Monday, 21 June 2010

And the rain runs

But before going on with such explorations, a return to someone I’ve written about before here. Ilse Weber, a Moravian Jew, musician, writer of songs and plays for children. She was sent to Terezín, or Theresienstadt, and took it upon herself there to play with and for the children. She had two of her own: Tommy was with her in the ghetto, but his older brother Hanus had been sent to Sweden, and was living there in safety.

The song Und der Regen rinnt is about Hanus, far away across the high mountains and the deep sea, where he is spared the sight of sorrow and misery, and never need walk in the “stony alleyways” which perhaps refers to some local feature of Terezín associated with the transports.

Because their paths were not to come together again. Willi, her husband, was selected to be transported to Auschwitz. Ilse elected to go along with him, with Tommy. On arrival, Willi was put to work and Ilse and Tommy were gassed. Willi survived the war, as of course did Hanus.

(Note how sehnsucht returns, and here it definitely does have an object.)


Une der Regen rinnt

Und der Regen rinnt, und der Regen rinnt …

Ich denk im Dunklen an dich, mein Kind.

Hoch sind die Berge und tief ist das Meer,

mein Hertz ist müd und sehnsuchtschweer.

Une der Regen rinnt, und der Regen rinnt …

warom bist du zo fern, mein Kind?


Une der Regen rinnt, und der Regen rinnt …

Gott selbst hat uns getrennt, mein Kind.

Du sollst nicht Leid und Elend sehn,

sollst nicht auf steinigen Gassen gehn.

Une der Regen rinnt, und der Regen rinnt …

Hast du mich nicht vergessen, Kind?


And the rain runs

And the rain runs, and the rain runs …

In the dark I think of you, my child.

High are the mountains and deep is the sea.

My heart is weary and heavy with yearning.

And the rain runs, and the rain runs …

Why are you so far away, my child?


And the rain runs, and the rain runs …

God himself has parted us, my child.

You are not meant to see sorrow and misery;

you are not meant to walk in stony alleyways.

And the rain runs, and the rain runs …

Have you not forgotten me, my child?


You can listen here to the song sung by Anne Sofie Von Otter, whose remarkable story is told at the Grapes 2.0 link above. That recording, together with the words and translations in this post, come from the CD Terezín/Theresienstadt, also featuring Christian Gerhaher and Daniel Hope.