The ‘Börgermoorlied’ (Song of Börgermoor), also known as the ‘Lagerlied von Börgermoor’ (Camp Song of Börgermoor) is not just one of the first songs to have been created within a concentration camp: it is the most famous of all of them.  Outside of Börgermoor, this concentration camp anthem was known under various names: ‘Moorsoldatenlied’, ‘Lied der Moorsoldaten’, ‘Die Moorsoldaten’, or after the beginning of the refrain ‘Wir sind die Moorsoldaten’ (We are the Moor Soldiers). In its English version it became famous as the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ and in French it is well known as ‘Le Chant des Marais’.

Origins and Premiere

The ‘Song of Börgermoor’ was created in 1933 in Börgermoor.  Contrary to popular belief, the song’s creation was neither spontaneous nor collective.  Rather, as Rudi Goguel says, it was a ‘conscious protest song of the resistance against their oppressors.’  The lyrics were written by the proletarian poet Johannes Esser, a miner from the Ruhr.  The actor and director Wolfgang Langhoff then rewrote some of the passages and added to the refrain.  Finally, the sales clerk Rudi Goguel composed the melody.  Langhoff later wrote an account of his time at Börgermoor titled Die Moorsoldaten (’The Moor Soldiers’).  Langhoff exaggerated some passages for dramatic effect and kept the names of prisoners still incarcerated anonymous.  All of this, of course, added to the legendary status of the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’  In his account, Langhoff suggests that the original idea for creating the song came from him.  He approached Esser, saying:

Couldn’t you write a song that we could all sing together in the camp?  See, it can’t be a song that the SS could ever ban.  It should relate to our camp and to our families back home.  You know, like a song from home, but not so kitschy like ‘I would love to go back home.’ ‘Sure, I could do something like that,’ the comrade carefully responded. ’I will set myself to it and then bring the lyrics to you in your barracks within the week.’

After Langhoff had edited the lyrics, he gave the task of composing an appropriate melody to the musically experienced Goguel.  Goguel knew Langhoff from before his imprisonment.  Langhoff had inspired him in 1930 to join the Communist Party and he saw Langhoff as a model for his work with the revolutionary communist union.  Goguel even faked an injury so that he could reflect on how best to set the lyrics to music.  This ‘injury’ provided him the necessary quiet during the hectic daily routine of the camp.  In his own words, he wrote the song ‘in strictest secrecy’ over the course of his ‘intentional three-day stay at the prisoner hospital.’  In just two nights, he wrote the music in four-parts for male choir on paper smuggled into the camp, and wrote the melody with the help of a guitar provided by some of the other prisoners.  The finished song was secretly rehearsed with the workers singing in the washroom of block eight.  They could only sing softly, however, and fellow prisoners had to stand on lookout, warning of any approaching SS guards.

About two weeks after the composition was finished, the song was premiered on 27 August 1933 as part of the ‘Circus Konzentrazani.’  Goguel’s described it as follows:

The sixteen singers, mostly members of the Solinger Worker’s Singing Club, marched into the arena with their green police uniforms (our prison outfits at the time) and their spades on their shoulders.  I was in the front in a blue tracksuit and used the broken-off handle of a spade as a baton.  We started singing and by the second verse almost all of the 1,000 prisoners were singing along to the refrain.  With every verse, the refrain grew stronger and by the final verse even the SS, who had come along with their commandant, were singing. It seems they felt themselves to be ‘moor soldiers’ as well.’  At the words ‘then the moor soldiers will no longer travel with spade into the moor,’ the sixteen singers stuck their spades in the sand and marched out of the arena.  They left their spades behind, extending from the ground like crosses in a graveyard.

The various versions that we have of the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ necessitate a critical examination of the source materials.  For example, in the original version, the third verse was: ‘In the morning the work columns travel / into the moor to work like slaves / to dig while the sun burns down, / silently, stubbornly, without pay.’  Langhoff changed these lines with Esser’s agreement.  He feared that with their direct and accusatory tone the SS leadership would have called off the upcoming circus performance.  We can also tell that Langhoff’s version of the second verse (‘far away from any joy’) and the third verse (‘we dig while the sun burns down on us’) is different from the version usually cited as the original.  The version often cited as the original comes from early handwritten copies that were later published in 1962 as part of collection of camp songs edited by Inge Lammel and Günter Hofmeyer.  Because before 1945 the song was distributed by word of mouth or handwritten copies, there were often errors in the lyrics and melody, especially when the person transcribing did not have a musical background or know how to write notes.  Thus even in the 1933 version produced in Börgermoor with lyrics, music and illustrations often created by the graphic artist Hanns (Jean) Kralik, one finds different scales for the song.  However since B minor dominates, this most likely would have been the original key.

