Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker
(Gimpl Beynish der Shadkhn)
Yiddish Comics of the early 20th century

Translation and commentary by Jane Peppler
Click here to read about and order the seven Gimpel books I've published.

Comics read right to left. Click on any comic strip for larger view.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The problem with World War I is, there are too many bullets: 11-14-1914, 11-15-1914

Again Louis B. Miller and Samuel Zagat show their pacifist tendencies. As when he visited Vera Cruz earlier in 1914 during the American occupation, he finds wearing the correct team's hat saves him from bullets - but not when he strays into the opposing team's territory. A kupke is (I think) usually a kind of frilly nightcap.

I love the word gazlen, which is sort of robbers or thieves, but as it's used in the second strip here to refer to the soldiers behind the bullets, as Martin Marcus says in "Yiddish for Yankees," a gazlan is:
Your own personal tormenter. An individual who was brought into the world for the sole purpose of aggravating you to death.

November 14, 1914: His stovepipe hat is merchandise even on the battlefield.
  1. Here the German lady's bonnet is a fine amulet against the Angel of Death. It's a lively world.
  2. They're shooting again. You could actually go deaf from the swinish French.
  3. These bullets are meant for me, probably because I'm wearing a German officer's bonnet.
  4. If so, I need you like a need a hole in the head. Go to hell!
  5. Now I'm Gimpel Beynish again, and I have all the soldiers in the war...

November 15, 1914: The battlefield is really not a respectable place for a peaceful man like him.
  1. Perhaps in this cellar I'll be safe from...
  2. May they live like this. They're constantly shooting.
  3. Maybe here I'll be safer from the swinish thieves.
  4. Life would be fine if it weren't for the shooting.
  5. No business, and one's life is not even safe - feh!

זײַן סטאָװ-פּײַפּ איז אַ סחורה אפֿילו אױפֿ׳ן שלאַכטפֿעלד.

אָט די דײַטשע קופּקע איז אַ גאַנץ װאױלע שמירה פֿאַר׳ן מלאך המות. עס איז אַ לעבעדיגע װעלט.
מען שיעסט שױן װיעדער. ממש מען קען טױב װערען פֿון דיא חשיר׳שע פֿראַנצױזען.
דאָס מײנט מען מיך, מחמת איך געה אָנגעטהון אין אַ קופּקע פֿון אַ דײַטשען אָפֿיציער.
אױבֿ אַזױ דאַרף איך דיך אױף אַ גוטער כּפּרה. געה מיר אין דער ערד אַרײַן!
איצט בין איך מיר צוריק גימפּעל בײניש, און איך האָב אַלע סאָלדאַטען אין דער מלחמה…

דער שלאַכט-פֿעלד איז טאַקע ניט קײן לײַטישער פּלאַץ פֿאַר אַזאַ פֿריעדליכען מענש װיא ער איז.

אָט דאָ אין קעלער װע איך אפֿשר זײַן זיכער פֿון…
זאָלען זײ אַזױ לעבען דיא סאָלדאַטען. רק זײ שיסען.
אפֿשר װעל איך דאָ זײַן זיכער פֿון דיא חזיר׳שע גזלנים.
דאָ װאָלט געװען קײן מעשה ניט צו ליבען װען ניט דאָס שיסען.
אי ניט קײן ביזנעס, אי ניט זיכער זײַן מיט׳ן לעבען – פֿע!

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