Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Remember Babi Yar

In memory of Babi Yar, 75 years ago:
 "All Jews living in the city of Kiev and its vicinity must come to the corner of Melnikova and Dokhturovska* Street by 8 o'clock on the morning of Monday, September 29th 1941. They are to bring with them documents, money, valuables, as well as warm clothes, underwear etc. Any Jews not carrying out this instruction and who are found elsewhere will be shot..."
Guarded by SS, SD and Ukrainian auxiliaries, the Jews were marched in groups of 100 via the Mel...nikova Street to the Jewish cemetery located near the ravine called "Babi Yar". The entire surroundings of the ravine had been fenced in with barbed wire, and were cordoned off by three rows of troops: The outer circle was manned by Ukrainian police, the second with Ukrainian police and Germans, and the inner circle with Germans only.

 At the killing site the Jews were ordered to undress, stack their belongings, and were then led in groups of 10 to the edge of the ravine. There they were shot (by automatic guns and machine-guns) in front of their fellow sufferers, who were unable to escape.


 Over 34,000 Jews were killed in the ravine at Babi Yar that week.

 


Symphony No.13 in B flat minor - "Babi Jar"
Dmitri Shostakovich, opus 113

Text by Yevgeny Yevtushenko
Transliteration and translation adopted from Valeria Vlazinskaya

 Russian (transliterated)English
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Babi Yar

Nad Babim Yarom pamyatnikov nyet.
Krutoi obryv, kak gruboye nadgrobye.
Mne strashno.
Mne sevodnya stolko let,
Kak samomu yevreiskomu narodu.

Mne kazhetsya seichas - ya iudei.
vot ya bredu po drevnemu Egiptu.
A vot ya, na kreste raspyati, gibnu.
I do sikh por na mne - sledy gvozdei.
Mne kazhestya, shot Dreifus - eto ya.
Meshchanstvo - moi donoschik i sudya.
Ya za reshotkoi. Ya popal v koltso,
Zatravlennyi, oplyovannyi, obolgannyi,
I admochki s bryusselskimi oborkami,
Vizzha, zontami tychut mne v litso.
Mne kahzetsya, ya - malchik v Belostoke.

Krov lyotsya, rastekayas po polam,
Beschinstvuyut vozhdi traktimoi stoiki
I pakhnut vodkoi s lukom popolam.

Ya sapogom otbroshennyi, bessilnyi.
Naprasno ya pogromshchikov moyu.

Pod gogot: "Bei zhidov, spasai Rossiyu!"
Labaznik izbiyavet mat moyu.

O russki moi narod, ya znayu ty
Po sushchnosti internazionalen.
No chasto te, chi ruki nechisty
Tvoim chiteishim imenem bryatsali.
Ya znayu dobrotu moyei zemli.
Kak podlo, shto i zhilochkoi ne drognuv.
Antisemity narekli sebya

"Soyuzom Russkovo Naroda!"


Mne kazhetsya ya - eto Anna Frank,
Prozrachnaya, kak vetochka v aprele,
I ya lyublyu, i mne ne nado fraz,
No nado, shtob drug v druga my smotreli.
Kak malo mozhno videt, obonyat!
Nelzya nam listyev
I nelzya nam neba,
No mozhno ochen mnogo - eto nezhno
Drug druga v tyomnoi komnate obnyat.

"Syuda idut!"

"Ne bosa, eto guly
Samoy vesny. Ona syuda idyot.
Idi ko mne,
Dai mne skoreye guby!"

"Lomayut dver!"

"Nyet, eto ledokhod..."

Nad Babim Yarom shelest dikikh trav,
Derevya smotryat grozno, po-sudeiski.
Zdes molcha vsyo krichit, i, shapku snyav,
Ya chuvstvuyu, kak medlenno sedeyu.

I sam ya, kak sploshnoi bezzvuchnyi krik,
Nad tysyachami tysyach pogrebyonnykh.
Ya - kazhdyi zdes rasstrelyanni starik.
Ya - kazhdyi zdes rasstrelyanni rebyonok.
Nichto vo mne pro eto ne zabudet.

"Internatsional" pust progremit.
Kogda naveki pokhoronen budet
Posledni na zemle antisemit.

Yevreiskoi krovi nyet v krovi moyei,
No nenavisten zloboi zaskoruzloi
Ya vsem antisemitam, kak yevrei.

