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Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers

DigiTrad:
DIE MOORSOLDATEN
PEAT BOG SOLDIERS
PEAT BOG SOLDIERS (3)


Related threads:
Prison Songs (26)
(origins) Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers pre-WWII? (10) (closed)
moorsoldaten (8) (closed)
Peat Bog Soldiers (5) (closed)
Lyr Req: The Peat Bog Soldiers (5) (closed)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Peat Bog Soldiers (Moorsoldaten) (fro Something to Sing About, Okun)


Sourdough 29 Sep 99 - 07:24 PM
John Hindsill 29 Sep 99 - 08:36 PM
Tiger 29 Sep 99 - 08:43 PM
DownEast Bob 29 Sep 99 - 09:00 PM
Stewie 29 Sep 99 - 09:07 PM
paddymac 30 Sep 99 - 12:10 AM
_gargoyle 30 Sep 99 - 12:22 AM
_gargoyle 30 Sep 99 - 12:34 AM
Sourdough 30 Sep 99 - 02:03 AM
Len Wallace 30 Sep 99 - 02:20 AM
MudGuard 30 Sep 99 - 02:30 AM
Wolfgang 30 Sep 99 - 04:00 AM
GeorgeH 30 Sep 99 - 06:53 AM
Susanne (skw) 30 Sep 99 - 06:48 PM
Ferret 30 Sep 99 - 08:15 PM
_gargoyle 30 Sep 99 - 11:35 PM
wildlone 01 Oct 99 - 07:20 PM
Reiver 2 20 Oct 99 - 05:10 PM
SEAROSS 20 Oct 99 - 05:45 PM
Fedele 14 Dec 00 - 04:52 PM
Wolfgang 15 Dec 00 - 05:16 AM
GeorgeH 15 Dec 00 - 09:06 AM
Fedele 15 Dec 00 - 12:44 PM
Fedele 16 Dec 00 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Fedele 05 Jan 01 - 05:55 AM
Wolfgang 05 Jan 01 - 06:15 AM
Mark Clark 05 Jan 01 - 04:23 PM
raredance 05 Jan 01 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,CraigS 05 Jan 01 - 11:06 PM
paddymac 06 Jan 01 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Cookieless Chocolate Pi 07 Jan 01 - 01:04 PM
Sourdough 07 Jan 01 - 03:43 PM
Sourdough 07 Jan 01 - 03:47 PM
Susanne (skw) 07 Jan 01 - 07:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jan 01 - 08:46 PM
paddymac 07 Jan 01 - 10:09 PM
Sourdough 08 Jan 01 - 04:01 PM
Mark Clark 09 Jan 01 - 09:06 AM
Susanne (skw) 10 Jan 01 - 07:20 PM
Mark Clark 11 Jan 01 - 12:10 AM
Susanne (skw) 11 Jan 01 - 06:49 PM
pastorpest 11 Jan 01 - 08:01 PM
Mark Clark 11 Jan 01 - 08:36 PM
Malcolm Douglas 11 Jan 01 - 08:43 PM
GUEST 11 Jan 01 - 09:15 PM
paddymac 12 Jan 01 - 01:46 AM
Dave Wynn 12 Jan 01 - 06:19 PM
canoer 13 Jan 01 - 05:26 PM
Sourdough 13 Jan 01 - 05:32 PM
Sourdough 13 Jan 01 - 06:13 PM
Susanne (skw) 13 Jan 01 - 07:42 PM
moonwoman 14 Jan 01 - 11:22 AM
OldPossum 19 Jan 03 - 12:19 PM
Keith A of Hertford 20 Jan 03 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 20 Jan 03 - 09:51 AM
Jeri 20 Jan 03 - 10:01 AM
mack/misophist 20 Jan 03 - 10:56 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jun 04 - 04:25 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jun 04 - 04:53 PM
BB 03 Sep 04 - 05:15 PM
Susanne (skw) 04 Sep 04 - 08:34 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 04 Sep 04 - 02:15 PM
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belfast 04 Sep 04 - 03:54 PM
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GUEST,rafflesbear 05 Sep 04 - 05:48 PM
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Rain Dog 28 Apr 05 - 11:36 AM
nutty 28 Apr 05 - 12:16 PM
Uncle_DaveO 28 Apr 05 - 12:20 PM
Franz S. 28 Apr 05 - 12:28 PM
Abby Sale 28 Apr 05 - 08:58 PM
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Rain Dog 29 Apr 05 - 08:26 AM
GUEST,jan 06 Jan 07 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,mg 07 Jan 07 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,Volgadon 30 Nov 07 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,actually Joe_F 30 Nov 07 - 08:59 PM
Mysha 05 Apr 09 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,GEST without a cookie 05 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM
Mr Happy 24 Mar 10 - 10:29 AM
Jack Campin 25 Mar 10 - 10:26 AM
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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Sourdough
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 07:24 PM

I remember in the early sixties being very moved by "Peat Bog Soldiers". Even when sung in German (the original language - Moor Soldaten - ?it was a haunting song. I've often wondered about it. Is it a folk melody? Was it sung originally in German. Was it Jewish in origin or was it somehting connected to the German political prisoners. Perhaps it's roots are in Poland or some other Eastern European country overrun by the Germans.

Sourdough

Whose head is hanging low because he somehow has started an awful lot of threads where he only meant to start one.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: John Hindsill
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 08:36 PM

Sourdough--

I have three versions of this song; Theo Bikel, Paul Robeson and Peat, er Pete, Seeger. In the notes accompanying GAZETTE,v. 2 on Folkways FN2502 it is said that the song comes from pre-war (WWII) Nazi concentration camps. The Nazis permitted it to be sung until they figured out that it was really a resistance song. It came to America in the mid-30s, brought by German refugee, one Hanns Eisler.

Hope that helps.---John


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Tiger
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 08:43 PM

According to the "Fireside Book of Folk Songs":

"It is generally believed that this song originated and was first sung in the Börgermoor concentration camp in 1933. Pierre Martinot, designer of this book, who was a prisoner in Dachau in 1944-45, says that the old prisoners there claimed that the song was first sung in Dachau, and that it was carried from there by underground to Börgermoor."

Lyrics on request.......Tiger


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: DownEast Bob
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 09:00 PM

This was recorded and released as part of a Stinson 78 rpm record album in the late 40s or early 50s. I believe it may have also been included in a 10"lp that was released in the mid to late 50s, called, I believe, "Songs of the Lincoln Brigade." Most of the songs, but not this one, were sung by the Almanac Singers. Although it was not a Spanish Civil War song, it might easily have been sung in Spain by members of the Lincoln Brigade.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Stewie
Date: 29 Sep 99 - 09:07 PM

I first heard it on an old Mitchell Trio recording on Mercury - 'Violets of Dawn'. There the song is attributed to W.Langhoff-Esser - R.Goguel, whoever they might be. No other information is given.


