Hirsh Glik

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Sir Martin Gilbert – Hirsh Glik. from ISBN 0-8050-0348-7 The Holocaust A History of The Jews of Europe During the Second World War
Chapter 29 pages 568-9 and page 607
[his poem about resistance, 568-9; deported, and never seen again (1943), 607]
Sir Martin Gilbert wrote….
“the crashing fires of hell”..
On May 1st 1943, while the battle still raged in the Warsaw ghetto, a group of Jewish writers and poets had gathered in the Vilna ghetto for an evening on the theme, ‘Spring in Yiddish Literature’. Every speaker and every poem, was permeated with the spirit of fighting in the Warsaw ghetto. At the meeting, the poet Shmerl Kaczerginski saw his fellow poet, the twenty three year old Hirsh Glik. “Well, what’s new with you, Hirsh?”  he asked. “I wrote a new poem,” Glik replied. “Want to hear it”?
Glik bought the poem to Kaczerginski’s room on the morning of May 2. “now listen carefully,” he told his friend. “I’ll sing it for you.” Then, as Kaczerginski later recalled: ‘He began to sing it softly but full of excitement. His eyes glowed with little sparks. “The hour for which we yearned will come anew.” Where did he get his faith?  His voice became firmer. He tapped out the rhythm with his foot, as if he were marching.
The song which Hirsh Glik sang to his friend in Vilna on that May morning was to spread like wildfire in the ghettos and the camps, and among the Jewish partisans, becoming the song of hope, and battle hymn of oppressed Jewry. Itself inspired by the struggle in the Warsaw ghetto, the song was to inspire tens of thousands of Jews to fight if they could, and if they could not fight, to survive:
Never say that you have reached the very end
Though leaden skies a bitter future may portend
And the hour for which we’ve yearned will yet arrive
And our marching step will thunder: ‘We survive!’
From green palm trees to the land of distant snow
We are here with our sorrow, our woe
And wherever our blog was shed in pain
Our fighting spirits now will resurrect again.
The golden rays of morning sun will dry our tears
Dispelling bitter agony of yesteryears
But if the sun and dawn with us will be delayed
Then let this sing ring out to you the call, instead
Not lead, but blood inscribed this mighty song we sing
Its not a carolling of birds upon the wing
But a people midst the crashing fires of hell,
Sang this song with guns in hands until it fell.
Most of the Jews seized in the Warsaw ghetto as the revolt was crushed were deported to Treblinka and gassed. Others were sent to Majdanek, or to labour camps in the Lublin region, principally those at Trawniki and Poniatowa. Several thousand Jews found refuge in ‘Aryan’ Warsaw.
Page 607 – from last paragraph 606 Chapter 30 “To Perish but with Honour”
On September 1 the Germans began the final deportations from Tarnow to Birkenau. For two days the Jews resisted with arms. But none of those who took up arms survived. As with the resistance in nearby Sandomierz, the only reports that survive of the resistance of the Jews came from Polish eye-witnesses. In Tarnow, according to a Polish underground report, the Germans used grenades to break up the resistance, then loading the surviving Jews into goods wagons, the insides of which were covered with carbide and lime. According to the Polish report, the wagons were then ‘sealed, inundated with water, and sent off to extermination’. { Glos Warszawry No 67 (76) 26 October 1943: Ber Mark Uprising in the Warsaw ghetto New York 1975 document 77 page 182. The five Thousand Jews deported from Tarnow in the first week of September 1943 were sent to Birkenau together with three and half thousand Jews from Przemysl and three thousand from Bochnia all three towns being on the Auschwitz-Tarnow-Lvov railway]
It was also on September 1, in Vilna, that the deportations to the Estonian labour camps had begun. Amoung those who disappeared during the deportations was HIRSH GLIK, the twenty three year old author of  of the song of hope and defiance.
On the first day of the deportations, the Jewish resistance in Vilna, the United Partisans Organisation, issued a proclamation, ‘Jews, prepare for armed resistance!” Death was certain. ‘Who can still believe he will survive when the murderers kill systematically?’ The hand of the hangman will reach out to each of us. Neither hiding or cowardice will save lives”
{Proclamation of 1 September 1943, Arad, Gutman and Margaliot, Documents on the Holocaust, op. cit., document no 209 pages 459 – 60}
Thanks to:
Jacqueline Cole AGSM., MT Dip NR.,
Viktor Ullmann Foundation