I potomu ya - nastoyashchi russki!
Babi Yar

Over Babi Yar there are no monuments.
The steep precipice is like a crude gravestone.
I am terrified.
I am as old today
As all Jewish people.

Now I imagine that I'm a Jew.
Here I wander through ancient Egypt.
And here, on the cross, crucified, I perish.
And still I have on me the marks of the nails.
I imagine myself to be Dreyfus.
The Philistine - my informer and judge.
I am behind bars. I am surrounded.
Persecuted, spat on, slandered.
And dainty ladies in Brussels frills,
Squealing, poke their parasols into my face.
I imagine myself the boy from Belostok.

Blood flows, running over the floors.
The rabble-rousers in the tavern commit their outrages
Reeking of vodka and onions, half and half.

Kicked by a boot, I lie helpless.
In vain I plead with the pogrom-makers.

Accompanied by jeers: "Beat the Yids, save Russia!"
A grain merchant batters my mother.

O my Russian people, I know you
Are innately international
But often those whose hands were vile
In vain used your purest name.
I know the goodness of my land.
What base lowness - without a quiver of a vein
The anti-Semites proclaimed themselves

"The Union of the Russian People!"


I imagine myself as Anne Frank,
Transparent as a sprig in April,
And I love, and have no need for phrases,
But I do need for us to gaze into each other.
How little one can see, or smell!
Leaves - we cannot have,
Sky - we cannot have,
But there is so much we can have -
To embrace tenderly in a darkened room.

"They're coming!"

"Don't be afraid, those are the booming sounds
Of Spring itself. It's coming here.
Come to me,
Quickly, give me your lips!"

"They're breaking the door!"

"No, it's the ice breaking..."

Over Babi Yar the wild grasses rustle.
The trees look sternly as if in judgement.
Here everything screams silently and, taking off my hat
I feel I am slowly turning grey.

And I myself am one long soundless cry.
Above the thousand thousands buried here.
I am every old man here shot dead.
I am every child here shot dead.
Nothing in me will ever forget this.

The "Internationale" - let it thunder
When forever will be buried
The last of the anti-Semites on earth.

There is no Jewish blood in mine,
But I am adamantly hated
By all anti-Semites as if I were a Jew.

That is why I am a true Russian!
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Yumor

Tsari, koroli, imperatory,
Vlastiteli vsei zemli,
Komandovali paradami,
No yumorom, no yumorom ne mogli.
V dvortsy imenitykh osob,
Vse dni volzezhashchikh vykholenno,

Yavlyalsya brodyaga Ezop,
I nishchimi oni vyglyadeli.

V domakh, gde khanzha nsledil
Svoimi nogamig shchuplymi,

Vsyu poshlost Khodzha Nasreddin
Sshibal, kak shakhmaty, shutkami.

Khoteli humor kupit.

Da tolko evo ne kupish!

Khoteli yumor ubit.

A yumor pokazyal kukish.

Bortsya s nim - delo trudnoye,
Kaznili evo bez kontsa.

Evo golova obtrublennaya
Torchala na pike streltsa.

No lish skomoroshi dudochki
Svoi nachinali skaz,
On zvonko krichal: "Ya tutochki."

I likho puskalsya v plyas.

V potryopannom kutsem palitshke,
Ponuryas i slovno kayas,
Prestupnikom politicheskim
On, poimannyi, shol na kazn.
Vsem vidom pokornost vykalzyval,
Gotov k nezemnomu zhityu,
Kak vdrug iz paltishka vyskalzyval,
Rukoi makhal

I tyu-tyu!

Yumor pryatali v kamery,
Da chorta s dva udalos.

Reshotki i steny kamennyye
On prokhodli naskvoz.
Otkashlivayas prostuzhenno,
Kak ryadovoi boyets
Shagal on chastushkoi-prostushkoi
S vintovkoi na Zimni dvoryets.

Privyk on ko vzglyadam sumrachnym,
No eto yemu ne vredit,
I sam na sebya s yumorom
Yumor poroi glyadit.

On vechen.
On lovok.
I yurok.

Prodyot cherez vsyo, cherez vsekh.

Itak, da slavitsya yumor!
On - muzhesvennyi chelovek.
Humor

Tsars, kings, emperors,
Rulers of the world,
Commanded parades
But humor - humor they could not.
To the palaces of the eminent
Who, well groomed, all day reclined.

Came the vagabond Aesop
And before him all appeared impoverished.

