Allemagne, Berlin, BPK
The Second World War : 1939-1945
Die Moorsoldaten, song of the marshes
Die Moorsoldaten can be considered as one of the first songs of concentration camps and resistance.
The Börgermoor concentration camp, located at Frise, in the north west of Germany , was opened in June 1933 by the Nazi regime. Rudi Goguel and Herbert Kirmsze, who were interned in the camp the following year, composed the music of this absolutely grim, heart-rending song, Die Moorsoldaten. The German lyrics were written by Johan Esser and Wolfgang Langhoff while Hans Eisler made an adaptation that was sung by the antifascist singer Ernst Buch.
Though this piece is entirely filled with sadness, its sublime final crescendo heralds a layer of hope to veneer the prevailing agony. It is thus a resistance song, aimed at stimulating courage to overcome despair and the idea of giving up amidst the daily horrors and untold misery that characterized life in concentration camps, where men were condemned to live by an inhuman regime.
The French version, entitled le Chant des marais (song of the marshes), was written a few years later, and was sung in some World War II concentration camps, notably in the Dachau camp.