Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik (When the Boys Come Home) Yiddish song of World War I

Isidore Lillian wrote the words and music to Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik, a song of the Great War.

It was printed in 1918. On the sheet music cover is written in English When the Boys Wel'n Kimen Tzurik -- the Yiddish says Ven di bois velen kumen tsurik. On the inside, the Yiddish is transliterated When die boys wellen kimen tzurik and also vellen kimen tsurik.

On the label of Anna Hoffman's 78, the title is spelled Wen die bois welen komen Zurik. This is why it's hard to search for Yiddish song titles!



The sheet music notes the song was "sung by Sam Rosenstein at the Bessie Tomashefsky's Peoples Theater N.Y. and by all the leading singers on the Jewish stage."

There are many songs of this kind in English from the First World War, but this is the only one I've seen in Yiddish.

Louis Birnbaum recorded the song for Columbia (spelled Wen Die Boys Welen Komen Zurick) and you can hear his record at the FAU site here with a lovely band accompaniment.

Pianist Aviva Enoch and I recorded the song a few days ago and you can hear it on youtube (click the picture below):


Here's the Yiddish transliteration, my English translation is on the video subtitles

Der tog fun ale teg vet zayn der shenster, di velt vet dan vi nay geborn zayn
Di zun vet shaynen in a yedn fenster, farshvindn dan vet kimer, shmertz, un payn.
Fun ales vos iz lib vet dos zayn liber far mentshn vet dos zayn dos greste glik
Ven di milkhome vet shoyn zayn fariber -- ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik!

Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik dos gantse land vet oyszen yontevdik
Shtelt aykh for nor dem empfang fil mit blumen un gezang
Tates mames vartn af dem oygnblik.
Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik in di gasn tantsn vet men azh far glik.
Men vet fridn shlisn, keyn blut mer fargisn,
Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik!

Der mames oygn zaynen fil mit trern, ir eyntsik kind iz dortn af der shlakht
Zi bet bay Got er zol im ir tsurik dern, zi kholemt fun ir zun a yedn nakht
Zi hot ir kind a brokhe mitgegebn, gey kempfen far dayn foterland mit glik
Yetst bet zi Got az zi zol nokh derlebn
Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik!

Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik dos gantse land vet oyszen yontevdik
Shtelt aykh for nor dem empfang fil mit blumen un gezang
Tates mames vartn af dem oygnblik.
Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik in di gasn tantsn vet men azh far glik.
Brengen vet mayn kozin Leyzer dem kopf fun daytshn keyser
Ven di boyes veln kumen tsurik!



For sheet music and/or performances contact me: jane@mappamundi.com

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