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Subject: ADD: Peat Bog Soldiers^^
From: paddymac
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 12:10 AM

English Lyrics, per the Dubliners & Black Family:
    (1) Far and wide as the eye can wander,
    heath and bog are everywhere.
    Not a bird sing out to cheer us.
    Oaks are standing gaunt and bare.

    (ch-1) We are the peat bog soldiers,
    marching with our spades to the moor.

    (2) Up and down the guards are marching,
    no one, no one can get through.
    Flight would mean a sure death facing,
    guns and barbed wire block our view.

    (ch-1)

    (3) But for us there is no complaining,
    winter will in time be past.
    One day we shall rise rejoicing.
    Homeland, dear, you're mine at last.

    (ch-2) No more the peat bog soldiers
    will march with our spades to the moor.
    ^^


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: _gargoyle
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 12:22 AM

Something to Sing About Macmillan and Company, London 1968 compiled by Milton Okun, p. 103-105

Lists the song as a favorite of Theodore Bikel and words by Wolfgang Langhoff and Esser. The tune is credited to Rudi Goguel (not one of my relatives)


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: _gargoyle
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 12:34 AM

Dachau WAS a pre-war camp reserved for political prisoners of "the state."

However, it is difficult to interpret "resistance" intentions into the lyrics.

MY earliest copyright for the song is 1965.....The skeptic in me believes most references before this date are perhaps "urban myths." A tiny bit of fact mixed with fantasy.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Sourdough
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 02:03 AM

Gargoyle,

I know first hand that it is older than '65, I heard Theodore Bikel sing it at a party in the Fifties. (Of course, I can't place it in the early thirties.)

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Len Wallace
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 02:20 AM

When the nazis came to power in Germany they immediately began arresting left-wing politicos and sympathizers. The first to be imprisoned in the new camps were communists and socialists.

Here's what I learned from John McDonnell's "Songs of Struggle and Protest":

The song was writtem by an unnamed prisoner in the Borgermoor Camp near the Dutch frontier. Its German name "Die Moorsoldaten" first appeared in 1935 in a book of the same name written by Wolfgang Langhoss.

Fritz Selbmann in "Neue Deutschland" April 17, 1965 wrote:

"On the 3rd of September 1941, 70 prisoners lie in the bunks of a barrack room in a German concentration camp. They hear the shots outside, 465 on this particular night, and every shot kills a comrade, a brother, a communist. Every shot bores into their own hearts. the lie awake counting the shots, clenching their fists, trying not to cry out. Then something beautiful and terrible happens . . . in the farthest corner of the room a comrade begins to hum softly. The song is the Peat-bog Soldiers. Slowly, one by one, the others take up the tune and by the fourth line, 70 prisoners, all political, almost all communists, are singing this hymn of defiance."

I have a copy of it on an old album with Ernst Busch and the choir of the 11th Brigade from the International Brigades that fought in the Spanish Civil War "6 Songs for Democracy: Discos de las Brigadas Internacionales".


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: MudGuard
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 02:30 AM

Sourdough, shouldn't you say you know that first ear. With other words, it is not hearsay, but hearsing ;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 04:00 AM

a verbatim translation of the original into English
German lyrics, another set of singable English lyrics, the haunting tune and some history
^^ It is definitely a prewar song, some sources say 1933, others 1935, written in Börgermoor. Of course, it is a song of resistance. When you are in a concentration camp, you just are not very explicit with the lyrics.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GeorgeH
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 06:53 AM

For a more recent - and very powerful - treatment of the song check out the Home Service CDs. I think - from memory - it's on "Early Transmissions" but it could be on the later "Alright Jack". Buy them both to make sure; you won't regret it.

Wolfgang: Thanks for what looks like the definitive word on its origins.

G


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 06:48 PM

I have Wolfgang Langhoff's book 'Die Moorsoldaten', where he writes about his memories of the camp and the writing of the song. I'm not sure it is still in print, but I could try and copy the relevant passages some time.
Langhoff - and Esser too, I believe - were left-wing actors. Langhoff rose to lead the East German state theatre although I believe his relationship with the powers that be was always somewhat uneasy. His son, Thomas Langhoff, is a theatre director as well.
I'm not sure about Rudi Goguel. I think his melody was added later, and that a different one was used originally, but I'll have to look this up.
Boergermoor was no extermination camp in the later sense of the word, but it still wasn't a Sunday school. In one neighbouring camp, Esterwegen, Peace Nobel Prizewinner Carl von Ossietzky was tortured and his health undermined so he died shortly after being released. Others weren't, and died there. - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Ferret
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 08:15 PM

a sad story susanne. less't we for get. ferret


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: _gargoyle
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 11:35 PM

Forget.....What?


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: wildlone
Date: 01 Oct 99 - 07:20 PM

G you could try listening to Never Again,Remember by Eric Bogle.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Reiver 2
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 05:10 PM

I'm glad I looked up this thread, and thanks to all for the information. I've known this song for many years, but never knew any of the details of it's origin. My handwritten copy of the words (both English and German) just has a note, "German concentration camp song.... political prisoners." I made no note as to where I found the song.... dumb me! Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: SEAROSS
Date: 20 Oct 99 - 05:45 PM

Paul Robeson first recorded Peat Bog soldiers on January 30, 1942 with these credits: "Moorsoldaten" - song from a German concnetration camp Arr. by Hanns Eisler. This was for his Columbia record "Songs of Free Men"


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Fedele
Date: 14 Dec 00 - 04:52 PM

I was looking for some info on the song: so I got it. Just to refresh the thread so maybe some other info will be added. I really couldn't figure what the song was about, I heard it from the Dubliners but believed it was a Pete Seeger song or so, and I thought it was about Irishmen fighting against English, or maybe about the Vietnamese people.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Wolfgang
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 05:16 AM

Fedele,
all the information is already in the above posts. Read e.g. Len Wallace's post. It is a German concentration camp song.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GeorgeH
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 09:06 AM

Wolfgang is too modest . . you must also read his post and follow his links.

A fine song.

G.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Fedele
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 12:44 PM

Yeah, I did understand! I just thought that maybe someone other could see this thread and post some other stuff.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Fedele
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 08:47 AM

Digging deep in my memory and my cassette collection, I found that I knew the song before listening to the Dubliners version! I had it in an Italian version in a 1995 Partisan Songs compilation, and I remember I read something about it on the CD booklet, but I just have a copied cassette now. Now the songs sound even more beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,Fedele
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 05:55 AM

Oh, it came to my mind: the Italian version is 3/4 while the Dubliners' one is 4/4. What about the original?


