You, Jerusalem, I can never forget



You, Jerusalem, I can never forget;
Rather, I remember you in my every joy,
With tears in my eyes, which never cease.
I am moved by grief and great sadness,
Not by mockery, nor happiness:
Solely to raise our people from malice.
It befits me to inform you with certainty of
The travails and afflictions that have transpired,
Which came upon us forcefully.
All this, for having passed
Unto the will of the Great Creator;
Yet from our land we were driven away.
We find ourselves here without honor,
All of us forced into this massacre:
Thus, we all cry with great sorrow.
Every day we wait for our scourge,
We scream and lament continuously,
Being no help to the poor lamb.
And although I know not to be distraught,
Nor think of this judgment,
A great ache seizes my heart.
All men gather and cling together,
To cry and scream for the great loss:
Today is the day:1 we are obligated.
Shouts small and large, deservedly, for thus
one must honor so many illustrious men,
Who number twenty-four, caught on the hunt.
All of our brothers whose fate it was to die
Have proved their love of God
Here in Ancona, for our sins.
And therefore, I must begin to
Narrate their names, my heart consumed:
A well and a river of tears.
For Sig.2 Joseph Oheb the soul roars:
A man devout in every way;
For Sig. Simon ben Menahem my heart breaks.
Sig. Joseph Pappo, with cruel death,
Passes with Sig. Abraham Cohen to a better life,
And Sig. Shlomo Iacchia, great and strong.
The soul of Sig. Joseph Vardai is completely united
With Sig. Isaac Nahmias in the sacrifice,
And the soul of Sig. Jacob Mosso is clear and clean.
Sig. Jacob Cohen, onto this torment
With Sig. Moses Paggio, completely devoted to God,
And Sig. Shlomo Aguades with sadness.
The goodness of Sig. Abraham Cerilla is known to all:
We therefore believe it certain that he rose to heaven,
Delighting with the angelic spirits in a remote place.
But still the cruel sword has not finished;
Its revenge was to undo
Just as many as it had already wounded.
The destruction of Sig. Abraham Lobo began,
The most chosen one of the second group,3
Together with Sig. Jacob Montalban, without refuge.
Sig. David Sacriario, he was there
With Sig. Samuel Gascon: everyone screaming, “burn”!
Along with Sig. Joseph Molco, also present.
Sig. Joseph Barzillon was still there when
He thought of the infinite goodness of his soul
And prepared himself, walking with Sig. Solomon Finto.
Sig. Abraham Spagna: his soul
Left with great gusto and great contentedness,
With Sig. David Reuben, completely lifeless.
Sig. Abraham Falcon miserable with lamentations,
Screaming, said, “What more are you waiting for?”
Alongside Sig. David Nahash, with steps not slow.
Nearby and welcoming the death of these famous men,
Was the omnipotent Lord,
When Sig. Isaac endured the ‘akeda.4
And together with so many devout and humble men
Was also a woman of great virtue
Called Lady Miore the prudent.
Everyone acquiesces with the greatest love in accordance with
the will of our great God,
Their lives ending in suffering.
I still feel my heart fail,
Thinking about so many torments that we endured:
Always, every time, with bowed head.
With a contrite heart to my Lord I call:
Have pity on us poor wretches,
And make us worthy that our Creator will greet us!

Translated by


[I.e., the present day of fasting, Tisha be-Av.—Trans.]

[Perhaps more exactly Señor (instead of signore, i.e., Mr.), given that all the victims were of Spanish origin.—Trans.]

[Namely, those who were executed in the second auto-da-fé, but not all sources agree.—Trans.]

[A reference to the near sacrifice of Isaac (see Genesis 22).—Trans.]


Author Unknown (Jacob da Fano (?)), “Di te Jeruscialaim già non mi posso scordare (You, Jerusalem, I can never forget) (Judeo-Italian)” (Song, Ancona, 1556/7). Published in: Cecil Roth, “Un’elegia Giudeo-Italiana Sui Martiri Di Ancona (1556–7),” La Rassegna Mensile Di Israel 16, no. 6/8 (1950): 147–156: 152–156.

Published in: The Posen Library of Jewish Culture and Civilization, vol. 5.

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