Zog Nit Keynmol

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Don’t Give Up Hope is an inspiring project which encourages students around the world to learn and sing Glik’s anthem” says HET’s Martin Winstone.

From World ORT:

The thundering, defiant optimism of Zog nit Keynmol, “The Partisans’ Song”, raised the morale of fighters against the Nazis but it can also be an inspiration to new generations – if they know about it. To ensure that this magnificent song and its stirring message is not lost, World ORT is supporting Eli Rabinowitz in his passionate campaign to introduce it to schoolchildren around the world. (Eli is on the far left of the picture with Stefan Bialoguski, Sadler Johnson, Cecile Dhour, Shoshana Kandel, and Daniel Tysman.)

Just as Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein has taken the local Shabbos Project idea to a global level, my vision for this project is to spread it throughout…

Please watch this short video and join an inspiring project:


With each Yom HaShoah the number of Survivors dwindles making the challenge of engaging new generations more difficult and more urgent. But Australian film maker Eli Rabinowitz has found a way – and it’s inspired ORT students across the Former Soviet Union.

Eli has started an international push to popularise the partisan song Zog Nit Keynmol by linking ORT and non-ORT schools in an online programme to not only learn its Yiddish – or Hebrew – words but also to delve into its meaning and historical significance and to share what they learn.

The result has moved groups of students at World ORT schools in Kiev, Odessa, Kishinev, Vilnius, Chernivtsi, Tallinn, Moscow, Kazan, Samara and Mexico to prepare videos for Yom HaShoah singing the anthem written by the Vilna poet Hirsh Glik to a melody by the Soviet-Jewish composer Dimitri Pokrass.

“This is a powerful statement and shows that we can link the generations this way,” South Africa-born Eli said. “How many Survivors will be with us next year? Let’s honour them and their legacy. Yom HaShoah is such a significant day for them and for our youth – for all of us! We are all survivors!”

With Fania Brancovskaja, survivor, Vilnius, Lithuania

With Phillip Maisel volunteer at Jewish Holocaust Centre, Melbourne, Australia

This 4 minute interview with Phillip Maisel below highlights the importance of the Partisan Song, and the role of our youth in keeping alive the legacy of Hirsh Glik’s poem of hope!

Phillip, 95, was a friend of  Hirsh Glik, and one of the first to hear this poem recited in the Vilna Gheto in 1943

Holocaust Memorial Day 2018

ZOG NIT KEYNMOL  Poem by Hirsh Glik 1943

With words by Hirsh Glik and music by Dmitri and Daniel Pokrass, “Zog Nit Keynmol” became the anthem of the Jewish underground resistance movement in World War II. Hirsh Glik’s lyrics were combined with a march melody from the 1938 Soviet film Son of the Working People to create the inspiring song “Zog Nit Keynmol.” Following the end of World War II “Zog Nit Keynmol” has frequently been sung at Holocaust commemorations worldwide, particularly on Yom Hashoah.

The words to “Zog Nit Keynmol” reflect the author’s strong belief in Jewish armed resistance to Nazi oppression. Like many other partisan songs, “Zog Nit Keynmol” served to reinforce Jewish identity and maintain camaraderie in an environment where heroism was required and death was commonplace. Refusing to admit defeat or accept the possibility that Jewish life in Europe was doomed, the song’s lyrics are defiant and optimistic.

Knowing that Jewish communities in Eastern Europe were being destroyed all around them, Jewish partisans employed armed resistance to oppose Nazism. Glik’s lyrics to “Zog Nit Keynmol” helped to sustain the partisans as they risked their lives while forging another link in the long tradition of Jewish poetry dedicated to maintaining unity against hostile outside forces.

—William R. Ferneke


With teachers and students at Solomo Aleichemo ORT school, Vilnius

Hirsh Glik’s family tree

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme

The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme

Source: www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/docs/paper26.shtml

Don’t Give Up Hope Project

An update for Holocaust Memorial Day

Study Guide 

A  lesson plan for teachers and learners


How the project started & developed. This includes the original presentations.


of my latest presentation

JHC Slides – Google Driveof my presentation

The Poem

How it can be recited as a poem. Examples.

The Music

How the music was matched to the words


LPs found

The Words

Now In 23 languages

Understand The Poem

Understand The Poem

The Partisan Poem  in 104 languages.

Hirsh Glik  by Phillip Maisel

Phillip was a friend of Hirsh in the ghetto. He has a remarkable account to tell.

Hirsh Glik by Hershl Hartman

A tribute form 2002

Song Heard Around The World by Yuri Suhl

1953 article I found in the Dorot Library, NYPL

Hymn by Leizer Ran

1972 booklet I found in the British Library

The Song – Made in Vilna

How is still being sung in Vilnius today

Project Videos

The collection of the project videos


ORT’s collection of videos from the FSU and Mexico


How the project has been reported around the world

Library Resources

sourced & shared by Julia Monique Reichstein

Rachel Margolis

How Rachel matched the music to the words

Oscar Borecki

A tribute to a member of the Bielski Partisans

Different Genres

Different versions of the song

Protest Song

The famous recording of Paul Robeson and others


Physical memorials to the song

Jewish Partisans

More information on the partisans

Partisans of Vilna 

1986 Film


2008 Film

War Poems

Photos from my visit to the British Library

Refugee Blues

WH Auden’s poem about German Jewish refugees

Antiwar Songs

An interesting website

Yad Vashem

Photos from my 2017 visit


Additional links

Prayer Books

Workshop at the Holocaust Centre. Johannesburg

My visit In February 2017

Radical Yiddish

Reprinted from Radical Yiddish with permission of Joel Schechter.