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Wolfgang
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 06:15 AM

Marching rhythm, 4/4. It could be sung when marching back from the moor to the camp.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 04:23 PM

Some of us here knew Eddie Balchowski who fought in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think Eddie used to sing "Peat Bog Soldiers." Back in the early seventies there was a big benefit concert for Eddie hosted by Studs Terkel at the Quiet Knight where Eddie worked. Most of the then living members of the Lincoln Brigade came to be with Eddie and it runs in my mind that they all sang the song together, along with some Spanish Civil War songs. Perhaps others who were there that evening will remember it better than I now do.

-----------------

Perhaps I misunderstood what gargoyle was trying to say earlier. Did anyone else think he was obliquely denying or trivializing the holocaust?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers ^^^
From: raredance
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 05:55 PM

In Pete Seeger's book "The Bells of Rhymney" (Oak PUblications 1964), he says that the song was smuggled out of Germany by Hans Eisler in 1934 and that it was composed by prisoner at Borgersmoor, an early concentration camp. This is not inconsistent with the information above concerning the age and origin of the German lyrics. The English translation that is most frequently sung, seems less well defined. (As an aside, I searched "peat" in the DT and did not come up with the lyrics. That's a shame, because it's been discussed several times over the years. A copy of the most familar English lyrics was posted by Paddymac in a "hear Me " thread. I copied them below so they can be part of this thread and may get into the DT). A good translation that is singable can make or break a song going from one language to another, but translaters usually sink into obscurity. Anyone know who did the familiar English translation of "Stille Nacht"? The English translatio in Pete's book, and that he sings, is the same as the one below. He describes it as "author unknown" and "one of the best". That statement implies there are several other translations out there. One alternative is in the links above, although I have not heard that one sung. Did Paul Robeson do it in German back in 1942, or did he have an English version already back then? Seeger's book list the copyright as "Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade", but Pete has somewhat of a reputaion of asigning copyrights for political reasons and to keep someone else from cashing in on a song he considers to be public domain. So how old is this English translation? At least 1964. If Bikel sang the same one, that pushes it back a bit. Also most of the songs in Pete's song book were sung by him before the book went to press.

rich r

PEAT BOG SOLDIERS

Far and wide as the eye can wander,
Heath and bog are everywhere.
Not a bird sings out to cheer us,
Oaks are standing gaunt and bare.

Chorus:
We are the peatbog soldiers,
Marching with our spades to the moor.

Up and down the guards are pacing.
No one, no one can get through.
Flight would mean a sure death facing,
Guns and barbed wire greet our view.

Chorus:

But for us there is no complaining,
Winter will in time be past.
One day we shall rise rejoicing,
"Homeland" dear. your mine at last.

Chorus (2):
Then will the peatbog soldiers
March no more with their spades to the Moor.

rich r ^^^


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 11:06 PM

I know the song frm the singing of Roger Watson (as in Muckram Wakes etc). He used to sing both the English and German lyrics, which is not surprising since he used to teach German in schools. I don't know if he recorded it, but if anyone would know about the history of the song, I'd expect he would.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: paddymac
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 01:08 PM

This is truly an emotionally powerful song. We did it in our St Pat's show last year. We were rocking along with the usual rowdy, bawdy pub fare, then threw in our three-part a capella version of "Peat Bog Soldiers". The house went quiet when we started, but erupted when we finished. I suspect that many or most of them had never heard it before. The appeal seems to be in the melodic simplicity and stark phrasing, which seems to reach a part of the universal psyche and touch the hearts of people fror everywhere and anywhere, and of every background.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,Cookieless Chocolate Pi
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 01:04 PM

It's on the record of "Songs of the Lincoln Brigade" I got, without liner notes and with a splitting sleeve, at a library booksale a number of years ago. It's in 4/4 there.
I think there's a (Smithsonian? Folkways?) set of cassette tapes of this record, with real liner notes. Unfortunately, as usual, I'm at school and my music is a good thousand miles away.

Chocolate Pi


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Sourdough
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 03:43 PM

Paddymac:


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Sourdough
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 03:47 PM

Paddymac: Thank you for your very simple description of the appeal of the song. I think you nailed it. I am curious, though, why is it that you decided to sing "Peat Bog Soldier" at a St. Patrick's Day concert. I sure sounds as though it worked out well, though.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 07:16 PM

I have a book by the man who inspired the writing of 'Die Moorsoldaten', the original song, Wolfgang Langhoff. He was an inmate of the Boergermoor concentration camp in 1933/34 and wrote his book in 1935. He survived and went on to become one of the leading lights in GDR theatre, and died in 1966.
I've just copied the account of how and why the song was written into my PC, but translating it will take a little more time. Would anyone be interested in the translation? Otherwise I'm not going to do it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 08:46 PM

Interested?  Definitely, if you don't mind doing it.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: paddymac
Date: 07 Jan 01 - 10:09 PM

skw - absolutely.

Sourdough - we were looking for a song well suited to an a capella rendition, and something "different". I had first heard it on a tape by the "Black Brothers", and our lead singer had heard the "Dubliners" version. The song just spoke to us. We all liked it, and the fact that the Blacks and Dubs had done it was a bit of a hook to introduce it as a song "well known to Irish audiences." To be honest, we were surprised at the reception it received. We've had some changes in personnel since then and are now working up another version. We're enthuised about it, and just hope our audience will respond as they did before.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Sourdough
Date: 08 Jan 01 - 04:01 PM

In the late Fifties, I had worked in a summer camp in N. Adams, Massachusetts. There was a lovely young counselor there who lived in NYC. When I went back to college, she invited me to visit her at her family home, an apartment in Manhattan.

That evening, there was a party and I learned a lot about her family. Her mother was a gorgeous and charming woman. I don' think I met her father, though. He was a very busy man, a Broadway producer. He had a long-running musical on Broadway at that time and one of he stars was Theodore Bikel. I hadn't seen the show yet so I didn't really know who Bikel was. Late that evening, when he dropped in, he was just Theo to me. After a bit, a guitar appeared (I think it was a Guild) and Theo, sitting on a chair in the living room started singing some of the songs from the show. One I remember in particular was "Edelweiss".