Retention despite Prohibition

According to Langhoff, both prisoners and the SS were deeply affected by the song at its premiere.  He writes, ‘I saw the commandant.  He sat there with his head facing downwards and swept his foot across the ground.  The SS was silent and still.  I saw the comrades and many of them were crying.’  Many guards became contemplative after hearing the song.  They related it to their own situation, to their never-changing camp routine, the boring guard duty, the difficult drills, the strict exercises, and the isolation of the camp in the desolate landscape of Emsland.  Because the song did not posses any explicit or direct political component, even the guards could identify with some parts of it.  Some of the SS asked for a copy of the song and the most affable amongst them even received one.  Other guards felt provoked by the song, which led to some confrontations between them and the guards who had reacted positively.

In the beginning, the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ was sung daily, though soon after its premiere the commandant banned it.  Yet we cannot be entirely certain exactly when he issued the ban.  Wolfgang Langhoff and Karl Schabrod, for example, stated that it happened two days after the premiere, on Tuesday, 29 August 1933.  Still, the prisoners retained it as a concentrated expression of their will to resist and as a symbol of their solidarity.  They also took various steps to make sure that the song became known throughout the camp.  Schabrod writes: ‘We wrote it down numerous times.  In the woodworking shop we cut off pieces of wood and wrote the verses on them, on these pieces of wood.’

The song was also sung secretly in Börgermoor.  This was done by prisoners to express their protest and to cheer each other up, or to give the newcomers a friendly greeting.  In addition, it was regularly sung as the finale to various cultural events.  According to Junge, this was done to ‘raise the morale of the fighters.’  It was further heard at farewell parties for released prisoners or as a festive end to the so-called ‘lecture evenings.’  Singing it in public was a different matter.  Junge says that one day the prisoners began singing it to let the commandant know that the SS had held them in the moor longer than ordered.

We gathered at the place where he [the commandant] stayed and we began to sing the song of the moor.  This time we sang the melody even stronger.  The commandant woke up at once, came out and started to yell at us.  Then the SS started beating us.

Lyrics and Melody

Even at its first public performance, then, the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ was already deeply affecting its listeners.  Though it is an accessible song, the music and the lyrics do contain some surprises.  It describes the camp’s surroundings from the perspective of the prisoners.  It speaks of the harshness and monotony of land cultivation with only simple tools – one of the most strenuous forms of forced labour.  It describes the never-changing daily routine, the difficult conditions of imprisonment, and the painful longing for family and freedom.  The three notes that are repeated at the beginning stand for the desolateness of the camp.  According to the composer, they are intended to ‘recreate the bleakness of the moor and the difficult situation in which the ‘moor soldiers’ had to live.’  By contrast, the 4/4 beat brings to mind the marching of the workers and as a rhythmic stylistic means reaffirms the idea of ‘soldiers.’  The former prisoner Heinz Junge says that the melody is ‘not sad, but sluggish.’  The song, whose final verse is sung more quickly than the others, was ‘not meant for marching.’  In measures one and two as well as five and six, the melody is set two notes higher than in the rest, but is otherwise the same.  This structure can also be found in folk songs.

The focus of the song’s lyrics is the ‘peat bog soldiers,’ as the prisoners proudly called themselves.  The name comes from the fact that the spades they carried on their shoulders looked like rifles.  This designation is a demonstration of the prisoners’ strength and it is this that lends the song its programmatic character.  The lyrics are descriptive and easy to follow and express the situation of the prisoners in their own simple language.  They do contain some coded expressions (‘moor soldiers,’ ‘hidden away,’ ‘it cannot be winter forever’), but it is not truly revolutionary.  Nevertheless, the song’s text articulates an accusation against the Nazi regime.  This aspect can only be fully appreciated through understanding of the song’s context.  Even the last stanza can be understood in multiple ways.  It could mean either the prisoners’ release from the camp or Germany’s release from Hitler.  For the former Börgermoor prisoner Karl Schabrod, ‘It was a song of consolation, a consolation and fight song and a song of camaraderie.’  Junge emphasized the significance of the song for the prisoner community:  ‘This song was our camp song, even if its politics are not as explicit as later songs.  It still was the first song and it became the real concentration camp song.’