In homes where a hypocrite left traces
Of his puny feet,

And this banality Hadji Nasr-ed-Din
Swept aside with his jokes like a chessboard.

They wanted to buy humor.

Only he cannot be bought!

They wanted to kill humor.

But humor thumbed his nose.

To battle him is tough business.
They executed him endlessly.

Humor's severed head
Was stuck on a warrior's pike.

Just when the buffoons' pipes
Would start their tale
He would brightly cry: "I'm here."

And would break into a dashing dance.

In a threadbare scanty coat,
Crestfallen and as if repenting,
Caught as a political prisoner
He would go to his execution.
His appearance displayed obedience,
Ready for his life hereafter,
When suddenly he would slip out of his coat
Waiving his hand

And bye-bye!

They hid humor in cells,
But like hell they succeeded.

Iron bars and stone walls
He would pass right through.
Cleaning his throat from the cold,
Like an ordinary soldier
He marched as a simple ditty
With a rifle for the Winter Palace.

He is used to stern glances,
But it does not hurt him.
And humor looks upon himself
At times with humor.

He is everlasting.
He is smart.
And nimble.

He will walk through everything and everybody.

And so, glory to humor!
He is a courageous fellow.
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V magazine

Kto v platke, a kto v platochke,
Kak na podvig, kak na trud,
V magazin poodinochke
Molcha zehnshchiny idut.

O, bidonov ikh bryatsanye,
Zvon butylok i kastryul.
Pakhnet lukom, ogurtsami,
Pakhnet sousom Kabul.

Zyabnu, dolgo v kassu stoya,
No pokuda dvizhus k nei,
Ot dykhanya zhenshchin stolkikh
V magazine vsyo teplei.

Oni tikho podzhidayut,
Bogi dobryye semi,
I v rukakh oni szhimayut
Dengi trudnyye svoi.

Eto zhenshchiny Rossii,
Eto nasha chest i sud.
I beton oni mesili,
I pakhali, i kosili.

Vsyo oni perenosili,
Vsyo oni perenesut.

Vsyo na svete im posilno,
Skolko sily im dano.

Ikh obschityvat postydno,
Ikh obveshivat greshno.

I, v karman pelmeni sunuv,
Ya smotryu, surov i tikh,
Na ustalyye ot sumok
Ruki pravednyye ikh.
In the Store

Some in shawls, some kerchiefs,
As if to a heroic feat or labor
Into the store one by one
Women silently enter.

Oh, the clanking of the cans,
The clanging of the bottles and saucepans.
The smell of onions and cucumbers,
The smell of "Kabul" sauce.

I shiver queuing for the cashier
But as I keep moving closer
From the breathing of so many women
It gets warmer in the store.

They wait silently,
The family's kind gods,
As they clutch in their hands
The hard-earned money.

These are women of Russia,
They are our honor and our conscience.
They have mixed concrete
And ploughed and reaped.

They have endured everything.
They will endure everything.

Everything on earth is possible for them,
They have been given so much strength.

It is shameful to short-change them.
It is sinful to short-weigh them.

And, shoving dumplings into my pocket,
I look, solemn and quiet,
At their weary-from-shopping,
Saintly hands.
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Strakhi

Umirayut i Rossii strakhi,
Slovno prizraki prezhnikh let.
Lish na paperti, kak starukhi,
Koye-gde eshcho prosyat na khleb.

Ya ihk pomnyu vo vlasti i sile
Pri dvore torzhestvuyushchei lzhi.
Strakhi vsyudu kak teni skolzili,
Pronikali vo vsye etazhi.
Potikhonku lyudei priruchali
I na vsyo nalagali pechat.
Gde molchat by, krichat priruchali,
I molchat, gde by nado krichat.
Eto stalo sevodnya dalyokim,
Dazhe stranno i vspomnit teper.
Tainyi strakh pered chim to donosom,
Tainyi strakh pered stukom v dver.
Nu, a strakh govorit s inostrantsem,
S inostrantsem to shto, a s zhenoi.
Nu, a strakh bezotchotnyi ostatsya
Posle marshei vdvoyom s tishinoi.

Ne boyalis my stroit v meteli,
Ukhodit pod snaryadami v bo,
No boyalis poroyu smertelno
Razgovarivat sami s sobo.
Nas ne sbili i ne rastili,
I nedarom seichas vo vragakh
Pobedivshaya strakhi Rossiya
Yeshcho bolshi rozhdayet strakh.