It was a very special evening. He sang songs I'd never heard before, one about a Jewish farm cooperative in The Crimea, another about a dying queen's confession of adultery, some humorous songs and then he played Moor Soldaten, singing it in both German and English. This group made up mostly of some of the most privileged people in America who I would guess had minimal first hand experience with evil became silent and thoughtful as they listened to the story of the forced laborers. It was a lovely moment in that the song made it possible for us to share for a moment a fragment of their pain and to file it away as part of our empathy library making it easier for us to rmember how much we share with all people.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Mark Clark
Date: 09 Jan 01 - 09:06 AM


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Subject: Lyr Add: DIE MOORSOLDATEN / THE PEAT-BOG SOLDIERS
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 10 Jan 01 - 07:20 PM

Here's the promised translation:

[1935:] [Langhoff has had the idea to put on a show in order to demonstrate to the SS that the prisoners are by no means the 'subhuman', culture-less beings the Nazis portrayed them as, and has been looking for volunteers.] A comrade came towards me, dragging another along by his sleeve. "You are the actor, eh? Now, this is our poet. He has had poems published by the 'Ruhr Echo', and he's even written songs for middle-class choirs!" We walked on together. The 'poet' was a miner by trade, an older, quiet man. I said: "Couldn't you make a song that the whole camp can sing together? You realize, of course, that it must not be of the kind the SS could forbid us to sing. It ought to relate to our camp as well as to our families back home. You know, a song about home, but no kitsch like 'Back to my homeland I long to go...' " "Yes, I could do that," the comrade said thoughtfully. " I'll give it a try and bring the song to your hut some time during the week." [...]

The Sunday arrived. In the morning we rehearsed the new song our miner had written and to which a clerk had made a tune. [...] And then the camp's inmates heard, for the first time, the 'Boergermoor Song', which in the meantime has attained a folksong-like popularity. One of us said: "Comrades, we're going to sing you the 'Boergermoor Song', our camp song. Listen well and then sing along with the chorus." Dark and heavy, in march time, the choir began:

Wohin auch das Auge blicket, Moor und Heide nur ringsum
Vogelsang uns nicht erquicket, Eichen stehen kahl und stumm
Wir sind die Moorsoldaten und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor ...
(Far and wide as the eye can wander, heath and bog are everywhere

Not a bird sings out to cheer us, oaks are standing gaunt and bare
We are the peat-bog soldiers marching with our spades to the bog)


Total silence - They all sat as though frozen, unable to sing along and listened to the chorus again.

Wir sind die Moorsoldaten und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor ...
Hier in dieser öden Heide ist das Lager aufgebaut
Wo wir ferne jeder Freude hinter Stacheldraht verstaut
Wir sind die Moorsoldaten und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor ...

(In this bleak and lonely moorland a camp it has been built for us
Where we're kept behind the barbed wire, any joy denied to us)

Morgens ziehen die Kolonnen in das Moor zur Arbeit hin
Graben bei dem Brand der Sonnen, doch zur Heimat steht der Sinn
Wir sind die Moorsoldaten und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor ...

(Every morning all the columns march out to work upon the moor
We dig beneath the cruel sun's glare while dreaming of our homeland far)


Some comrades began to hum along, quietly and sadly. They looked neither left nor right. Their gaze went beyond the barbed wire - it went to where the sky met the endless heath.

Heimwärts, heimwärts jeder sehnet, zu den Eltern, Weib und Kind
Manche Brust ein Seufzer dehnet, weil wir hier gefangen sind
Wir sind die Moorsoldaten und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor ...

(Homeward, homeward goes our yearning, to our parents, wives and weans
Many a chest is full of sighing for far from them we're kept in chains)


I saw the commander. He sat with his head down and his foot moving in the sand. The SS silent and unmoving. - I saw the comrades. Many were crying. -

Auf und nieder geh'n die Posten, keiner, keiner kann hindurch
Flucht wird nur das Leben kosten, vierfach ist umzäunt die Burg
Wir sind die Moorsoldaten und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor ...

(Up and down the guards are pacing, no one, no one can get through
Flight would mean a sure death facing, guns and barbed wire greet our view)


This verse was done very quietly. Suddenly the comrades' singing grew very loud and hard as they started the last verse:

Doch für uns gibt es kein Klagen, ewig kann's nicht Winter sein
Einmal werden froh wir sagen: Heimat, Du bist wieder mein!

(But for us there is no complaining, winter will in time be past
One day we shall cry, rejoicing, homeland, dear, you're mine at last)

Dann ziehn die Moorsoldaten nicht mehr mit dem Spaten ins Moor!


And the last chorus, the: "No more with their spades!", was sung loudly and powerfully. The spell was broken. At the repeat of the chorus all nine hundred inmates sang:

"Then will the peat-bog soldiers march no more with their spades to the bog!"

This was the end of our show and the units marched back to their huts in a very disciplined and calm manner. Hardly had we reached our hut when some SS men came rushing in: "Boys! You did a marvelous show, that was wonderful!" They were enraptured. The ice was broken, and for the first time the two sides spoke to each other like human beings. [...] "Hey, who was it who wrote the 'Boergermoor Song'?" "Well - it wasn't written by an individual. We all contributed, like." We took great care not to let them know who the author was. [...]
Two days later, the song was forbidden. Because of the last verse, in all likelihood - it was open to different interpretations, after all. But it was the S.S. men who demanded the song again and again, and who prevailed against their commander. On the long marches to our workplaces the order usually was: "Sing! Boergermoor Song!" "We're not allowed to sing that," the comrades pointed out. "Nonsense! Out here I am in charge! And who's going to hear it out here anyway!" The head started off and the whole column joined in with gusto.

We also tried to use handing out copies of the song to further our purpose. Not every S.S. man got a copy, not by a long way, but only those who didn't torment or beat us. Every time someone got a copy we got a chance to draw him into a discussion. (Wolfgang Langhoff, Die Moorsoldaten, 2. ed. 1974, p. 151ff, transl. Susanne Kalweit, apart from verses 1, 5, 6)


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 12:10 AM

Susanne, thanks. I'm left with nothing to say after that.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 06:49 PM

... apart from a little gentle criticism of my formatting abilities, perhaps? :-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: pastorpest
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 08:01 PM

A Jewish history professor whose expertise is the holocaust told me the Peat Bog Soldiers is not Jewish. The prisoners were communists, labor leaders, and left wing Christians sent to the camps early in the Nazi period because of their resistance or suspected resistance to the Nazi government. In the debate over whether the song originated in Borgermoor or Dachau, she favoured Dachau because it is surrounded by peat bogs where the prisoners were forced to work. The professor, daughter of holocaust survivors, loves the song: knowing there were people in Germany with the courage to oppose Hitler gives her hope.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Mark Clark
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 08:36 PM

To stand in opposition to fascism, tyranny and hatred was and is the responsibility of every person.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 08:43 PM

Thankyou, Susanne.  We all need to know, and remember, things like that.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 01 - 09:15 PM

You're gonna kill me, but it's also in Rise Up Singing. It's on Pete Seeger's Strangers and Cousins


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: paddymac
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 01:46 AM

This thread just keeps getting better and better. Thanks to all. A magnificent example of the learning available to us all here in 'cat-land.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 12 Jan 01 - 06:19 PM

The best version of this song I have ever heard was live by a band local to Manchester called Redmayne.....It silenced a full club. Five part harmony unaccompanied. Left the audience well rattled.

