Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
Index of songs on this site
Link to comprehensive index and research notes
Youtube: all the Penny Songs I've recorded so far (with subtitles)

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List of the still-lost songs: do you know any of them?
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Friday, January 1, 2021

Lozt arayn (Let Them In) - Immigration song by Rumshinsky & Jaffee, sung by Aaron Lebedeff

Thanks to Arye Mechachem who transcribed the lyrics of this song about the cruelty of US immigration policy (sound familiar?) 

 Here is one of my favorite pictures of Lebedeff in his youth.

Per a reader request, I made a video with lyrics and translations on screen:

In elis aylend, in der grates, shteyt an alte froy un shmakht.
Ongeton in kleyder shmates, ir ponim gel un shvarts vi di nakht.
Di alte mame iz geforn tsu di kinder ful mit glik...
Un do di kvote, vey di yorn, zogt az zi muz geyn tsurik.
On rakhmones, fil korbones,
Lozt tsefaln dort bay der tir.
Keyn harts, keyn oyern, dort bay di toyrn,
Akh, golden land, vos iz mit dir?

Lozt arayn, lozt arayn, oy,
Hot nit keyn hertser fun shteyn.
Efnt di toyrn fun dem golden land,
Ir zet mentshn faln, shtrekn zey oys di hant.
Lozt arayn, lozt arayn,
Tsebrekht keyn hertser, oy, neyn
Di gantse velt, mentshn, vet aykh farbentshn --
Di toyrn makht uf un lozt arayn.

An alter tate mit dem kop geboygn,
In elis aylend ful mit leyd.
Tsvey kinder kleyne hot er dertsoygn,
Yesoymim beyde zaynen zey.
Di mame hobn zey farloyrn,
Un aher gekumen mit groys mid.
Farshlosn iz far zey di toyrn.
Tsum tatn lozt men zey nit tsi.
Frish tserisn, ongevizn,
Vern hertser do bay der tir
oy, im tsu trern kumt zol aykh hern
Di gantse velt shrayt itst tsu dir:


At Ellis Island, behind bars, stands an old woman, wasting away,
Dressed in rags, her face yellowed and dark as night.
The old mother traveled to the children, full of joy,
And here, the quota (ay no!) says she must go back again.
Without pity, so many victims left to fall there by the door
No heart, no ears, there by the gateway…
Ah, golden land, what is with you?

Let them in, let them in, oy
Don’t have hearts of stone
Open the gates of the Golden Land
When you see people fall, stretch out your hand to them
Let them in, let them in, don’t break any hearts
The world, people, will bless you --
Open the gates and let them in.

An old father, his head bent, in Ellis Island, full of sorrow,
He raised two little children, they were both orphans.
They lost their mother and came here, so tired.
The gates are locked against them,
They aren’t allowed to join their father.
Torn away so recently, dependent
Hearts dependent by the door.
Oy, come listen to him brought to tears
The whole world cries out to you now:

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:


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