Goguel  intentionally designed the refrain to be defiant as a means of creating musical contrast.  It begins with a jump of a sixth that has an emotional and dramatic effect.  A variation in the lyrics and music in the last refrain serves to express the certitude that freedom will eventually come (something entirely realistic at this point) and that the fight against the Nazis will continue.  Instead of ‘We are the peat bog soldiers / and travel spade in hand / into the moor,’ in the final refrain it is: ‘Then the peat bog soldiers / no longer travel spade in hand / into the moor.’  The song ends in an optimistic major resolution, resisting falling back into the minor key of the fundamental motif otherwise held steadily throughout.  This simple but effective variation dramatically symbolizes the protest, the will to survive, and the resistance of the political prisoners.  Through this modulation between the minor and parallel major scale, the song appears simultaneously melancholic and hopeful.  Indeed, by the finale it is demanding, even defiant.  This quality was amplified when sung by the prisoners through their emphasis on the word ‘no.’ They did this, for example, by stamping their feet.  Heinz Junge notes:  ‘Their stomping reverberated on the wooden floorboards of the barracks.  This stomping on the boards was also common in other camps.’

How it Spread

Wolfgang Langhoff estimates that ‘hundreds of copies’ - handwritten copies or song sheets - of the ‘Börgermoorlied’ (Song of Börgermoor), better known as the ‘Moorsoldatenlied’ (‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’) were secretly smuggled to the outside world shortly after its premiere by inmates and even some SS guards.  Released prisoners also relayed the story of the song to others in the Ruhr area.  Prisoner transfers spread the song still further to other camps and detention centers.

In most of the new generation concentration camps, those built after 1936, the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ became known as a type of anthem for the political prisoners.  Some of the ‘moor soldiers’ brought ‘their’ song to other camps, most notably Sachsenhausen, where it was sung not only by the prisoners but also by the SS.  It eventually found its way into numerous handwritten concentration camp song books.  Even as late as 1944, Thomas Geve could learn of the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ in Auschwitz.  Despite the drastic changes to the concentration camp system in the intervening period, Geve and his comrades took up this old camp song because its message had remained salient.  In doing so, they sought to create a conscious bridge to the older concentration camps.  ‘Ten years ago,’ Geve wrote,

this emotional song of isolated, forgotten German antifascists was sung in the desolated moor camps along the Ems river.  Now 400 youthful voices from all across Europe give it new life.

Although the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ came from the communists, it was also sung by other groups of prisoners.  We have documented evidence of variations of the song being produced in Buchenwald, Neuengamme, Ravensbrück, and Sachsenhausen.  In Sachsenhausen, Aleksander Kulisiewicz created a Polish contrafact of the song, calling it ‘Hymn’ (meaning either ‘anthem’ or ‘hymn’).  Beyond this, the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ influenced other camp songs in their formal, melodic, and rhythmic elements.

As the most popular German concentration camp song, it was also heard in other Nazi camps and detention centers, thereby developing into a prototype for future camp songs.  These later songs were either composed with entirely new music or performed as a variation on the original.   Collectively known as ‘Moorlieder’ (moor songs), they comprise a range of songs produced in the moor camps of the Ems area.  These camps were later transformed into Nazi penal camps and P.O.W. camps.  In terms of subject matter, the ‘moor songs’ are often quite similar to the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers.’ They similarly describe camp daily life and the fate of the prisoners.  Numerous examples of these were heard in later concentration camps because the prisoners of the penal camps were often sent to a concentration camp after their release.  Another textual variant on the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers,’ which was also heard in the French internment camps at Gurs and St. Cyprien, comes from Rieucros in March 1940:  ‘All around gray hills act as chains / blocking our visions of longing. / Freedom, you are lost for us, / barbed wire holds us back’ (refrain and composer unknown).