Spot.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: canoer
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 05:26 PM

Dear Susanne,

Thank you ever so much for your find and your work of translation and posting!

I have kept it as a favorite for about 25 years now. I heard the tradition of it being an early camp song, and of its creation by the political prisoners, but until now no details.

I was specially taken by the section about its effect on the SS, and the prisoners' use of the song as a way to draw the more humane guards into political discussions. This passage ranks right up there with "Christmas in the Trenches;" on each end of that rifle, we're the same.

Very moving. –the canoer


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Sourdough
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 05:32 PM

SKW -

Fascinating story. Thank you so much for putting in in here.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Sourdough
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 06:13 PM

I just looked up "Boergermoor" using Google and found a dozen or more sites, some of which looked most interesting. None are in English. I looked through two of the sites in French and although I am Gallicly Challenged, I was able to understand enough to see that these sites may have some wonderful details.

Does anyone know how to use translation programs with web sites? I know they are less than idiomatic but it would be a big help to see what is in there.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 13 Jan 01 - 07:42 PM

Sourdough, I suggest you post the addresses you found (in order to save us repeating the search) so that we can tackle them in our own time. I suppose most of the sites were in German, and, given a little time, I'd be prepared to look through them and maybe translate anything worthwhile, or post a precis here. The subject of Nazism and resistance is near to my heart, for although to the best of my knowledge none of my near relatives took part in one side or the other, I am German and I can't escape the responsibility of doing what I can (which is little enough) to prevent Germans (at least) from again perpetrating such a monstrosity as indiscriminately exterminating people of different (perceived) race, creed or political conviction, not to mention the starting of a world war. (The feeling of responsibility being reinforced by a sneaking conviction that, had I lived through the 'Thousand Years', what there is of my courage wouldn't have allowed me to join any resistance activities ...)


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: moonwoman
Date: 14 Jan 01 - 11:22 AM

My friend DownEast Bob and I were just singing this song at breakfast today while I was stirring the grits. The People's Song Book has it along with many other "revolutionary" songs. The book was edited by Waldemar Hille and published by Oak Publications, New York. Cool beans!


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Subject: Tune Add: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: OldPossum
Date: 19 Jan 03 - 12:19 PM

Here is the tune:

X:46
T:The Peatbog Soldiers
B:The Dubliners' Songbook
N:filename[ PEATBOG
M:2/4
L:1/4
K:A
|F C|F A/ G/|F C|F F|B G|A F|G C|F2|
A A|A (c/B/)|A E|A A|B G|A F|G C|HF |: E|
c3/2 c/|c A|B2|B B|A3/2 A/|A F|G2|G C|F2-|F:|]


Source: The Dubliners' Song Book, edited by Eric Winter, (c) 1974 Music Sales Limited.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 05:49 AM

The usual English version loses the rhyme of soldier with spade.
The translation given in Wolfgang's link relaces it with battallion and stallion. Can anyone come up with a better alternative?
Keith.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 09:51 AM

"but Pete has somewhat of a reputation of asigning copyrights for political reasons and to keep someone else from cashing in on a song he considers to be public domain."

This is not fair. He fought to have Solomon Linder for the copyright on Wimoweh. He has never to my knowledge tried to keep anyone from cashing in on anything. Pete has been scrupulous in his making sure that the right authors/composers receive their due. I speak from personal experience with Pete.



Frank


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 10:01 AM

Frank: "...to keep someone else from cashing in on a song he considers to be public domain."

I think it was (perhaps 'is'?) common practice Folks claim copyright so others don't - and also try to claim they wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: mack/misophist
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 10:56 AM

Thanks to all of you. I had the mistaken notion that it was written by German prisoners of the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. The truth is always better.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 04:06 PM

Registration at this site is free -

It has an award-winning Radio Goethe Magazine audio narrative of 38 minutes - good clear connection - no static. (But perhaps a little overdone with the tag-line The most important anti-fascist and protest song of the 20th century

http://www.prx.org/preview.do?id=1156

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 04:25 PM

Listening to this entire radio program (interviews the writers, the history, Segar, citizens) - should put to rest all future inquiries about the song's origins.)

This is radio-feature journalism at its VERY BEST!

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jun 04 - 04:53 PM

For a perspective from the FRENCH point of view "Song of the Marshs" try

http://www.fndirp.asso.fr/chantdesmarais.htm

Run it through google for a translation.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: BB
Date: 03 Sep 04 - 05:15 PM

I've just been trying to find out the author(s) of 'The Peatbog Soldiers' - and found this thread, which didn't help. Thought others might be interested in the info. I've just found on the web, which says that it was written in 1933 by Johann Esser and Wolfgang Langhoff with melody by Rudi Goguel. Can't find out who translated it into English though.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 08:34 AM

BB, as far as I know the melody by Goguel is no longer used or at any rate was heavily modified by Hanns Eisler after the war, but Goguel's name has been kept out of respect. Langhoff and Esser are the 'official' authors but if you have a look at the extract from Langhoff's book cited above you'll realise that it isn't easy to determine 'real' authorship. I've wondered whether the man he 'commissioned' to write the first lyrics was, in fact, Esser, but I can't find out from the book. Maybe I missed something.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 02:15 PM

Notation at the base of my sheet music and then books' commentary:

Words by Wolfgan Langhoff and Esser;
Last verse by Theodore Bikel.
Music by Rudi Goguel.
Copyright 1965 by Stormking Music Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Peat Bog Soldiers choise of Theodore Bikel.
Something to Sing About - The Personal Choices of America's Folk sings Collected and Arranged by Milton Okun, p. 103-106.

"....Bikel speaks and sings in more languages than most of us could readily identify. He is expecially adept i the language and folklor of Eastern Europe and Israel, reflected his own itinerant youth from Vienna to the Middle East. If there is a better interpreter of Russian Gypsy music about than Theo, let him step forward with his balalaika. If there is a performer more steeped in the songs of the Eastern European Jewish ghettos, let him speak. And if there is a more articulated and forthright singer of the bold new fulk music of Israel than Theo, may my left hand wither, or some less frightening Biblical injuction....."

