Yiddish language world premiere of “The Ballad of Triangle Fire” and “Bread and Roses”.

In commemoration of the 146 young women who perished in The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 and in homage to the pioneering role that women played in fostering political, social, labour, and economic reform in its aftermath, the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre proudly presents the Yiddish language world premiere of “The Ballad of Triangle Fire” and “Bread and Roses”.

Produced by Ben Gonshor
Translated into Yiddish by Aron Gonshor and Edit Kuper
Music Arrangements and Orchestrations by Nick Burgess
Performed by members of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre

To experience the complete Yiddish lyrics and learn more about this world premiere video, please visit us at https://bit.ly/2X1sJtD


Ballad of the Triangle Fire

In the heart of New York City, near Washington Square
In nineteen eleven, March winds were cold and bare.
A fire broke out in a building ten stories high,
And a hundred and forty-six young girls in those flames did die.

On the top floor of that building, ten stories in the air
These young girls were working in an old sweatshop there;
They were sewing shirtwaists for a very low wage.
So tired and pale and worn-out! They were at a tender age.

The sweatshop was a stuffy room with but a single door;
The windows they were gray with dust from off that dirty floor;
There were no comforts, no fresh air, no light to sew thereby,
And the girls, they toiled from early morn till darkness filled the sky.

Then on that fateful day – dear God, most terrible of days!
When that fire broke out, it grew into a mighty blaze.
In that firetrap way up there with but a single door,
So many innocent working girls burned, to live no more!

A hundred thousand mourners, they followed those sad biers.
The streets were filled with people weeping bitter tears.
Poets, writers everywhere described that awful pyre,
When those young girls were trapped to die in the Triangle Fire.

– Ruth Rubin, 1968

Bread and Roses

As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, “Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.”

As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men—
For they are women’s children and we mother them again.
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes—
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;
Small art and love and beauty their trudging spirits knew—
Yes, it is Bread we fight for—but we fight for Roses, too.

As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days—
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes—
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.

— James Oppenheim, 1911

Comments (1)

  • Robyn Dasey says:

    Clara Zetkin, a leader oF the million strong German Social Democratic women movement, realised the horror & significance of these ( many German/central a European ) workers dispute & used her influence to initiate International Women Day, with its signature song Bread & Roses. Zetkin travelled frequently to revolutionary Russia in the following years & joined the fledging German Communist Party

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