Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Di terkishe bulgarishe milkhome (The Turkish-Bulgarian War) - Morris Rund, indefatigable kibitzer, is opposed to it.

I believe this was probably written about what is called the First Balkan War. It's set to the interesting tune of Di blumenkrantz by Solomon Small.

Anti-war protestors still say these exactly same things. In my opinion this is one of Morris Rund's better efforts.

Here's today's video:

Nikolai Borodulin of Workman's Circle found this great political cartoon drawn by Samuel Zagat (for more of his work see on the subject of this very war.

From November 28, 1912, click for a larger view. The title is: "The Flown-away Turkey." Around the table, clockwise from the right, with knives and forks out, we have Russia, Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, and Czar Ferdinand from Bulgaria. The caption beneath says:
And when you'd gotten a Turkey, you shot her, you plucked and roasted her, you had her on your plate, you took a knife and fork, you made a blessing over her, you opened your mouth, and ... suddenly she opens up a pair of big wings and gobble, gobble, gobble! "And the child is gone." That's what happened this Thanksgiving in the Balkans.

Transliteration and translation of the song after the jump.

Di velt yetst progresirt, makht forshrit fil.
Dos tsaygt der toyt atsind zayn vildn shpil
Mentshn mit kepf dome firn yetst milkhome
Fun harmatn un kanonen faln zey milyonen
A yeder kemft dort tray af dem shlakhtfeld
Un ver dort blut fargist der iz a held
A yeder tsaygt zayn mut un zukht dem tsveytns blut
Me shtekt zikh un men shist umshuldik un umzist
Dos lebn hot keyn vert mit blut iz fil di erd!

Okh, mentsh biz ven vestu zayn azoy dos?
Du shist du shtekht fargist blut zog far vos?
Vos nitst far dir di krig? Vos hostu fun dayn zig?
Nit in blut fargisn ligt mentsh dayn glik
Du kemfst atsind mit polver un mit blay
Dokh blaybn vet a hersher say vi say
Tsu vozhe nitst der "fight" mit dayn gantsn shtrayt?
Beser kemf far zikh aleyn un ver bafrayt!

Vu iz, mentsh, dayn farshtand, dayn eksistents?
Leb, loz lebn oykh a tsveytn mentsh.
In hayntikn yor hundert azoy zayn opgezundert
Mentshn zoln eyns dem tsveytn zikh gor mordn teytn
Krist kemft gegn krist, yid gegn yid,
Un ver s'iz shtarker dort, der fargist blit,
Dokh freg: tsu vos men shlogt? Far vemen zikh men yogt?
Fargisn blut a yam vos hobn zey fun dem?
Shoyn tsayt, mentsh, zolst farshteyn
Keyn hersher darf nit zayn!

The world is modernizing now, making lots of progress.
Now death is showing, now, his wild game.
Men in domed hats are waging war now.
Millions of them are falling, shot by rifles and cannons.
Each fights there, faithful, on the battlefield,
And he who makes blood flow is a hero.
Each shows his courage and seeks another's blood
There's stabbing and shooting, innocently and pointlessly.
Life has no worth. The earth is full of blood.

Oh, man, how long will you be this way?
You shoot and stab, blood flows... and tell me, why?
What use is the war to you? What do you get from your victory?
Your happiness does not lie in bloodletting.
You fight now with powder and lead
But you'll be stuck with a sovereign, win or lose.
How do you benefit from the fight and all your struggles?
Better to fight for yourself and be freed.

Man, where is your understanding, your existence?
Live and let live.
In this day and age, there is such alienation,
that people should kill and murder each other...
Christians against Christians, Jews against Jews,
And whoever is stronger makes blood gush...
So ask: why does one hit? For whom is one rushing around?
An ocean of blood, what do they get from it?
It's time, people, to understand:
There should be no sovereigns!

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