It is Burning

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First page from Gebirtigs handwriting of Undzer shtetl brent (ca. 1938)

"It is Burning" (Hebrew, העיירה בוערת, literally "our little town is burning", a reference to a shtetl, Yiddish, אונדזער שטעטל ברענט our shtetl is burning) is a Yiddish poem–song written in 1936 by Mordechai Gebirtig.[1] The poem was written in response to the pogrom of Przytyk, which had occurred on March 9, 1936:[2]

s’brent! briderlekh, s’brent!
oy, undzer orem shtetl nebekh brent!
beyze vintn mit yirgozn
raysn, brekhn un tseblozn,
shtarker nokh di vilde flamen,
alts arum shoyn brent!

The poem talks about the bystanders' apathy as they watch the events, not in any way attempting to stop them. Cracow's underground Jewish resistance adopted S'brent as its anthem. It is frequently sung in Israel and around the world on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah).


Several versions of the poem have been recorded. Among others, Israeli singer Dorit Reuveni recorded a Hebrew version and British band Oi Va Voi recorded a version with modified Yiddish lyrics for their album Travelling the Face of the Globe. The Israeli extreme metal band Salem’s version, titled Ha’ayara Bo’eret and released on Kaddish, led to a national controversy that “found its way to the Israeli parliament for a discussion of whether or not it is appropriate for a metal band to play such songs”.[4]


  1. ^ "Our Town Is Burning". Music of the Holocaust. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. n.d. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Polonsky, Antony. "Przytyk Pogrom." YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
  3. ^ Virtual Klezmer

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