Strakhi novyye vizhu, svetleya:
Strakh neiskrennim byt so strano,
Strakh nepravdo unizit idei,
Shto yavlyautsya pravdoi samoi.
Strakh fanfarit do odurenya,
Strakh chuzhiye slova povtoryat,
Strakh unizit drugikh nedoveryem
I chrezmerno sebe doveryat.

Umirayut v Rossii strakhi.

I kogda ya pishu eti stroki
I poroyu nevolno speshu,
To pishu ikh v yedinstvennom strakhe,
Shto ne v polnuyu silu pishu.
Fears

In Russia fears are dying
Like the ghosts of yesteryears.
Only on church steps here and there like old women
They are begging for bread.

I remember fears being in power and force
At the court of triumphant lie.
Fears like shadows slithered everywhere,
Infiltrated every floor.
Gradually they tamed the people
And on everything affixed their seal.
Where silence should be, they taught screaming,
They taught silence, where shouting would be right.
This, today, has become distant,
It is strange even to recall it now.
The secret fear at someone informing,
The secret fear at a knock at the door.
Then, a fear to speak to a foreigner;
Foreigner - nothing, even with one's own wife.
And unaccountable fear, after marches,
To remain alone with silence, eye to eye.

We did not fear to build in snowstorms,
To march into battle under fire.
But we deathly feared at times
To talk to ourselves
We did not get demoralized or corrupted,
And it is not without reason
That Russia, having conquered her own fears,
Spreads even greater fear in her enemies.

I see new fears arising,
The fear of being insincere to the country,
The fear of degrading the ideas
That are truth in themselves.
The fear of bragging until stupor,
The fear of repeating someone else's words,
The fear of belittling others with distrust
And to trust oneself excessively.

In Russia fears are dying.

As I write these lines,
And at times unwittingly hurry,
I write them with the single fear
Of not writing at full speed.
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Karyera

Tverdili pastyri, shto vreden
I nerazumen Galilei.

Shto nerazumen Galilei,

No, kak pokazyvayet vremya,

Kto nerazumnei, tot umnei,

Uchonyi, sverstnik Galileya,

Byl Galileya ne glupeye,

On znal, shto vertitsya zemlya,

No u nevo byla semya,

I on, sadyas s zhenoi v karetu,
Svershiv predatelstvo svoyo,
Schital, shto delayet karyeru,

A mezhdu tem gubil yeyo,

Za osoznaniye planety
Shol Galilei odin na risk,

I stal velikim on.

Vot eto

Ya ponimayu - karyerist!

Itak, da zdravstvuyet karyera,
Kogda karyera takova,
Kak u Shekspira i Pastera,
Nyutona i Tolstovo,
I Tolstovo.

Lva?

Lva!
Zachem ikh gryazyu pokryvali?
Talant, talant, kak ni kleimi.

Zabyty te, kto proklinali.

No pomnyat tekh, kovo klyali,

Vse te, kto rvalis v stratosferu,
Vrachi, shto gibli ot kholer,
Vot eti delali karyeru!

Ya s ikh karyer beru primer.

Ya veryu v ikh svyatuyu veru.
Ikh vera - muzhestvo moyo.
Ya delayu sebe karyeru
Tem, shto ne delayu yeyo!
Career

The clergy maintained that Galileo
Was a wicked and senseless man.

Galileo was senseless.

But, as time demonstrated,

He who is senseless is much wiser.

A fellow scientist of Galileo's age

Was no less wise than Galileo.

He knew that the earth revolved.

But - he had a family.

And he, stepping into a carriage with his wife,
Having accomplished his betrayal,
Considered himself advancing his career,

Whereas he undermined it,

For his assertion of our planet
Galileo faced the risk alone

And became truly great.

Now this

To my mind, this is a true careerist!

Thus - salute to the career!
When the career is similar
To Shakespeare and Pasteur,
Newton and Tolstoy,
And Tolstoy.

Leo?

Leo!
Why was mud flung at them?
Talent is talent, brand them as one may.

Those who cursed them are forgotten.

But the accursed are remembered well,

All those who yearned for the stratosphere,
The doctors who perished fighting cholera,
They were pursuing a career!

I take as an example their careers.

I believe in their sacred belief.
Their belief is my courage.
I pursue my career
By not pursuing it!
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