Bikel's added verse:

Then will the peat bog soldier
March no more with their spaded to the bog.
Then will the peat bog soldiers
March no more with their spades to the bog.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 03:31 PM

FOLKS if you REALLY want to learn about this song, its melody and lyrics you MUST listen to the above link. Register it is free. AND OUTSTANDING in CONTENT. And the article is still there to listen to:



BTW



"Arndt Peltner was appointed recently to the German Order of Merit for his work with Radio Goethe. In his explanation about the appointment, Bernd Westphal, the German General Consul in San Francisco, said that Radio Goethe promotes an interest in Germany among young people in the US. He promotes friendship between the young people of Germany and the US. Arndt Peltner has been able to achieve something that is very difficult for government; he has reached the hearts and minds of young people through his work. "


Arndt Peltner produced the radio interviews
about the Moorsoldaten or Peat Bog Soldiers



Sincerely,

Gargoyle



You can lead to water .... but they won't be baptised.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: belfast
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 03:54 PM

I once had an EP (remember them?) of the Ian Campbell Folk Group, the Topic label I think. As well as the Peat Bog Soldiers there was The Boys of Wexford and Viva la Quince Brigada (no, not the Christy Moore version). I'm couldn't be sure but I suspect that this is where the Dubliners (courtesy of Luke Kelly) may have got it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 03:55 PM

In the 10:00 to 11:45 segment of this 38 minute piece you will hear first hand about how Langhoff, Esser, and Goguel were all integrally involved and what event sparked its creation - I won't ruin it - you MUST listen to the interviews.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 04 Sep 04 - 03:58 PM

Problems - try http://www.prx.org/piece/1156

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Abby Sale
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 11:24 AM

gargoyle:

Ok, ok. I'll listen to the program.   First I'll post the "happy?" file entry for it. That, because it's close (anyway) to facts and it reads nicely, if slightly unlikely. It's somewhat at odds with Susanne's quote of 30 years earlier. No matter. Also because the date given for the "performance" is Sept 3rd, making it a song for this week.

Then I'll listen and maybe change the file. Maybe won't change it. This is folklore, after all.


When the nazis came to power in Germany they immediately began arresting left-wing politicos and sympathizers. The first to be imprisoned in the new camps were communists and socialists. According to John McDonnell's Songs of Struggle and Protest: The song was written by an unnamed prisoner in the Börgermoor Camp near the Dutch frontier. Its German name "Die Moorsoldaten" first appeared in 1935 in a book of the same name written by Wolfgang Langhoss.

Fritz Selbmann in "Neue Deutschland" April 17, 1965 wrote: "On the 3rd of September 1941, 70 prisoners lie in the bunks of a barrack room in a German concentration camp. They hear the shots outside, 465 on this particular night, and every shot kills a comrade, a brother, a communist. Every shot bores into their own hearts. they lie awake counting the shots, clenching their fists, trying not to cry out. Then something beautiful and terrible happens . . . in the farthest corner of the room a comrade begins to hum softly. The song is the "Peat-bog Soldiers." Slowly, one by one, the others take up the tune and by the fourth line, 70 prisoners, all political, almost all communists, are singing this hymn of defiance."


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 05:22 PM

Your's appears folk-lore .... I'll trust the eye-witness interviews....stranger still than fiction.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Abby Sale
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 05:39 PM

Ok, gargy...The show is well worth listening to. Thank you.

Seems to be much taken from the Langhoff book, though. (I'd like to know how & where he published it in 1935.) I also see that the "happy?" take is swiped from Len, above.

Seems the original "culture show" was August 1933. That would give all the prisoners time to learn the song by Sept 3rd as per Selbmann's account. (Ok, Selbmann reads like political fantasy but I do like the story.)

One thing seems clear about the tune - consciously or not, Goguel set the words to a tune from the Thirty Years' War (1618-48). No dis to him on that - he made no claim to being a musician and he found a damn fine tune for it.

I don't know that this actually proves the Langhoff/Esser/Goguel story - outside corroboration would be nice. But no one else claims it either. I'd accept it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,rafflesbear
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 05:48 PM

personal favourite version by Swan Arcade the Bradford trio with Dave Brady the one-armed concertina player

had the great good fortune to catch them once at the coach house Farningham - Dave had such a powerful voice that unamplified he just opened his mouth and the whole club was filled with the rich northern textures of his voice - unforgettable

anyone know where he is now ?


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargole
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 06:32 PM

A Rough and INCOMPLETE - transcription form sections of the radio piece.

1933 in B…prison camp – by 1945 it had spread through the concentration camps and throughout the world. It is now considered to be one of the greatest of all anti-fascist songs.

The daily routine of a concentration camp was strict and difficult. Marching to and from forced labor, the inmates were forced to sing. From time to time the camp commander gave permission for 'cultural events' to build relationships between guards and the inmates. The "Peat Bog Soldiers" is the first and most famous song to be composed in the concentration camps of The Third Reich. A person by the name of…Wolfgan Langhoff. who later became the director of the German theatre in Berlin asked the minor works poet Esser – for lyrics that could be sung by all of the camps prisoners but would not be too controversial. Langhoff gave them to Goguel, who was a salesman – who had never composed a song before – but grewup in a music loving family)

INTERVIEW with GOGUEL "The song was not written spontaneously, it was written at a very specific moment, as a protest on the part of the resistance fighters against the oppressors." It was in response to a night-time attack on a barracks by the SS; it ended with a dozen or so slightly or seriously wounded prisoners. In response to this assault, we had the idea to organize a cultural program to demonstrate our higher moral value. I got the request from L….to write the melody for a poem….that another inmate Esser had given to him…. My comrades were able to fake an injury for me and bring me to the camp hospital – and there at night, I composed the music to accompany the lyrics. After I left the hospital I found 16 prisoners from an imprisoned men's choir, from Zollen to rehearse the song. They studied it secretly, in a bathroom, for the cultural evening…."

"We can talk about two versions, in addition to these, there are many others." Spanish Civil War and a melody from the Thirty Year War….(Examples of tune variations given at aprox 15:30) Esser recognized a worker's song tune – and put it at the beginning of the well published one, however, that version is not the original one that was written by Goguel in the camp. Years later Goguel heard the tune as the introduction to a radio program and found it went around the world. The original was banned in Germany but traveled from prison to prison . The other version stayed alive in public and was printed in 1935 – and was broadcast on Radio Moscow. Pete Seeger met Esser when Seeger was 14 years old and Seeger's recording is one of the best known– his recording was popular in the USSR. (Seeger clip given at approx) 22:30 – 25:30. Rock version approx 36:00.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


Click to play MIDI


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 05 Sep 04 - 07:22 PM

Good to see you around again Abby its been a long time since the alt.rec days.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,Alex
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 10:29 AM

