The Case of Otto Schwarzkopf

Ralph McTell
Language: English

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Versi di Shmuel Huppert, ebreo di origine ceca, internato da bambino nel campo di sterminio di Bergen Belsen. Sopravvisse, per poi trasferirsi in Israele.
Testo tradotto in inglese da Neville Teller, scrittore, giornalista e autore radiofonico londinese
Adattamento del testo e musica di Ralph McTell
Nell'album intitolato “Sand in Your Shoes”

Sand in Your Shoes

Nel 1990 Neville Teller, autore radiofonico per la BBC, conobbe in Israele Shmuel Huppert, responsabile dei programmi culturali di radio Kol Yisrael. Questi era scampato all'Olocausto e aveva conosciuto l'orrore dei campi nazisti a soli 6 anni. Subito dopo la guerra si era trasferito, come tanti ebrei sopravvissuti, nella Palestina ancora sotto mandato britannico. Huppert chiese a Teller di tradurre in inglese una sua poesia, scritta in ebraico (non saprei purtroppo dove reperire l'originale), che s'intitolava “La valigia”. Teller la tradusse e la intitolò “The case of Otto Schwarzkopf”. Ralph McTell la lesse su The Independent nel 1993 e subito volle trasporla in musica, adattandone il testo.
Neville Teller ha poi raccontato questa storia anche nel suo libro “One Man's Israel”, pubblicato nel 2008.
The case of Otto Schwarzkopf has reached Jerusalem
The letters ‘A.L.L.1’ branded in black
Are burned into the leather and there’s a Prague address
A faded hotel sticker on the back.

Which shows the Tyrol prayer shawl draped with snow
Blue skies, pine trees, a lake
Were you alone? Was this a family outing?
Did you read or did you swim on this life-affirming break?
Did you climb or simply walk below the mountain?

The case gapes open wide its emptiness a soundless cry
We pause to gaze at it, at you, through time
Where now the socks and toothbrush
The shirts and underwear, the family snaps, the works of Heinrich Heine.

In winter nineteen forty-four the German order came
Take what you think you’ll need, you’re moving East
And don’t make any fuss just leave everything to us
Twenty kilos or just one suitcase each.

And now it’s here on show its palm-warmed handle cold
The leather cracked its metal clasps corroded
As the steam train pulled away from Theresienstadt that day
Did it rain or did you weep as it was loaded?

Reference your trip, ‘A.L.L.1’
cattle trucks as per specification.

The livestock rule allows thirty pigs or seven cows
One hundred and twenty Jews for transportation

The case of Otto Schwarzkopf has made its way without him
To Jerusalem in anger, guilt and sorrow
Pray humanity can hear what it cannot see through tears
The cry of yesterday before tomorrow, before tomorrow.

Contributed by Bernart Bartleby - 2017/1/11 - 22:34

La traduzione inglese originale di Neville Teller, dal suo libro “One Man's Israel”


Your case
Otto Schwarzkopf
has reached Jerusalem.

In the leather A.L.L.l
branded black
and Otto Schwarzkopf
a Prague address.
On the back
a hotel sticker
mountains of the Tyrol
prayer-shawl draped
with snow
pine pierced blue skies
a lake you swam in?

You went up into the mountain
or was it a family outing?

The case gapes wide
a soundless cry
they pause to gaze at it at you

Where now your content?
towel toothbrush shirt socks
the works of Heinrich Heine.
Family snaps.

In the winter of forty-four
the German order
just take what you need
twenty kilos apiece
one suitcase each
you’re off to the east
no fuss leave everything else to us.

Now it’s here
on show
the handle
your palm warmed Otto
iron clasps rust covered.

Reference your trip A.L.L.1
Theresienstadt to Auschwitz
transportation trucks as per specification
7 cows or 30 pigs or 120 Jews.

Your case
Otto Schwarzkopf
has made its way without you
to Jerusalem.

Bernart Bartleby - 2017/1/11 - 22:45

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