1949: Another go at Pan-Slavism

Let’s consider this a historical footnote…

Pan-Slavism is a movement which sprang out of common themes in arts, folklore and linguistics in the mid-19th Century. Originally a response to France’s actions in the Napoleonic Wars, it gained much interest in subsequent years in response to Pan-Germanism and romantic nationalism in general. As relationships between Slavic groups were rarely far-reaching and often tense, ideals of Pan-Slavism had an uphill battle. Encroachment from the Russian Empire (and that of the Soviet Union later) made the largest group an unlikely ally.

Pan-Slavism was perhaps the weakest in Poland, which for many reasons considered itself different from many other groups… but that didn’t stop the Communist government from promoting it in the following song Rzeki (The Rivers) – with music composed by Piotr Perkowski and lyrics by Kazimierz Jaworski:

Śpiewają rzeki z godnym chórem
młodości naszej bujną pieśń
i echo im odbrzmiewa wtórem
i ginie za morzami gdzieś.
Białoczerwonej Wisły fala
Warszawy honor głosi w świat
I Wołga jej wtóruje z dala
jak siostra siostrze, bratu brat.
The rivers sing in a worthy chorus
our youth send the song aflight,
an echo accompanies them in harmony
and dies off somewhere beyond the sea.
The red and white waves of the Wisła*
proclaim Warsaw’s honor to the world
And the Volga* echoes to it in the distance
like sister to sister – brother to brother.

O, rzeki bratnie, krwią płynące,
przelejcie w żyły nam swą moc!
Jedna jest droga Słowian w słońce
i jeden wróg jest wspólny noc!
Niebu uśmiecha się Wełtawa
i grzywą wstrząsa czeski lew.
Szeroka jest Wardaru sława,
czerwona partyzancka krew.
Oh, brother river, flowing with blood,
pour your power into our veins!
One is the Slavic path in the sun
and one is the common enemy, the darkness!
Heaven smiles upon the Vltava*
and shakes the mane of the Czech lion.
Broad is the Vardar’s* fame,
red as partisan blood.

Szumi Maryca wśród granitów,
Bułgarii w niej zaklęty los.
Od pól, do łąk, od górskich szczytów
ku morzom bije młodych głos.
O, rzeki bratnie, krwią płynące,
Przelejcie w żyły nam swą moc!
Jeden jest wróg nasz wspólny noc
Jedna jest droga Słowian w słońce!
The Maritza* roars amid the granite,
Bulgaria’s magical fate follows it.
From the fields, the meadows, the mountain peaks –
the young voices ring out towards the seas.
Oh, brother river, flowing with blood,
pour your power into our veins!
One is the common enemy, the darkness,
one is the Slavic path in the sun!

* Wisła, Volga, Vltava, Vardar, Maritza: The main rivers of Poland, Russia, The Czech Republic, Macedonia and Bulgaria, respectively.

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