I have just returned from the 60th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Buchenwald being a relative of an inmate who died there. Among the many events organised was a concert given by the local childrens' choir in Nordhausen. In the audience were survivors of Buchenwald, Dora , Erlich and Bergen Belsen from Poland, USSR as was, Hungary, Belgium and France. When the children started singing the Moorsoldaten, the survivors at once rose to their feet, soon followed by the rest of the audience. The survivors joined in the singing, hands on hearts. It was an extraordinary moment. It is important that the significance of that song to the camp inmates lives on.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Rain Dog
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 11:36 AM

I was listening to the CD The Holland Hankerchief by Mary McPartlan and she sings the song on that album. When I was listening to it I was trying to work out where the song was set. Plenty of peat bogs in Ireland but the barbed wire references threw me a bit. Thanks for clearing it up.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: nutty
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 12:16 PM

The History Site .. Holocaust Education HERE
gives this info on the song ---

Wolfgang Langhoff and Johann Esser wrote the lyrics [see Documents]. The music was composed by Rudi Goguel and was later adapted by Hanns Eisler and Ernst Busch. Langhoff, Eisler, and Busch were all active in the German Communist party.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 12:20 PM

As a matter of curiosity, when singing this great song both in German and English, is it usual to sing German/English, verse by verse, or to do say German all the way through and then English?

It would seem better (to me) to sing the translation alternating with German verse by verse. Any thoughts?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Franz S.
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 12:28 PM

Personal story: A teacher colleague of mine was married to a man somewhat older than her, a very private man who had grown up in Germany but never talked much about his life until he met my father. They swapped stories about sailing in the merchant marine during WWII and my friend told some stories about his youth. Nothing was explicit, but it became clear that he and my father also shared past membership in the Communist Party.

Not too long after that occasion my friend had a stroke. We went to visit. He was paralysed, couldn't talk, lying on the couch. His wife asked me to sing to him, so I sang (among other things) "Die Moorsoldaten".   He cried.   He died not long after. I will never know what that song really meant to him.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Abby Sale
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 08:58 PM

Dave,

I think the most successful (and most sung) English version is pretty much as Pete Seeger does it. Some of the German verses just don't render in English well and writing completely new English ones just doesn't sit well either.

             Peat Bog Soldiers

1.        Wohin auch das Auge blicket,
        Moor und Heide nur ringsum.
        Vogelsang uns nicht erquicket,
        Eichen stehen kahl und krumm.

1.        Far and wide as the eye can wander,
        Heath and bog are everywhere.
        Not a bird sings out to cheer us,
        Oaks are standing gaunt and bare.

Chorus:
                We are the peatbog soldiers,
                Marching with our spades
                To the moor.

                Wir sind die Moorsoldaten,
                Und ziehen mit dem Spaten,
                Ins Moor.

5.        Up and down the guards are pacing.
        No one, no one can get through.
        Flight would mean a sure death facing,
        Guns and barbed wire greet our view.

6.        But for us there is no complaining,
        Winter will in time be past.
        One day we shall rise rejoicing,
        "Homeland" dear. your mine at last.

Chorus (twice, or more):
                Then will the peatbog soldiers
                March no more with their spades
                To the Moor.

                Dann ziehn die Moorsoldaten
                Nicht mehr mit dem Spaten
                Ins Moor!


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Pauline L
Date: 29 Apr 05 - 01:33 AM

That is such a powerful song in all its incarnations. I learned it from a Paul Robeson recording. He used the English lyrics cited above by Dave. I can hardly imagine Mary McPartland singing it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Rain Dog
Date: 29 Apr 05 - 08:26 AM

Pauline, the Mary McPartland version is the only one I have heard. It made an impression on me the first time I heard it, as songs sometimes do, her delivery , the music and the lyrics. It intrigued me as I could not 'place' it so to speak.I think she makes a very good job of it


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,jan
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 04:05 PM

Börgermoor and Dachau are from 1933 to 1945 NAZI concentration camps !! later also use by the allied. Moorsoldaten written W. Langhoff-Esser - R.Goguel.they was arrested in the KZ Börgermoore. written and sung during the detention. thus I had at school learned it in 1986 in east germany.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 03:06 PM

It is an awesome song. I would like to hear more from Jan about possibly growing up in East Germany and how things are going etc. I was in Germany when the wall was still coming down and have little bits of it still...mg


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 12:12 AM

I bought a CD of Israeli versions of Russian songs, and in the liner notes the editor, Nahum Heyman, mentions an army radio program from '76 of soldier and resistance songs. Amongst the unreleased material is a version peat-bog soldiers. Hopefully he can get this released some time soon, as I personally think a Hebrew rendering would be amazing.


"It was a very special evening. He sang songs I'd never heard before, one about a Jewish farm cooperative in The Crimea, another about a dying queen's confession of adultery, some humorous songs and then he played Moor Soldaten, singing it in both German and English. This group made up mostly of some of the most privileged people in America who I would guess had minimal first hand experience with evil became silent and thoughtful as they listened to the story of the forced laborers. It was a lovely moment in that the song made it possible for us to share for a moment a fragment of their pain and to file it away as part of our empathy library making it easier for us to rmember how much we share with all people.

Sourdough"

Does anyone happen to know the name or the lyrics of the song about the Jewish collective in the Crimea? Via Nova, as it was called, is a fascinating slice of history and I would love learn any song about it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,actually Joe_F
Date: 30 Nov 07 - 08:59 PM

Volgadon: Probably "Dzhankoy". Pete Seeger has sung it a good deal. There is a thread about it under "Zhankoye".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Mysha
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 12:27 PM

Hi,

As far as I can determine, the two versions mentioned above are actually the same version: Hanns Eisler mistakenly assumed the melody of the Börgermoorliet was that of a song from the thirty year war (that, in the radio broadcast, I can't decypher the title of), and that version went to the Spanish Civil War, from where artists like Pete Seger took it to places around the globe. That's all the same version.

The other, the original version, is different. Unfortunately, in the broadcast after the first strophe the song is continued in a different style, very appropriate but not as easy to follow. Does anyone know the first voice of that version?

                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GUEST,GEST without a cookie
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM

I'm partial to the variant (with sound video) by Ryan's Fancy on this page: Peat Bog Soldiers :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Mr Happy
Date: 24 Mar 10 - 10:29 AM

Moor more here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peat_Bog_Soldiers


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Mar 10 - 10:26 AM

Does anyone happen to know the name or the lyrics of the song about the Jewish collective in the Crimea?

"Hey Zhankoye".

