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Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)

Marion 29 Apr 03 - 03:14 PM
michaelr 29 Apr 03 - 03:23 PM
alanabit 29 Apr 03 - 03:29 PM
Wolfgang 29 Apr 03 - 04:13 PM
MMario 29 Apr 03 - 04:19 PM
Wolfgang 29 Apr 03 - 04:33 PM
GUEST 29 Apr 03 - 04:34 PM
MMario 29 Apr 03 - 04:39 PM
Wolfgang 29 Apr 03 - 05:55 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 29 Apr 03 - 07:18 PM
Marion 30 Apr 03 - 10:13 AM
Wolfgang 30 Apr 03 - 11:12 AM
Marion 30 Apr 03 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Thank you 24 Jan 11 - 03:49 PM
Micca 24 Jan 11 - 04:59 PM
Susanne (skw) 26 Jan 11 - 04:30 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Marion
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:14 PM

Hello all. I was recently at the Dachau Camp Memorial and copied down a song that was exhibited in the museum, in a section titled "Self-Assertion, Solidarity, Resistance". It was written in 1938 by two prisoners, Jura Soyfer (lyrics) and Herbert Zipper (music). It begins in Gm then switches to G halfway through.

Would someone be so kind as to translate, and to correct any spellings I may have miscopied? I remember what parts of it mean, but not all.

Marion


Dachau-Lied

Stachel draht, mit Tod geladen ist um unsre welt gespannt
Drauf ein Himmel ohne Gnaden sendet Frost und Sonnenbrand.
Fern von uns sind alle Freuden fern die Helmat, fern die Frau'n
Wenn wir stumm zur Arbeit schreiten, Tausende im Mordengraun.
Doch wir haben die Losung von Dachau gelernt un wurden stahlhart dabei.
Sei ein Mann, Kamerad, blieb ein Mensch, Kamerad,
Mach ganze Arbeit pack an, Kamerad
Denn Arbeit, Arbeit macht frei!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:23 PM

Dachau Song

Barbed wire fraught with death surrounds our world
On which a merciless heaven visits frost and sunburn.
Far from us are all joys, far our home, far the women
When mute we march to work, thousands in the gray dawn.
But we learned the Dachau motto and it made us hard as steel.
Be a man, comrade, remain human, comrade
Do good work, pitch in, comrade
Because work, work will make you free!

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: alanabit
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 03:29 PM

That was quick Michael. I recall that when Marion showed it to us, Ina and I both thought it was more interesting because of the circumstances that bore it than because it was a particularly good song. It is worth keeping a record of though. I doubt that a Kz would have inspired many of us to great lyrical achievement.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 04:13 PM

A fine translation. Only one comment from me: 'Kamerad' and 'comrade' have obviously the same root, but both words have by now taken a slightly different route.

Whereas 'comrade' can have a socialist/communist meaning (and could be understood in this way in the concentration camp context) the German 'Kamerad' is completely free of that association. It is more neutral and in the context of this verse means something like 'pal'.

Some typos are corrected below:

Stacheldraht, mit Tod geladen, ist um unsre Welt gespannt
Drauf ein Himmel ohne Gnaden sendet Frost und Sonnenbrand.
Fern von uns sind alle Freuden fern die Heimat, fern die Frau'n
Wenn wir stumm zur Arbeit schreiten, Tausende im Morgengraun.
Doch wir haben die Losung von Dachau gelernt und wurden stahlhart dabei.
Sei ein Mann, Kamerad, blieb ein Mensch, Kamerad,
Mach ganze Arbeit pack an, Kamerad
Denn Arbeit, Arbeit macht frei!

One of these typos is very unfortunate, namely 'Mordengraun' for it changes the sense in a way which gave me the chills in this context. 'Morgen' is 'morning', 'Morden' is 'murder'. 'Graun' could be 'dawn' or, in some dialects, 'horror'. So the obvious typo made 'murdering horror' when what was meant (and has been translated by Michael adequately) was 'morning dawn'.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: MMario
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 04:19 PM

wolfgang - I know I'm looking at a translation - but:

Dachau/murdering horror makes SENSE to me...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 04:33 PM

Yes, MMario, it makes a lot of sense, but it wasn't meant in that line. Too awkward constructed language in that poem and not fitting smoothly in the sentence.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 04:34 PM

Is 1938 the correct date? Were there prisoners in Dachau then?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: MMario
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 04:39 PM

1933 established from what I can find.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 05:55 PM

the other three verses:

2. Vor der Mündung der Gewehre
leben wir bei Tag und Nacht.
Leben wird uns hier zu Lehre,
schwerer als wir's je gedacht.
Keiner mehr zählt Tag' und Wochen,
mancher schon die Jahre nicht.
Und so viele sind zerbrochen
und verloren ihr Gesicht.

