In 1905, after working in Paris for six years as secretary of the revolutionary and philosopher Piotr Lavrov, Ansky moved back to St. Petersburg in 1905. Ansky joined the Jewish Labor Bund (although he was not yet interested in Jewish nationalism), and composed its anthem; Di Shvu'e, ("The Oath") is sung at Jewish socialist gatherings around the world to this day.

Hear a RealAudio recording of Di Shvu'e, sung by The New Yiddish Chorale and the Workmen's Circle Chorus.

Brothers and sisters in toil and struggle,
All who are dispersed far and wide.
Come together, the flag is ready,
Waving in wrath, stained red with blood.
Swear an oath, an oath of life and death!

Heaven and earth will hear us,
The bright stars will bear witness,
An oath of blood, an oath of tears,
We swear, we swear, we swear!

We swear our boundless loyalty to the Bund,
Only the Bund can free the slaves now.
Our red flag flies high and broad.
We swear loyalty of life and death!

View Yiddish words

excerpted   Recording from In Love and Struggle: The Musical Legacy of the Jewish Labor Bund, copyright © 1999 YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; recorded July 1998 by The New Yiddish Chorale and the Workmen's Circle Chorus; piano: Adrienne Cooper. Used permission of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Buy the CD  

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ANSKY Introduction



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