Pretty creepy song, given that Zhankoye is a Turkish name - the Jewish collective must have been allocated land vacated by Stalin's deportations of the Crimean Tatars. It predates the main wave of deportation, but Zhankoye was the main crossroads for road and rail links into the Crimea from the north, so presumably Stalin got it dealt with first and had his Jewish collective planted as a handy force of collaborators in the coming genocide. It was a popular song with the US folk revival in the 50s and 60s, like other items of now-unsingable Zionist propaganda. I would be curious to know who was behind this. ("Peatbog Soldiers" is not one of them, of course - the prisoners it talks about were Communists, not Jews).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 07:33 PM

The Union Songs site has an item about this song which quotes from a book by Hanns Eisler "HANNS EISLER A REBEL IN MUSIC" published by International Publishers, New York and Seven Seas Books, Berlin. ©1978. I think the end of the Union Songs item is telling us that the first part of its quoted section from the Eisler book is a translation in English of publicity material which Eisler used in New York in 1935, probably during a solidarity tour. The Eisler version of the song's origin presented here has a feel of propagandising about it and does not name the creators of the lyrics but his information about the origins of the tune is interesting THE LINK IS HERE:http://unionsong.com/reviews/peatbog.html

I would very much like to establish exactly what part Eisler played in giving the song the tune to which it is now sung.The conclusion of the Union Songs item seems to be that the words were written by Esser and Langhoff, the melody of the verses was taken from a song from the Thirty Years War, the chorus melody was the work of Rudi Goguel, and in 1935 Hanns Eisler made an arrangement of the song and provided a piano accompaniment.

Does anyone recognise the song from the Thirty Years War that Eisler quotes but does not name ?

Children, listen to the wind howling
Howling against the windows.
Children, where Tilly wreaks havoc
Specters are dwelling.


The link to the radio programme given by Gargoyle above (http://www.prx.org/preview.do?id=1156 ) now takes you to a site which says the page no longer exists. Does anyone know if it can be found elsewhere?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jan 11 - 08:11 PM

This version of the origin of the song seems to imply Goguel composed it without any reuse of an older tune:

Hans Lauter - Moorsoldat

(Near the end of the page. My German isn't up to much though).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 09:04 AM

Here is the Text to which Campin Jack refers and Babelfish translation. I don't think it necessarily overturns Eisler's description of the tune origin.

Das Börgermoorlied
oder das „Moorsoldatenlied"
"Die Moorsoldaten", das bekannteste Lied des deutschen Widerstandes, vielleicht das schönste Lied der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung überhaupt, entstand 1933 im "Staatlichen preußischen Konzentrationslager I Börgermoor (Papenburg)". Häftlinge des KZ Börgermoor veranstalteten eine Zirkusveranstaltung ("Zirkus Konzentrazani") für ihre Mitgefangenen und die SS-Bewacher. Erst nach Auseinandersetzungen innerhalb der KZ-Häftlinge setzte eine Mehrheit die Vorstellung durch. Eines der Argumente war, man müsse der SS demonstrieren, daß man trotz Folterungen nicht zerbrochen worden sei. Zum Schloß der Darbietungen wurde das Lied "Die Moorsoldaten" erstmals gesungen. Der Komponist Rudi Goguel beschrieb die Uraufführung später folgendermaßen:

"Die sechzehn Sänger, vorwiegend Mitglieder des Solinger Arbeitergesangsverein, marschierten in ihren grünen Polizeiuniformen (unsere damalige Häftlingskleidung) mit geschulterten Spaten in die Arena, ich selbst an der Spitze in blauem Trainingsanzug mit einem abgebrochenen Spatenstiel als Taktstock. Wir sangen, und bereits bei der zweiten Strophe begannen die fast 1000 Gefangenen den Refrain mitzusummen. Von Strophe zu Strophe steigerte sich der Refrain, und bei der letzten Strophe sangen auch die SS-Leute, die mit ihren Kommandanten erschienen waren, einträchtig mit uns mit, offenbar, weil sie sich selbst als "Moorsoldaten" angesprochen fühlten. Bei den Worten "..Dann ziehn die Moorsoldaten nicht mehr mit den Spaten ins Moor" stießen die sechzehn Sänger die Spaten in den Sand und marschierten aus der Arena, die Spaten zurücklassen, die nun, in der Moorerde steckend, als Grabkreuze wirkten."

Bereits zwei Tage später wurde das Lied von der Lagerleitung verboten. Auf Kopien wurde es dennoch aus dem Lager herausgeschmuggelt. So hatte z.B. der Mülheimer Otto Gaudig, der als Schuster im KZ Börgermoor arbeitete, das Liedblatt zwischen Sohle und Brandsohle eingenäht, um es sicher aus dem Lager herausbringen zu können.
Die erste Fassung von Esser/ Langhoff nach der Musik von Goguel bearbeitete Eisler 1935 für den Sänger Ernst Busch.

Babelfish Translation German into English



The Börgermoorlied or „the moorland soldier song " " The Moorsoldaten" , the most well-known song of the German resistance, perhaps the most beautiful song of the German workers' movement at all, developed 1933 in " National one Prussian concentration camps I Börgermoor (Papenburg) ". Prisoners of the KZ Börgermoor organized a circus meeting (" Circus Konzentrazani") for their Mitgefangenen and the SS-Bewacher. Only after arguments within the KZ-prisoners a majority implemented the conception. One of the arguments was, one must the SS demonstrate that one had not been broken despite tortures. To the lock of the presentations the song was " The Moorsoldaten" for the first time sung. The composer Rudi Goguel described the premiere later as follows: " Sixteen the singers, predominantly members of the Solinger worker singing association, marched in its green police uniforms (our prisoner clothes at that time) with geschulterten spades into the arena, I at the point in blue training suit with a broken off Spatenstiel as baton. We sang, and with the second Strophe those already began to along-hum nearly 1000 prisoners the Refrain. From Strophe to Strophe the Refrain increased, and with the last Strophe also the SS-people, which had appeared with their commanders, sang in-pregnant with us also, obviously, because them " themselves as; Moorsoldaten" felt responded. With the words ". Then ziehn the moorland soldiers no more with the spades in the Moor" sixteen the singers the spades pushed into the sand and marched from the arena, which spades leave, now, in the moorland earth being, when Grabkreuze wirkten." Already two days later the song was forbidden by the camp line. On copies it was out-smuggled nevertheless from the camp. Thus the Mülheimer Otto Gaudig, which worked as a shoemaker in the KZ Börgermoor, had e.g. inserted the song sheet between sole and fire sole, in order to be able to bring it out surely from the camp. The first version of Esser/long-hope after the music Eisler worked on by Goguel 1935 for the singer Ernst Busch.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Peat Bog Soldiers
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 19 Mar 14 - 02:04 AM

The Mitchell Trio's intro to the song:

In the early 1930's, the concentration camps of Germany began filling up with hundreds, then thousands, then hundreds of thousands of Hitler's political enemies. These were the men who resisted the Nazi tyranny until they had to be destroyed. But they always dreamed of freedom, if not for themselves, but been for their children.

From album Violets of Dawn, 1966


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