Song

Shifrele's Portrait

Original Title: Shifreles portret

Performer: Daniel Kempin
Lyricist: Mordecai Gebirtig
Composer: Mordecai Gebirtig/Daniel Kempin

Yiddish folk poet and songwriter Mordecai Gebirtig was born in 1877 in Krakow, Poland.

He wrote "Shifrele's Portrait" was written in Krakow in December 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II. Gebirtig's eldest daughter, Shifre, lived in Lvov, and was separated from her family when the Soviets annexed Lvov. In this brief song, Gebirtig, gazing at his daughter's photograph, imagines himself in conversation with her. She assures him that the war will end soon, and that parent and child will be reunited.

On the wall, to the left of my bed,
Hangs my daughter Shifrele's portrait.
Often, in the middle of the night,
When I think of her, and miss her so,
I see how she looks at me,
I hear what she says:

"Daddy dear! I know that you're sad,
But the war won't last too very long;
Soon I shall return to you --
Peace will soon knock at the door."
Smiling lovingly, so speaks
Shifrele's portrait.