Bei mir bist du schoen

Once, when I sang this song in a pub, a restaurant’s waitress from the other side of the street came running and added her vocals to my performance. Sorry to say, in Germany songs related to the Jewish history are not welcome everywhere.

The history of this song went through various stages: In 1932 it began as a somewhat superficial musical. 1936 in Hitler’s Germany it was presented with ugly anti-Jewish propaganda. 1942 in several concentration camps it had to be played by Jewish musicians to amuse the SS soldiers. 2015, 50 years after the liberation, Jewish survivors report this – crying. Meanwhile, the musical material has been included by Gypsy jazz musicians in their repertoire: Perhaps as a memorial of resistance, because many Gypsy’s were gassed in the concentration camps.
some very talented friends supported my efforts to enjoy the Gypsy standard BEI MIR BIST DU SCHOEN – Luzz: bass and Klezmer like solo on saxophone (at the end) – Gernot: blues harp – Joe: vocals – me on guitar and banjo

Bei Mir Bistu Shein” (Yiddish: בײַ מיר ביסטו שיין, “To Me You’re Beautiful”) is a popular Yiddish song composed by Jacob Jacobs (lyricist) and Sholom Secunda (composer) for a 1932 Yiddish comedy musical…

Die Geschichte dieses Liedes verlief durch verschiedene Stufen: 1932 begann es als ein etwas oberflächliches Musical. 1936, im Hitler-Deutschland wurde es mit häßlicher anti-jüdischer Propaganda vorgeführt. 1942, in einigen KZ’s musste es von jüdischen Musikern zur Belustigung der SS-Soldaten gespielt werden. 2015, 50 Jahre nach der Befreiung, berichten jüdische Überlebende weinend noch davon. Inzwischen ist das musikalische Material auch von Gypsy Jazz-Musikern in ihrem Repertoire aufgenommen worden: Vielleicht als ein Mahnmal des Widerstandes, denn auch viele Zigeuner wurden in den KZ’s vergast.

another analysis of the history and meaning of a Jewish song:

About frizztext

writer, photographer, guitarist

10 responses to “Bei mir bist du schoen

  1. It’s wood langage …?!!! Now you sing for the Wood, thanks a lot…!!! ( see the photo … )


  2. Vielen Dank, Dietmar, für die berührenden musikalischen und historischen Beiträge zum Song!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rene Brekelmans from Belgium commented via e-mail:
    About Jewish music and the song “bei mir bist du schön”: earlier performed before the second world war by the Barry Sisters and Andrew Sisters, jewish singers from USA, were well known , f.i., in Holland with a great number of Jews living in the big cities with their own synagogues, cafés. kosher food and kosher restaurants. annex carbaretclubs. At the moment you will see many Jewish and Klezmer festivals spread over all cities in the Benelux countries. Click for more famous Dutch Klezmer bands; Di Gojem, Mazzeltov, Amsterdam Klezmerband, Ot Azoj, or listen to reals on Your tube or Spotify. There is really a great survival here. In your country you will have your Jewish festival in Weimar ans also in Krakow, Poland beginning June …

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Love that song. I remember it from long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have always loved Klezmer music, that gypsy feel. This song, is a treasure. It’s beautiful lyrically and sweet without being sappy. It’s brings you back to a time of a forgotten language “yiddish” a time of gypsy, maybe a time of someone who sang you this song? If only I could play guitar so beautifully, well done!!

    Your a real “Mench” (yiddish noble good person)


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lots of times I have heard that song but not known much about it until now!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deine – Eure Songs klingen alle schon richtig professionell im positiven sinn also mit deep feeling , die story zu bei mir bist du schön war mir nicht bekannt nur die melodie, finde den text zutiefst menschlich, die geliebte ist immer die schönste für den verliebten …
    Bewundere dich in deiner unglaublichen kreativität und vielseitigkeit, ein liebenswertes und unermüdliches multitalent …
    I take my hat off.
    Privates wird noch per email demnächst kommen.
    So long and warm greetings to you and your family, cat inclusive

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Of all the boys I’ve known and I’ve known some
    Until I first met you I was lonesome
    And when you came in sight, dear, my heart grew light
    And this old world seemed new to me

    You’re really swell, I have to admit you
    Deserve expressions that really fit you
    And so I’ve racked my brain hoping to explain
    All the things that you do to me

    Bei mir bist du schön, please let me explain
    ‘Bei mir bist du schön’ means you’re grand
    Bei mir bist du schön, again I’ll explain
    It means you’re the fairest in the land

    I could say ‘bella, bella’ even ‘sehr wunderbar’
    Each language only helps me tell you how grand you are
    I’ve tried to explain, ‘bei mir bist du schön’
    So kiss me and say you understand

    Bei mir bist du schön
    You’ve heard it all before but let me try to explain
    ‘Bei mir bist du schön’ means that you’re grand
    ‘Bei mir bist du schön,’ it’s such an old refrain
    And yet I should explain, it means I am begging for your hand

    I could say ‘bella, bella’ even ‘sehr wunderbar’
    Each language only helps me tell you how grand you are

    I could say ‘bella, bella’ even ‘sehr wunderbar’
    Each language only helps me tell you how grand you are
    I’ve tried to explain ‘bei mir bist du schn’
    So kiss me and say that you will understand!


    Published by
    Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., IMAGEM U.S. LLC


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