"NEVER SAY THIS IS THE FINAL ROAD FOR YOU"

From late 1942 onwards, increasing numbers of young Jews escaped from ghettos and formed partisan groups which fought the Nazis. The largest groups of Jewish partisans were based in the forests of eastern Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. The following song became the anthem of these partisan groups. It was written in Yiddish by Hirsh Glik, a young poet in the Vilna Ghetto, after he heard news of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.


Never say this is the final road for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over skies of blue,
As the hour that we longed for is so near,
Our step beats out the message – we are here!

From lands so green with palms to lands all white with snow,
We shall be coming with our anguish and our woe,
And where a spurt of our blood fell on the earth,
There our courage and our spirit have rebirth.

The early morning sun will brighten our day,
And yesterday with our foe will fade away.
But if the time is long before the sun appears,
Then let this song go like a signal through the years.

This song was written with our blood and not with lead,
It’s not a song that summer birds sing overhead,
This is a song a people sang amid collapsing walls,
With guns in hand they heeded to the call.

So never say the road now ends for you,
Though leadened skies may cover over skies of blue,
As the hour that we longed for is so near,
Our step beats out the message – we are here!

Hirsh Glik was murdered in Estonia in 1944. Some of the partisan groups who sang his anthem not only fought the Germans but also sheltered hundreds of Jews, including children and old people, who had escaped from ghettos.


Photo: Jewish partisans in Vilna after liberation, 1944; Yad Vashem

Song lyrics: Florian Freund et al. (eds.), Ess firt kejn weg zurik...: Geschichte und Lieder des Ghettos von Wilna 1941-1943 (Picus, 1993)

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