Hanns Eisler’s Arrangement of the Song

Forced into exile in 1933, the composer Hanns Eisler was introduced to the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ during a stay in London.  He was making records in a studio with Ernst Busch, a fellow exile and singer of proletarian songs.  ‘In January 1935,’ writes Busch,

a man brought us this song to London. This man said that he had somehow managed to get out of Börgermoor.  He gave us the lyrics and tried to sing the melody for us as it had been sung by the concentration camp prisoners.

However, as it later turned out, the man in question was not a former ‘moor soldier’, but a German police informant.  He had to sing the song over and over again, but it was never quite right, so Eisler picked out a melody himself on the piano. Busch remembers that it was not only the incomplete melody that made he and Eisler decide to make some changes: ‘For us the old melody was too sad.  Since then, nothing has been done to Eisler’s arrangement.  Even today one hears our arrangement.’  Eisler himself later said that he thought that this song was created as a type of ‘collective proletarian work’ on the march to the moor.  He wrote:

Why did five thousand proletarians, who did not have time for the study of poetry or music, decide to create this song? […]  For us, as revolutionaries, the enormous power of a unified community of class-conscious proletarians, even in terms of culture, is not surprising!

Despite such respect, Eisler did write new music for this song that he counted amongst ‘the most beautiful revolutionary songs of the international workers’ movement.’  Even though the original melody was still recognizable, for Rudi Goguel, the song ‘has been changed and no longer exactly expresses our original intentions.’  Eisler quickened the pace of the song to 2/4 time and made other changes in rhythm.  He also replaced the characteristic repetition of notes at the beginning with a jump of a fourth.  He wrongly saw in this change an homage to songs of the 16th and 17th century, in particular to the song ‘Horch, Kind, horch, wie der Sturmwind weht’ (’Listen, child, listen to the blowing of the storm’).  This song was in fact written much later.  The lyrics are by Ricarda Huch and the melody was added during the Jugendbewegung (Youth Movement) in Germany.  In the minor-major variation of Goguel’s refrain, Eisler also inferred an allusion to the Russian funeral march.  His own refrain, however, draws upon Georg Herwegh’s riding song ‘Die bange Nacht ist nun herum’ (‘The fearful night is now over’) from 1841.  Eisler’s mistaken or inaccurate understanding of the song greatly contributed to its ideological transformation into a myth.  This myth, continuing into the present, has separated the song from its original meaning.

International Fame

In the Nazi camps and detention centers, singing of the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ often took place secretly.  But depending on the disposition of the local commandant or the sentimentality of individual guards, it was also tolerated or even permitted to be performed in larger groups. Outside the barbed wire and camp walls, the song was strictly prohibited in Germany.  The situation was different for those living in foreign countries, where German exiles could distribute it without any hindrances.  Indeed, just a few weeks after its premiere, the song was apparently broadcast by Radio Moscow.  Erich Mirek, a former inmate at Oranienburg, passed it along to members of the defunct agitprop group ‘Rotes Sprachrohr’ (‘Red Megaphone’) as well as to other exiles in Prague.  By 1934 the lyrics had been published in various press organs.  Then, on March 8, 1935 a facsimile of a handwritten version from Börgermoor was published in the Prague edition of the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (Workers’ Illustrated Newspaper).  Radio Prague also broadcast a vocal version of the song.  In the same year, Wolfgang Langhoff’s written account of his time Börgermoor was published in Zurich as Die Moorsoldaten. 13 Monate Konzentrationslager. Unpolitscher Tatsachenbericht (The Moor Soldiers: 13 Months in a Concentration Camp.  A Nonpolitical Report of the Facts).  His account included detailed descriptions of the performance of the ‘Zircus Konzentrazani’ and of the origins and world premiere of the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers.’  It also  included a reproduction of the lyrics and melody.  In April 1935, the St. Galler Tagblatt (The St. Gallen daily) reported that Langhoff’s book had reached its eight printing in seven weeks.  In the following years, his account was translated into Danish, Dutch, English, French, Swedish, and Czech. 

