Lager-Lieder (Camp Songs)

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Lager-Lieder
(Camp Songs)

Not last night but the night before, twenty-
four Gestapo came knocking at the door.

As we ran out, they ran in, and this is
what they shouted then: Oh, Ju-den, Ju-den,

turn around. Oh, Ju-den, Ju-den, touch the
ground. Ju-den, Ju-den, get out of town.

Fly away, fly away, fly away home.
Your house is on fire, your children alone.

Black currant, red currant, raspberry tart,
this is the day and hour you’ll depart.

All you Juden, how you wander, from one
land in-to another. Führer promised

Aryan fear — We’ll have no more Juden
here. All these homeless Juden, lo, where shall

these poor Juden go? Send them east. No, send
them west. No, send them where they’re loved the best.

One suitcase, two parcel, three rucksack, four,
five suitcase, six parcel, seven rucksack,

more — Füh-rer said to spare the Ger-mans and
these are too Jew. You, left. You, right.

First Jew I see tonight. I wish I may,
I wish I might, kill the Jews I see tonight.

Pretty, pretty Irma, striding through the
campgrounds. Shining boots and bright whip, flying

through the campgrounds. Smile, Irma, smile. Flash your
big blue eyes. Shoot to the east, and shoot to

the west, then shoot the Jew that you love best.
Kommandant, Kommandant, Führer’s man, bake

me a Jew as fast as you can. Strip him
and beat him and mark him with J. Put him

in the oven for a Judenrein day.
Red cherries, blue berries, blackberry jam,

look to the chimneys — you’ll see where I am.
Mama, Mama, I am sick. Send for the

doctor, quick, quick, quick. Doctor comes and says,
Too bad: this one’s surely meant for gas. Nurse

then comes and sighs, Too bad: Mama also
will not pass. Papa, Papa, here we die;

you will find us in the sky. When the smoke
has cleared away, it will be a sunny

day. Ring around the roses, we’re the sons
of Moses. Ashes. Ashes. Jews fall down.

Now we lay us down to sleep; we pray the
Lord our souls to keep. If we die before

we wake, we pray the
Lord our souls to take.

Excerpts from
Where Lightning Strikes:
Poems on The Holocaust

The Dead Bodies that Line the Streets

On the Other Hand,

Survivor: One Who Survives

Letter to Sylvia

The Day the Snakes Came


Where Lightning Strikes: Poems on the Holocaust

© 1980-1986, 2000-2007, 2013 by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman.
May not be reprinted or excerpted without written permission.
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