Original Title: Mayn kholem
Yiddish folk poet and songwriter Mordecai Gebirtig was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1877. In 1940, he was forced to flee from German-occupied Krakow to nearby Lagiewniki. There, in May 1941, he wrote "My Dream"—in which he dreams of peace and revenge. In March 1942 Gebirtig was forced into the Krakow ghetto, where he was killed in June 1942.
I've just now had the sweetest dream --
I still can feel how my heart thrills --
Peace has come! Yes peace has come!
Peace throughout the whole wide world.
There is singing in the streets,
Children dancing, old folks, too;
Row by row the people gather --
Singing out the joyful news.
Peace has come! Yes, peace has come!
Enemies are replaced by friends;
More than others, Jews are singing,
To celebrate their greatest day.
Men are kind to one another,
As if Messiah had arrived;
Suddenly, I hear chains rattling --
And what a vision I behold!
In a cage, enclosed in iron,
Lies the figure of a naked man,
Like an angry, savage creature,
Hungry as a forest wolf.
Men and women, children, too,
Passersby of every age,
Treat him like a rotting carcass --
Aim and spit into the cage.
And with passion, and with pleasure,
They spit directly in his face;
While a swarm of biting insects
Lines up in the spray, and waits.
"Spit on him! Spit on him!" I hear the cry,
"He's poisoned our whole world!
Eternally as the name of Cain --
Shall his name be cursed with blood!"
"Spit on him! Spit on him!" echo the streets,
Resounding to the cry;
And as the masses file past his cage,
Each person aims, and lets some spit fly.
I beheld this vision in a dream;
I only hope that very soon
This beautiful, sweet dream of mine
Will in fact come true.