Moorsoldaten, Die (Peat-Bog Soldiers)
DESCRIPTION: German: The prisoners, trapped in a concentration camp, carry their spades to work in the moors and bogs. There is no escape; they can only keep working. But the winter (of despair) will eventually end, and they can reclaim their corrupted homeland
AUTHOR: unknown (see notes)
EARLIEST DATE: 1933 (reported written that summer at Borgermoor)
KEYWORDS: war prisoner hardtimes abuse political foreignlanguage
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Scott-BoA, pp. 354-355, "Die Moorsoldaten (Peat-Bog Soldiers)" (2 texts (1 English, 1 German), 1 tune)
Fireside, p. 210 "The Peat-Bog Soldiers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 307, "Peat Bog Soldiers" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Shoshana Kalisch with Barbara Meister, _Yes, We Sang!: Songs of the Ghettos and Concentration Camps_, Harper & Row, 1985, pp. 92-96, "Moorsoldten / Peat Bog Soldiers" (1 German text plus the "Peat Bog Solders" translation, 1 tune)
NOTES [106 words]: This is properly a German folksong, but the English translation has become so popular in revival circles that it probably belongs here.
Most sources list this as anonymous, but Kalisch says the German words are be "Esser," adapted by Wolfgang Langhoff, and the music by Rudi Goguel.
Klaisch, p. 92, claims that it was the "first song ever written in a Nazi concentration camp" (Borgermoor). That strikes me as unlikely, but it is very probably the most popular. Kalisch adds that some people had a false impression that it came from the Spanish Civil War, because it was recorded by Ernst Busch who fought in the International Brigade. - RBW
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