Itzchak S. (HVT-3489)

“Kadima – Vorwärts”

Analysis and contextual notes by D. Zisl Slepovitch.
All songs transcribed, scored, arranged, and produced by Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch.
Translations by Daniel Kahn & Yeva Lapsker.


Itzchak S. was born in Berlin, Germany in 1915. In his testimony, he recounts his father’s military service in World War I; attending public and Jewish schools; bar mitzvah; participating in Jewish and Zionist youth groups; antisemitic harassment; traveling to Amsterdam; his mother joining him; founding a Zionist youth group; returning to Berlin to obtain a certificate to emigrate to Palestine (his mother remained); establishing a Youth Aliyah center in Cologne; improvements during the 1936 Olympics; teaching at a Jewish school in Herrlingen; returning to Berlin; obtaining false papers as a non-Jew; working at a Youth Aliyah school with Recha Freier, its founder; vain attempts to convince his parents to leave; hiding during Kristallnacht; organizing clandestine meetings and religious services; his mother’s disappearance from the Netherlands and his father’s deportation (he never saw them again); living on the streets and with many non-Jews for short periods; a brief trip to Nordhausen; obtaining new false papers from a German officer when his were compromised; being warned to leave; traveling to Singen, then Radolfzell; illegally entering Switzerland; traveling to Schaffhausen; arrest; release with assistance from the Jewish community; living in a refugee camp in Zurich; and emigration to Israel in 1953. Mr. S. discusses visiting Berlin with a fellow underground member in 1979; a reunion of hidden Jews from Berlin; and speaking to students in Germany.

Unedited Testimony

Kadima – Vorwärts

“Kadima – Vorwärts” (“Forward”): lyrics and music attributed to Akiva Lewinsky; arrangement by D. Zisl Slepovitch. Itzchak S. (HVT-3489), born in 1915 in Berlin, Germany, was an active participant in Jewish and Zionist youth groups and even established one himself. In his interview (given in Hebrew), Itzchak recalls this song, allegedly composed by Akiva Lewinsky (1918–2000), a prominent Zionist leader. “Kadima” is written in the style of a solemn (probably military) march, typical for anthems and other official songs in Europe and Soviet Union at the time. It is not surprising that the musical idiom of “Kadima” is devoid of any audible Jewish reference.

Kadima — Vorwärts

Kadima — Vorwärts,
Vorwärts, im Schritt,
Wir haben keine Zeit zu verlieren.
Wir wissen, wir tragen die Zukunft mit,
D’rum müssen wir vorwärts marschieren.

Wir kämpfen für Freiheit, Gleichkeit und Recht,
Wir kämpfen für Israels Ehre.
Wir wollen ein neues starkes Geschlecht.
Wir fordern die Jüdische Ehre.


Kadima — Forward
Forward, march,
We have no time to lose.
We know, we carry the future with us,
So we know we must march on.

We fight for freedom, equality, and justice,
We fight for the honor of Israel.
We want a new, strong breed.
We demand Jewish honor.