Elegy for My Shtetl
by S. L. Shneiderman and Marius Sznajderman
ELEGY FOR MY SHTETL
It is dying--my
home--the impoverished shtetl
Hidden there on the shore of the Vistula,
And long dead are the last Reb Shloimes
Who drove massive rafts down to Danzig.
They are falling
apart, the misshapen houses
Grandfathers built from oak logs.
The sun is setting on their roofs,
Pouring bloody red on the green moss.
The synagogue is
sinking deeper and deeper
And mold blooms on the frescoed walls.
We can still make out a lion's head
And pale hands raised in priestly benediction.
here for the poem in Yiddish.
The family and friends of S.L.
Shneiderman published this lithograph, Elegy for My Shtetl in honor of
his 80th birthday (1986), to celebrate his distinguished career as a Yiddish
poet and journalist in 1988. Mr. Shneiderman wrote the poem Elegy for My
Shtetl in 1938, in Paris. "The poem was like a premonition of the imminent
Nazi Holocaust that destroyed hundreds ofshtetlech on the banks of the
Vistula, including my hometown, Kazimierz, where Jewish life had flourished for
many generations and Yiddish was the spoken language," Mr. Shneiderman said.
The lithograph was executed by Marius Sznajderman, painter, printer, and
nephew of Mr. Shneiderman. It shows a view of Kazimierz interpreted from
pre-World War II photographs. Born in Paris in 1926, Mr. Sznajderman escaped
with his parents from France in November of 1942 and lived in Venezuela until
1949 at which time he moved to the United States. He studied at the School of
Fine Arts in Caracas and at Columbia University. In Caracas, he was a founding
member of Taller Libre de Arte. In his 40 years as an artist, he has
had numerous one-man shows in the USA and South America and his work is in the
permament collections of many important museums.