In 1938, as vicious, anti-Semitic pogroms raged in Poland, in what has proved to be prophetic, Mordechai Grivtig, a Jewish singer and song writer published the song with its haunting and alarming first words: “Es Brent, Breederlech, Es Brent (It’s burning, brothers, it’s burning)….”.
It was a desperate and anguished call for the Polish Jews to wake up from the deep slumber and realize that the scorching fire of anti-Semitism is burning all around them. ‘Take action,’ he begged, because the all-consuming inferno will devour and destroy Polish Jewry. ‘Take up arms, defend yourselves, be on guard’, the song implored, ‘open your eyes before it’s too late.’
The evocative song spread like the wildfire it was foretelling; the authorities in Kraków banned the song and termed it ‘provocative and inciting’. The rest is history.
Roll the years forward. It is now 2018 and the city I live in , the country, the entire world is on fire once more. Eighty years after the song was first heard, the fire of anti-Semitism is burning hotter than ever. Throughout the so-called, Western, civilized world, both fresh and seasoned politicians, actors, singers, academics, professors, students, rabble-rousers and party affiliates are joined together in the ugly manifestation of that old mantra: It’s all the Jews’ fault.
It is no longer chic to keep those sentiments on a low flame. It is once again, no longer taboo to call for the destruction and the murder of Jews And when Jews are slaughtered by a vicious, hate-filled, Nazi sympathizer – as in the Pittsburgh synagogue – ‘prestigious’ news outlets such as the New York Times, will not-so-subtly and unashamedly ascribe sympathy and understanding…..for the bloody killer! How vile.
And the flames of anti-Semitism are roaring ever higher and are spreading in a dizzying pace. Listen to the bigot, racist, hate-monger, Louis Farrakhan, pay attention to the anti-American, anti-Semite, fascist, Linda Sarsour and pay careful heed to the words spoken by NYS Senator Kristin Gillibrand. Only last week, Dr.-author-professor-commentator-journalist, Marc Hill Lamont called for the obliteration of the State of Israel as he justified Hamas terror and literally sanctioned the murder of Jews. Listen to the voices of newly elected, Leftists and Socialist representatives rooted in the Democratic Party.
Look at the smiling faces of the Clintons and the Obamas and all of the others as they hobnob and consort with the likes of Farrakhan and Linda Sarsour, attend their rallies, smile and applaud, with nary a word of protest, nary a comment of disavowal.
And the list is long and growing by the hour.
'Es brent, Breederlech, Es brent.'
Seven decades after the almost-total decimation and destruction of European Jewry, the low-flame of latent anti-Semitism is no longer confined to simmering ashes but has been reignited and is burning fiercely.
‘The Jews control, the Jews manipulate, the Jews own, the Jews oppress, the Jews steal…the Jews…..the Jews…..the centuries-old blood-libels and accusations, alive and well.
In Pittsburg, Williamsburg and Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Baltimore the random acts perpetrated against Jews are growing in frequency and intensity. Regular citizens, Police officers, bus drivers and store personnel, shamelessly display their hatred for Jews and roaming gangs of youths attack and assault Jews any time of the day. The cry of ‘stinking Jews…kill the Jews…’ rings out loudly; swastikas and other despicable symbols of hate, scribbled on walls of synagogues and schools have become so much more frequent, the numbers are staggering.
Only yesterday, it seems, the phrase ‘Never Again’ was coined and engraved in the psyche of the Holocaust survivors. ‘Never Again’ will a Holocaust be allowed to happen. ‘Never Again’ will the world allow it to happen. Never again?
When one sees the words “Jews to the Ovens” spray painted across a wall in bold black letters, one must take it to heart. The black, spray-painted words are essentially expressing what the heart has always been thinking. Never again?
Back in the late sixties and early seventies, Rabbi Meir Kahane, raised his fists in response to the vicious acts of anti-Semitism being perpetrated around the country. ‘Every Jew a 22…’ was the rallying cry for Jews to wake up, to defend themselves, to respond with force and to take the fight to their enemies. It is more urgent than ever today.
‘Take action,’ Mordechai Grivtig, begged, because the all-consuming inferno will devour and destroy Polish Jewry. ‘Take up arms, defend yourselves, be on guard’, the song implored, ‘open your eyes before it’s too late.’
Today, here in America………..'Es brent, Breederlech, Es Brent.'