sings this song.He also sings; Eine Walze (see picture top), the V and the OD (see pictures for July 10 2008 entry). Dewijze also mentions Chaja Goldstein (see entry Nov 22 2008). 5) Wenn Ein Paketchen Kommt /When a Small Package Comes by Willy Rosen (1943), translation: Dewijze & Jerry Silverman; adaptation: Natale Wenn ein paketchem kommt, Dann freut sich gross und klein. Wenn ein paketchen kommt, ist auch beim Regen Sonnenschein. Ein Pakchen gut verschnurt, Ganz ohne Spesen, Mann kann nicht schnell genug den knoten losen Wenn ein paketchen kommt ist auch der kranke nicht mir krank Und mann schreipt sofort ein kartchen “Besten Dank!” *** When a small package comes, there’s joy for old and young. When a small package comes, a rainy day is bright with sun. And if it is well stocked, and you keep all you got, Then you can hardly wait as you untie the knot. When a small package comes, the sick are healed on the spot And you send a little card says, “Thanks a lot.” (See bottom picture) Camilla Spira lead this song with the Westerbork Girlsin the revue: Humor und Melodie, September 1943( see: ). They thank the commandant for allowing food, packages and letters to be sent into the camp. The writing under the picture tells of Spira's almost Aryan status. She was eventually "Arianized" and released. 6)Scrappin to Music /Wij Sloopen Met Muziek, by Johnny and Jones (1944), translated by Else Cobb, adaptation: Natale. Mijn baas heet Bayer en ik werk me naar Wij halen stukken vliegtuig uit elkaar Maar wij zijn heel gauw met het werken klaar Want we slopen met muziek, begrijp je? M’n Gruppenliter Katz die vindt het fijn Om Gruppenleiter over ons te zijn. De productie gaat in stijgende lijn Want we slopen met muziek Beyer, Brauner, Hoffman en Tas Zitten heel vaak in de rats Met moeilijke mechaniek. Maar wij slopen met muziek Stuk geroest of vast gesoldeerd Wordt door ons gedemonteerd. Wij beheersen de techniek Want wij slopen met muziek! Als wij beginnen te zingen Gaan de schroeven en bouten swingen De propellers en de motoren vallen zomaar uit elkaar Als zij ons horen, Bayer Hoffman Brauner en Tas Zitten nu niet meer in de rats Want wij slopen reuze sjiek Met muziek, met muziek, met muziek ‘nKehrsvertrauner es geht furchbar schnell “Jawohl” zei Hoffman, “heus dat weet ik wel.” Dat komt alleen maar door dat gekke stel Sie zerlegen mit Muzik, versteht sie Maar op een keer deden ze niet zoveel Van honderd kilo slechts het tiende deel Die dag hadden we pijn in onze keel, Want we slopen met muziek! En de hamers en de tangen Wisten wij mooi te vervangen Door muziek, door muziek, door muziek *** Bayer my boss works me ‘til I’m insane, scrapping the pieces of the aeroplanes. We do our work and we sure do it quick, ‘cause we’re scrapping to music-you get me? Group leader Katz he doesn’t give no fuss. He’s really happy being boss of us. Production’s up and he knows that’s because We are scrapping to music. Bayer, Brauner, Hoffman and Tats Problems they got lots and lots With mediocre mechanics But we’re scrapping to music. Welded stuck encrusted with rust Easy stuff for us to bust ‘Cause we’ve mastered the technique We’re scrapping to music. When we start our singing Nuts and bolts start swinging Propellers and the motors start To crumble to pieces and fall apart. Bayer, Brauner Hoffman and Tats Aint got any problems with us ‘Cause we’re scrapping oh so chic To music, to music, to music Said Kehrsvertrauner,“ fastest that I’ve seen.” “Jawohl” said Hoffman, “I know what you mean.” “It’s all because we got that crazy team Who are scrapping to music-you get me”? But then one day we didn’t make the quote. One hundred kilos only tenth the load. I couldn’t sing that day I had a sore throat ‘Cause we’re scrapping to music. And the hammers and the cutters We turn one thing and the others To music, to music, to music This great little number can be found on track 24 on Maak Het Donker In Het Donker, Opnamen uit de period 1938-’44, Nederlands Jazz Archief, recording. it starts with a standard blues riff moving into swing on the chorus. J&J manage to describe their work and name their German Jewish supervisors. Many of them are referred to in Year of Fear, A Jewish Prisoner Waits For Auschwitz by Philip Mechanicus. Brauner was considered a particularly nasty customer. 