Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Scott Simon of NPR reports on a rare recording of "Hatikva" from almost 62 years ago. If this doesn't give you goosebumps I don't know what will.
It was recorded by a British reporter on April 20, 1945 in Bergen-Belsen when the British army liberated the few thousand survivors in the concentration camp, half of which were Jewish, most of them at the extremes of their strength. It was recently discovered and apparently was loaned to NPR by the Smithsonian Institute.
The British priest organized prayers for Kabbalat Shabbat for the Jews. It was the first time after six years of war and after more than 10 years of persecution. With a lot of effort the Jews organized themselves and, knowing they were recorded, sang "Hatikva".
As you can hear they sang the original version as it was written by Naftali Imber. Picturing them in the midst of the concentration camp singing after all they had been through renders this a very moving scenario.Courtesy of Sandy Disler
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-
The title of the national anthem, HATIKVA, means "The Hope." It was written by Naftali Herz Imber (1856-1909), who moved to Palestine in 1882 from Galicia. The melody was arranged by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldavia, from a musical theme in Smetana's "Moldau" that is partly based on a Scandinavian folk song.
Hatikva expresses the hope of the Jewish people, that they would someday return to the land of their forefathers as prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. The Jewish people were exiled from Israel in 70 C.E. by the Roman army led by Titus who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. During the two thousand years of exile, the Jewish people said special daily prayers for return to Israel while facing the East in the direction of Jerusalem. They celebrated the holidays according to Hebrew seasons and calendar. Zion is synonymous with Israel and Jerusalem.