Hanns Eisler: Music

Bullet Introduction to Eisler's music
Bullet Return to the Virtual Tour

Ballad of the Welfare System RealAudio Buy
Kurt Tucholsky. Sung by Ernst Busch.

Kurt Tucholsky
Kurt Tucholsky
Kurt Tucholsky was a leading left-wing journalist and satirist in the Weimar Republic. Editor with Carl von Ossietzky of the muckraking Die Weltbühne (The World Stage), he was a constant thorn in the side of the powerful. Hunted by the Nazis, Tucholsky escaped to Sweden where he committed suicide in 1935. Ossietzky was was awarded the Nobel prize for literature while a prisoner of the Nazis; he died of tuberculosis in 1938 after years of mistreatment. Eisler wrote the music for this song in 1930; in this recording from the early 30s it is performed by the legendary actor and singer, Ernst Busch. In the 1950s, Eisler completed a cycle of Tucholsky Songs at Busch's request.

Look! There stands the welfare home
of an industrial company group;
In the morning there is oatmeal
in the evening left-over soup.
And the workers are also allowed in the park.

Good, that is the penny.
But where is the mark?
Good, that is the penny.
But where is the mark?

They give you their charity
with pious Christian prayers.
They look after the unwed young mother,
for they need every prole they can get.
They'll also supply the coffin when he dies.

Good, that is the penny....

The mark has thousands and thousands of times
filled up foreign pockets;
The dividends after much debate
are allocated by the board of directors.
For you the broth, for them the mark.
For you the penny, for them the mark.

Don't fall for this swindel!
They owe you more than they give.
They owe you everything: The land,
the mountains and the factories.
They owe you happiness and life.
Take what you fight for. Don't take their lies.
Think about your class! And be tough!
For you, for you the penny! For you, for you the mark!
For you, for you the penny! For you, for you the mark!

Music sample © 1997 Edition Barbarossa. Translation by Andy Lang.

Tour   Top

Return to Home Page Return to Eisler Home Page