7)The Best Bloom In the LAWA /De Mooiste Bloem Uit De LAWA, (1944 )by Johnny and Jones, translation: Else Cobb, adaptation: Natale kHad vroeger en tuintje Gewoonweg een droom Met gras en met wurmen, En een appelen boom. De sla en andijvie, die deden het best, Dat heb ik hier weer aan mijn groenten attest. Ook op bloemen ben ik dol, En had steeds mijn kamer vol. Maar ik houd van hyacinthen, Ook met rozen ben ik blij, Maar de beste bloem uit de Lawa daar ben jij. Ik houd van mooie planten, ik heb been hele rij, Maar de mooiste plant uit de Lawa, daar ben jij Er komen heel veel klanten, die dringen om je heen, Ze komen voor de bloemen, Maar ik voor jou alleen. Maar dat zijn.mooie bloemen daar op de Drentse hei Maar de beste bloem op de Lawa daar ben jij, Maar de beste bloem op de Lawa daar ben jij. Ik heb hier op het kamp ook een tuintje gemaakt. Daarvan is iedereen in extase geraakt. Plots kwam er zandstorm toen kwam ik weer tec Na een half uur waaien m’n tuintje was weg. Het gaat boven mijn verstand, Waar vandaan komt al dat zand? Ik vis soms olijven, zet de pitten tezij (aan mij?) ,Die zaai k dan uit in mijn tuin op de hei. En gaan ze dan bloeien Nou dat kan toch bestaan, Misschien komen er dan “gesuise mallane”. Ik hou veel van de natuur, daarom zing ik nu vol vuur: *** I once had a garden, ‘twas a dream to see, with grass and worms and an apple tree. The endives or lettuce now which was the best? I had lots of veggies they all passed the test. I love flowers all in bloom, and with them I filled my room. Though I love the hyacinths and I like the roses too, But the best bloom in the LAWA oh it’s you. How I love the pretty plants and in a row I grow them too. But the greenest plant in the LAWA oh it’s you. Well there are lots of shoppers, they’re crowding all around. They come to pick the flowers, but I come for you alone. Out on the heath at Drenthe the blooms are pretty too. But the best bloom in the LAWA oh it’s you But the best bloom in the LAWA oh it’s you In camp here I just dug a small garden out, which everyone else is ecstatic about. Along came a sand-storm, so I hit the deck, and when I looked up my poor garden was wrecked. I just cannot understand from where comes all that sand? I plant all the pits from the olives I eat in the plot of the garden I have on the heath. And then when they bloom; it can happen you know; a (beautiful olive tree) surely will grow. I love nature there’s no doubt, so I sing it now full out. What a sweet song. So Dutch,so ascerbic, so sad. The LAWA is short for Lager Warrenhaus, where goods previously looted from Jews in Amsterdam were distributed amongst the Westerbork inmates. It is track 22 on Maak Het Donker In Het Donker, Opnamen uit de period 1938-’44, Nederlands Jazz Archief, recording 8)Die Dammenschue Von Zimmer No. 20 /The Ladies shoes from room #20, by Herbert and Rudolf Nelson (1939), translated by A.Luck, adaptation: Natale When I awake each night, all other’s eyes shut tight. Into the hall I flit with my shoe shining kit. I stand before each door. Shoes lined along the floor. And all the shoes I see I take along with me. And then I start to polish and to rub them, The men’s and ladies shoes from off the floor. The men’s shoes, well now, I don’t care to scrub them. But shinning women’s shoes is something I adore. And then tonight I saw beside a bedroom door, A pair of pumps apart that went straight to my heart. I love the scintillating, titillating, succulent and captivating Lady’s shoes from chamber Number twenty. I think I have a thing for them. I simply have to sing for them The lady’s shoes from chamber Number twenty. It’s them I shine with ardor. I put them back in order. The climax of it is when I hug them and I kiss them. The scintillating, titillating succulent and sweet I’m into Lady’s shoes from chamber number twenty. And so when I alight, I can’t wait for the night. Room 20’s shows I prize, the ones I idolize. I clean the other shoes once over with a brush So I have time to dream, and there’s no need to rush. And then I spend the evening fantasizing Imagine how our life could be one day. Going out and coming home together, After we have danced the night away. We stand before the door, her body next to mine. “Shall we take off our shoes?” Oh boy, that would be fine! (chorus) But then, my God, this evening, I simply have to curse, By chamber No. 20, a man's shoes next to hers. These shoes that were my bride-to be are dead As far as I can see, i'll never shine those shoes in front of 20! I found this song on: A’Dam Berlijn, Denk Vandaag Niet Aan Morgen Recording from the Neederlands Theater Instituut(Discola-nelson productie-coll.kloters, Amsterdam). It wasn't done at Westerbork, but it so fits with the Commandant's shoe tirade (which is historically documented) that I had to put it in. On the recording we hear the character-baritone of Auto