Hanns Eisler: Music

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Solidarity Song RealAudio Buy
Bertolt Brecht. Sung by Ernst Busch.

S-Bahn scene from Kuhle Wampe
Conversation in an S-Bahn train from the film Kuhle Wampe.
Solidaritätslied, one of the most famous Kampflieder towards the end of the Weimar Republic, became an instant hit after it was introduced by singer/actor Ernst Busch in the 1931 film Kuhle Wampe: or Who Owns the World? Set in the working-class shantytown of Kuhle Wampe outside Berlin, the movie used a cast of thousands recruited primarily from Communist workers' choirs, agitprop theater groups and sports clubs. The movie was promptly banned by the Prussian government but the song was popularized in demonstrations and cabarets.

Forward, without forgetting
Where our strength can be seen now to be!
When starving or when eating
Forward, not forgetting
Our solidarity!

Peoples of the world, together
Join to serve the common cause!
So it feeds us all for ever
See to it that it's now yours.


Black or white or brown or yellow
Leave your old disputes behind.
Once you're talking with your fellow
Men, you'll soon be of one mind.


If you want to make this certain
We'll need you and your support.
It's yourselves you'll be deserting
If you rat on your own sort.


All the gang of those who rule us
Hope our quarrels never stop
Helping them to split and fool us
So they can remain on top.


Workers of the world, uniting
That's the way to lose your chains.
Mighty regiments are fighting
That no tyranny remains!

Forward, without forgetting
Till the concrete question is hurled
When starving or when eating:
Whose tomorrow is tomorrow?
And whose world is the world?

Music sample © 1997 BMG Berlin Musik GmbH. Translation by John Willett in Bertolt Brecht: Poems 1913-1956 © 1979 Methuen London Ltd.

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