Watch Yiddish Glory: Yom Kippur Without Fascists
Source: Yiddish Glory Youtube Channel
Song: Yom Kippur Without Fascists
Artist: Yiddish Glory
Album: Yom Kippur Without Fascists
Licensed to YouTube by INgrooves (on behalf of Six Degrees Records)
“Yom Kippur Without Fascists” (1945) is a satirical song that was written in Almaty, Kazakhstan by an anonymous Jewish refugee to celebrate the end of World War II.
This is an important example of Yiddish culture created In Central Asia during the Holocaust where Jews from Poland, Romania and other parts of Europe found refuge, when the rest of the world was closed to them. “We heard almost no voices of people who experienced displacement, starvation and work at the home-front at that time,” explains University of Toronto professor Anna Shternshis who led Yiddish Glory’s project to resurrect these works.
“The song illustrates what mattered to those refugees, people who lost all of their families in Eastern Europe and were hoping that the world would have a place for them in the future.”
Its lyrics call for the death of Hitler, describing him as “kapores,” the sacrificial chicken of Yom Kippur. “They are angry, and their indignation is directed at Hitler and Nazi Germany,” adds Shternshis. This work combines the celebration of Judaism’s holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), with their anger towards fascism.
“The song is a time capsule of what was relevant to Yiddish speakers in Kazakhstan in 1945,” explains Shternshis.
“Yom Kippur Without Fascists” was part of the collection that was gathered by ethnomusicologist Moisei Beregovsky during World War II – which was thought lost to history when he was arrested by Stalin’s government shortly after the war. These songs were miraculously discovered decades later in a former Soviet archive at the Vernadsky National Library in Kiev. Many were performed for the first time in over 75 years on Yiddish Glory’s Grammy-nominated project, “The Lost Songs of World War II” (Six Degrees, 2018) and subsequent world tours.
Lyrics: Yom Kippur Without Fascists
This year, instead of a chicken, we spin Hitler for kapores
The end has come to our sufferings, our trouble
For Yom Kippur, he will be our kapore chicken
For Simchas Toyre* he will burn like a candle
So lift him Jews, above your heads!
And scream: This is my redemption
This replaces me!
Take the fascist and kill him!
To many long and sweet years, l’chaim!
*The holiday of Simchat Torah
Yom Kippur Without Fascists – Credits
Music by: Psoy Korolenko and Drew Jurecka
Words: Anonymous, collected by I. Merzon in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 1945
Psoy Korolenko: Vocals and Yiddish Glory co-creator
Rebekah Wolkstein: Violin
Drew Jurecka: Bandoneon and Clarinet
Joe Phillips: Bass
Robert Horvath: Piano
Drew Jurecka: Producer, Engineer and Arranger
Peter Letros: Mastering
Dan Rosenberg: Executive Producer and Creative Director
Anna Shternshis: Historian and Yiddish Glory co-creator
This song is part of Yiddish Glory’s new program of music by refugees welcomed in Central Asia during the Holocaust, with the support of Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des arts du Canada, the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.