Of course the song became world famous in the version by Hanns Eisler. His arrangement became so popular that it was even able to overtake Rudi Goguel’s original in many of the Nazi camps.  For Goguel the song developed outside of Germany into a ‘fight and protest song of a public character.’  Eisler’s version made its official debut at the first International Worker’s Music Olympics in 1935 in Strasburg, where it was sung by Ernst Busch.  Eisler himself brought his arrangement of this song to America, where he gave a benefit concert for the victims of Nazi crimes in the same year.  Busch bears much of the credit for the international popularity of Eisler’s version.  He traveled in 1935 from the Netherlands to the Soviet Union, where he made the first recordings of this song.  In addition, Busch sang it quite often on the radio and at concerts.  He also performed a version of it in Gustav von Wagenheim’s film Kämpfer (Fighters).  The ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ was next translated into Russian and then published in two separate Russian songbooks.  It eventually made its way to Spain in 1937, moreover, through Busch’s actions as a singer in the Spanish Civil War, rather than as a fighter as is often maintained.  Busch’s performances and the song books he published there made the song part of the standard musical repertoire of the international brigades.  It was broadcast through the international radio station 29.8, centered in Barcelona, and then further distributed through Busch’s recordings in 1937 in Barcelona.  Later reprinted in America, these recordings are today very famous, though they only contain verses 1, 5, and 6.  After leaving Spain, Busch founded a singing club in Antwerp.   It is likely that he performed the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ there as well.  In 1939, Busch once again recorded the song, this time in Paris. 

It was only during the Spanish Civil War that this song became internationally known.  From that point on, it could be heard in even more languages.  According to Goguel, the song quickly grew ‘into a symbol of the international solidarity against fascism.’  As ‘Le Chant des Marais’ it was popular in France, not only in the résistance.  The African American singer Paul Robeson, who likewise sang for the international brigades, made the song popular in the US as the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers.’  In the meantime, the song was once again brought back to the Nazi camps from abroad.  Soldiers of the Spanish Civil war, who ended up in the camps - often their second stint – brought Eisler’s adaptation back with them.

The Song’s Distribution after 1945

After 1945, most of the concentration camp songs were forgotten or, in the best case scenario, continued to be sung by a few surviving prisoners.  The ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers,’ on the other hand, was granted new life as a song of resistance that could be used for various political ends.  In East Germany, it became a musical ‘standard of anti-fascism.’  It became part of the official musical repertoire, taught in school and sung on state occasions.  It was also academically researched as part of the interest in workers’ songs.  In Eisler’s version, the song served to strengthen the myth of the antifascist origins of socialism.  It did so by enabling the East German government to claim an unbroken cultural chain between the communist resistance and the contemporary socialist government.

Because of the political implications of the song, West German citizens were often distrustful or even scornful of the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ after 1945.  That is, if they had heard of it at all.  In West Germany, it was primarily maintained by surviving antifascists and former prisoners.  After the liberation of the camps, the song was used to memorialise murdered comrades.  Later it was once again sung at meetings of former prisoners and is still sung today as a regular part of the memorial rituals held at former concentration camps.  In the late 1960s as part of the folk revival, it found new, younger listeners.  In it, they saw a type of alternative folk song.   The English language version enjoyed continued popularity, however.  Most likely in deference to Busch’s interpretation, English versions include only the first, fifth, and sixth verses.   Its popularity in the English-speaking world was further boosted through the folk revival and civil rights movement in the US, specifically when it was recorded by Pete Seeger, ‘father’ of the folk revival movement. In West Germany into the late 1970s, the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ was largely absent from school or song books, though currently one can find it in school projects, exhibitions, as well as in some films and websites.

New Performances of the Song

In the post-war period, the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ served different cultural and political ends.  Because of such variability, it was constantly being re-written and re-recorded (it has been recorded around 170 times).  These have been collected by the Documentary and Informational Centre of the former Emsland camps in Pappenburg (  The collection ranges from recordings with large orchestral accompaniments from East Germany, Austria, and France to almost happy songs you can clap along to from West Germany.  Arrangements of the song can be found in any number of styles: from classical to jazz, or from folk to rock and punk.  This variety shows that even after 70 years the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ is still meaningful.  Of course, former ‘moor soldiers’ like Heinz Junge do not always agree with the newer interpretations:

It is shocking for us, the former prisoners, when we hear the moor song sung with a joyous melody. […]  When you are emotionally attached to something, rather than just out of habit, you get upset when it is desecrated.