Gitarre/Gesang Chor

3. Schlepp den Stein und zieh den Wagen,
keine Last sei dir zu schwer.
Der du warst in fernen Tagen,
bist du heut' schon längst nicht mehr.
Stich den Spaten in die Erde,
grab dein Mitleid tief hinein,
und im eig'nen Schweiße werde
selber du zu Stahl und Stein.

Gitarrre/Gesang (nicht verf.) CHOR

4. Einst wird die Sirene künden;
auf zum letzten Zählappell.
Draußen dann, wo wir uns finden
bist du, Kamerad zur Stell'.
Hell wird uns die Freiheit lachen,
vorwärts geht's mit frischem Mut.
Und die Arbeit, die wir machen,
diese Arbeit, sie wird gut.

Gitarre/Gesang

listen to the tune

Wolfgang Chor


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 29 Apr 03 - 07:18 PM

The song "Peat Bog Soldiers" which is heard fairly frequently in Ireland (the Black Family did an excellent recording of it, and I've seen it in various songbooks) is reputed to have been written by two Reich concentration camp inmates, and its melody fits the scansion of the German lines above; though it begins in the minor but moves up into the relative major halfway through (so instead of going from G minor to G major, it goes from G minor to Bb major). The words (below) are obviously not a direct translation, but it seems as though there's probably some kind of connection, given the authorship and the rhythmic match.


THE PEAT BOG SOLDIERS

Not a bird sings out to cheer us
Heath and bog are everywhere
Not a living soul comes near us
Only dead trees, gaunt and bare

We are the peat bog 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 block our view

We are the peat bog soldiers
Marching with our spades
To the moor


But for us no sorrows voicing
Winter will in time be past
One day we shall rise rejoicing
Homeland, homeland mine at last

Then will the peat bog soldiers
Be marching with our spades
No more


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Marion
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 10:13 AM

Thanks for the translation, correction, and more verses.

So what do the other verses mean?

Cheers, Marion


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 11:12 AM

roughly, to get the idea:

2. Day and night we live in the front of the barrels of guns.
Life becomes an apprenticeship harder than we ever could think of.
No one counts days and weeks any longer, some even have stopped counting the years.
And many are broken and have lost their faces.

3. Carry the stone and pull the cart, no weight be too heavy for you.
The one you once were you have stopped being long ago.
Dig the spade in the soil, bury your (self)pity deep in there,
and in your own sweat turn yourself to steel and stone.

4. Some day the siren will call for the last roll-call.
Out there, where we'll find us, you'll be seen too, pal.
Freedom will smile on us brightly, forward we'll go with new courage.
And the work we'll do, this work will be good.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Marion
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 11:39 AM

Thank you very much, Wolfgang.

Marion


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: GUEST,Thank you
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 03:49 PM

Thank you everyone who contributed to this thread. I know this thread was like 8 years ago, but it ws extremely helpful to me. I am a musician and I visited Dachau about 9 years ago. I was just digging thru pictures of that Euorpe trip and stumbled upon a picture i took at the museum if the sheet music for Dachau Lied but it is not very good.

I very much want to educator people by using this song, mixed with some contemporary elements to make it palatable for people today so that they too can be transported and feel at least a fraction of this original's power.

Thank you again for everyone's great contributions here. I am so grateful to have found this,

andi lynn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German please)
From: Micca
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 04:59 PM

I visited Dachau with afriend years ago I had read extensively about the historical period But I learned 2 things I had not known during that visit .
1 Hitler became Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933 The camp was set up or started in March 1933, which suggests plans were in hand already.
2 after the war inmates that had lost their familys and there homes due to the Iron Curtain and the demolition of the Ghettos were allowed to stay on in the camp as long as they wanted, The last inmate didnt move out until 1964!!!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Dachau Song (trans. from German pleas
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 04:30 PM

Micca, your dates are correct. But at first, Dachau was not a death camp like the ones set up in Poland from 1941 on, but was meant to house Communists, Social Democrats and people opposed to the regime in general. Mind you, there were enough of them who did not survive the experience! But a few did, and some amazingly re-entered politics after the Nazi era to help rebuild Germany.


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