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We Will Outlive Them

In 1939, an eyewitness recounted, a group of Jews from the Polish city of Lublin were assembled in an empty field outside the city and ordered by a local Nazi commander by the name of Glovoznik, to sing a song.

One of the men began singing Lomr Zich Iberbetn, but with “Ovinu shebashomayim” – “Our Father Who is in heaven” – taking the place of the original song’s second line, Shtel dem samovar –“set up the hot water urn.”

So what he sang, poignantly, was: “Let us reconcile, our Father in heaven.”

Glovoznik was not happy with the song and ordered his men to beat the Jews, which they happily set about doing.

Then, though, according to the witness, a voice among the Jews shouted out “Mir veln zey iberlebnOvinu shebashomayim,” “We will outlive them, our Father in heaven.” And then others joined in singing the new refrain, loudly defiant, scoring a victory of sorts over their tormentors.

The eventual fate of that group of Jews is unknown but, of the approximately 42,000 Jews of Lublin, no more than 300 survived the Holocaust. But they were right about their tormentors; we outlived them.

Mir veln zey iberlebn, iberlebn,

Avinu Shebashamayim

 We will outlive them, G*d in Heaven!


The strange and inspiring history of “Mir Velen Zei Iberleben,” or “We Will Outlive Them”, By Avi Shafran, Tablet Magazine January 30 2018.

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