Wir sind die Moorsoldaten

“Wir sind die Moorsoldaten
und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor. Wir sind die Moorsoldaten und ziehen mit dem Spaten ins Moor.”

Like so many work songs, the steady tread of this song fits the conditions in which it was created.  Singing keeps people’s spirits up in hard times, when they can’t otherwise express themselves. It also serves to keep a group together doing repetitive actions in hard communal situations. The Peat Bog Song was created in a concentration camp, by Socialist and communist prisoners of the Nazis, doing hard labour, digging peat in the bogs of North Germany in the winter of 1933.  Think of Wozzeck gathering willow sticks outside his garrison, his mind slowly disintegrating. The song has been taken up by the oppressed all over the world.  Below, Ernst Busch sings. Busch narrowly missed being grabbed by the Nazis at the border. This version of the song was written by Hanns Eisler when the two men met up in London in 1935.  Busch went on to Spain and joined the International Brigade. Eisler went to Hollywood but was hounded out by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Below, Busch’s recording of the Eisler version,

Original Source: Wir sind die Moorsoldaten

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