Aurich, who was in the Westerbork revues (see ). He and Lisl Frank were a popular song and dance team (see link: ) 9)The Snag /Sek, by Conrad Tom (1931), translated by Senelick, adapted by Natale you can find it in: Cabaret Performance Volume Two, Europe 1920-1940 by Laurence Senelick, 10) Das Bist Du /It is you, by Willy Rosen (1944), translated by Dewijze, adapted by Natale Ich hab es heut Nacht den Sternen erzahlt,Ich liebe Dich. Ich hab es heut fruh den blumen erzahlt,Ich liebe Dich. Ich sing es hinaus in die Welt, Dass eine mir nur nocht gefullt; Das bist Du, das bist Du, nur Du. Und hor ich Musik, dann singt jeder Ton,Ich liebe Dich. Ich scwatze beim Tag, Ich pheiffe ja schon,Ich liebe Dich. Mein Herz ist von sehnsucht erfullt, Im Traume erscheint mir Dein bild, Das bist Du, das bist Du, nur du. *** I tell it at night to the stars in the sky, I love you Today to the flowers I say with a sigh, I love you. I said to the world how I’ve felt There’s just one who makes my heart melt, It is you, it is you, only you. When I hear a song, each chord seems to ring, I love you. As I fly along to the birdies I sing, I love you. My heart overflows like a stream, your picture appears in my dream. It is you it is you-only you. This song appeared in "Bunter Abend" a Westerbork review from March 1944. Jetty Cantor sang it there. It is listed as "Ich hab es heut nacht den sternen erzahlt" 11) Oh Boom by Johnny and Jones 1938 it is track #3 on Maak Het Donker In Het Donker, Opnamen uit de period 1938-’44, Nederlands Jazz Archief, recording. The song is in English and full of contemporary song references of which "Bei Mir bis du Shoen" is the only one I recognise. 12) Wenn Man Konnte Was Man Heimlich Wollte, If One Could Do What One Wanted, by Willy Rosen (1944), translated by Dewijze, adapted by Natale Willy Rosen, 1944 (Trans. Annatina Luck, Adapt, D.N.) Wenn man konnte, was man Heimlich wollte Das verbotene dass man nicht denken sollte. Wenn man konnte was man sich ertraumte Und das man das einst bisher versaumte. Vielleicht war dann das Tolle erstrebenswert. Die Gedanken scheuen das Tageslicht, Doch ich glaube oft ihr kennt guch selber nicht *** If only you could do what you secretly wanted to The nameless thing that is forbidden. If only you could do just what you dream you could do, The things now lost for which you’ve striven. Perhaps then life might be worth living. Maybe then those crazy things would be worth achieving. But my thoughts, they cower from the light. Poor things, I think they don’t know day from night. This song was in the sketch "Opium" in the Humor und Melodie revue of September '43. you can look at the programs on www.westerborkserenade.con on the History page. (also third photo) 13) Ich Liebe Nur Die Heide/ I Love only the Heath, by Willy Rosen (1943 or 44) Ich liebe nur die Heide. Auf die Heide allein kann Ich gluklich sein. Ja das ist meine wonne. Meine seele erwacht wenn die sonne lacht *** I only love the heath Only on the heath can I be happy Yes that is my delight, My soul awakes when the sun laughs Also from Humor und Melodie.(see second photo) 14) Immer Langsam /Take it slowly, by Willy Rosen (1943), translated by Dewijze, adapted by Natale Immer langsam, immer langsam,Immer mit Gemtulichkeit Wir haben noch lange zeit es ist noch nicht soweit... Take it slowly, ever slowly, there is plenty of time So take it all in stride, the journey’s not so wide Take it slowly, ever slowly, make lots of time for rest There is no need for haste, it’s over much to fast What is the meaning of our life? It’s a carousel of fate And once the ride is finished, then too soon it is too late. See photo second from bottom, also from Humor und Melodie: Max Ehrlich as coachman, Gunter Witepsky and Mara Rosen (I think) as the couple. This was a scene nostalgic of better days during the Biedermeier period (mid 1800's)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

After reading , "Westerbork Serenade, I was taken back to April 1945, when I was only 5 and a half years old and we had been sent from Apeldoorn along with many others, mostly women and the back of an old open german transport truck. My mother and I had almost frozen it was so cold.
We were the last Jews to be sent to the Westerbork be sent on to Auschwitz..But after being there only a few days..the Germans left...and we were all left alone and later sent back to the market square in Apeldoorn, from where all German prisoners were assembled.
Yes I remember alot...and my mother had told me later what had transpired.
Thank you for the old songs..and the memories.