Hatikva at Bergen Belson: April 20, 1945

by A. Jay Adler on April 20, 2011
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On April 20, 1945, only five days after their liberation and on the eve of the Sabbath, with dead still on the ground and with people dying daily, inmates at Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp sang the Jewish anthem of hope “Hatikva.” It was recorded by the BBC.

The lyric for Hatikva was originally written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a Galician Jewish poet from Zolochiv, Ukraine. It is set to a European folk tune, “La Mantovana,” rearranged in 1888 by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Bessarabia. It is the Israeli national anthem. Its official lyrics read, in English:

As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And onward, towards the ends of the east,
An eye still gazes toward Zion;

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

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