'Mamo': Forgotten Song about Majdanek

We sing certain Ukrainian songs in the diaspora that are unknown or have been forgotten in Ukraine. I think the most powerful and saddest one is "Mamo." It's about a boy who during WWII was in the Majdanek concentration camp. (The camp was named after the Majdan Tatarski district in Lublin. Majdanek means “little maidan.”) Every night he sings out to his mother, but he can't get to her because of the barbed wire…

 We used to sing "Mamo" at Ukrainian summer camp. It was always one of my favorites, but at the same time the saddest one. Unfortunately, these days new war, tragedy, farewell, and death songs are again being composed and sung in Ukraine.

From the singers Darka & Slavko: “We first sang this song together in April 1986 at an evening dedicated to the poetry of Ukrainian political prisoners. This is dedicated to all those who are fighting for Ukraine's freedom and who have died for it. And to borrow a phrase from our friend Peter Shmigel's earlier post today, here's to "Maidan" and "the extraordinary courage of people who just want ordinary lives."

“It's about a young man who would never see his mother again because he went to war. But before he died he sang to her... Mama do you hear me? Mama I want to be back with you. Mamo I've tried so hard to get to you. But the barbed wires will not let me go.”


Хто бачив Майданек, той бачив ті стіни,
Що слухали пісню одного хлопчини.
Він склав її просто, як серце складало,
Співав її просто, як серце співало...

Мамо, чи чуєш ти мене, Мамо?
Мамо, я хочу до тебе прийти.
Мамо, я рвусь до тебе, Мамо.
Але не пускають колючі дроти.

Бараки, бараки, важкі домовини,
Націлили дула у пісню хлопчини.
Чи бачиш, чи чуєш, двадцятий мій віче,
Як спалена пісня щовечора кличе...

Люди, чи чуєте Ви люди.
Люди, щасливо йдіть до мети.
Люди, єднайтесь у вогні, люди,
Щоб світ не скували колючі дроти.

Хто був цей хлопчина, Василько чи Яник,
Хай скаже нам попіл, цей сивий майданик.
Ще й мить... ще секунда, і постріл лунає,
А хлопець вмираючи тихо співає...

Мамо, чи чуєш ти мене, Мамо?
Мамо, я хочу до тебе прийти.
Мамо, я рвусь до тебе, Мамо.
Але не пускають колючі дроти.


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