Ausländer, Fietje / Brandt, Susanne / Fackler, Guido: Das Lied der Moorsoldaten 1933 bis 2000. Bearbeitungen – Nutzungen – Nachwirkungen. Ed. by Dokumentations- und Informationszentrum (DIZ) Emslandlager, Papenburg, in cooperation with Stiftung Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv, Frankfurt a.M. and Potsdam-Babelsberg. Papenburg: DIZ Emslandlager, 2002 (, – Double-cd-set with different musical interpretations of the ’Song of the The Peat Bog Soldiers’ from 1937 until 1999 and booklet, where this essay is published in full length.

Ausländer, Fietje / Brandt, Susanne / Fackler, Guido: „O Bittre Zeit“. Lagerlieder 1933 bis 1945. Ed. by Dokumentations- und Informationszentrum (DIZ) Emslandlager, Papenburg, in cooperation with musik archive of Akademie der Künste, Berlin, and Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv (DRA), Potsdam-Babelsberg/Wiesbaden. Papenburg: DIZ Emslandlager, 2006 (, – 3-cd-collection with recordings of the „Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’, Aleksander Kulisiewicz „Hymn’ and different ’moor songs.

Bentley, Eric: The Peat Bog Soldiers. In: Sing Out. The Folk Song Magazine (USA) 16 (1966), Nr. 4/September, S. 37-39.Fackler, Guido: „Des Lagers Stimme’ – Musik im KZ. Alltag und Häftlingskultur in den Konzentrationslagern 1933 bis 1936. Mit einer Darstellung der weiteren Entwicklung bis 1945 und einer Biblio-/Mediographie (DIZ-Schriften, Bd. 11). Bremen: Edition Temmen, 2000, 214-224, 245-265, 521-524, 526.Goguel, Rudi: Gedanken zum Lied der Moorsoldaten. In: Mierau, Sieglinde (Hg.): Intersongs. Festival des Politischen Liedes. Berlin 1973, S. 274-279, quotes on 275, 276, 279.Kreuzheck, Hans-Ludger: Von den „Moorsoldaten’ zu den „Lebenden Steinen’. – Zur Erforschung der Musik in den NS-Konzentrationslagern. In: Noll, Günther (Hg.): Musikalische Volkskultur und die politische Macht. Tagungsbericht Weimar 1992 der Kommission für Lied-, Musik- und Tanzforschung in der Deutschen Gesell­schaft für Volkskunde e.V. Essen 1994, S. 502-526, hier S. 508-513.Lammel, Inge: Das Arbeiterlied. Frankfurt a. M. 1973, S. 200‑201, 246-247, quote of Hanns Eisler on 246.Langhoff, Wolfgang: Die Moorsoldaten. Mit einem Vorwort von Werner Heiduczek. Köln 1988, quotes on 144, 182, 183, 243, 244.Lieder aus den faschistischen Konzentrationslagern. Zusammengestellt von Inge Lammel und Günter Hofmeyer. Veröffentlichung der Deutschen Akademie der Künste zu Berlin, Sektion Musik, Abteilung Arbeiterlied (Das Lied – Im Kampf geboren, Heft 7). Leipzig 1962, 14-18, quotes of Rudi Goguel on 16, 17.Probst-Effah, Gisela: Lieder gegen „das Dunkel in den Köpfen’. Untersuchungen zur Folkbewegung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Musikalische Volkskunde – Materialien und Analysen, Bd. 12). Essen 1995, 46-90, quotes of Heinz Junge on 51-53.Probst-Effah, Gisela: Das Moorsoldatenlied. In: Jahrbuch für Volksliedforschung 40 (1995), S. 75-83.

Focke, Harald / Reimer, Uwe: Alltag unterm Hakenkreuz. Bd. 2: Alltag der Entrechteten. Wie die Nazis mit ihren Gegnern umgingen. Reinbek 1983, 155-159, quote of Karl Schabrod on 159.

Geve, Thomas [Pseudonym]: Geraubte Kindheit. Konstanz 1993, quote on 134.

Interview Goguel: Interview von Monika Krüger mit Rudi Goguel über das „Moorsoldatenlied’ für die am 3.4.1974 ausgestrahlte Hörfunksendung „Stimme der DDR’ in der Sendereihe „Hallo – das Jugendjournal’. Abschrift von Joachim Arndt im Archiv des Dokumentations- und Informationszentrums Emslandlager (DIZ), Papenburg (quotes on 2, 4, 5).

Langhoff, Wolfgang / Schabrod, Karl: Wir sind die Moorsoldaten. In: Der rote Großvater erzählt. Berichte und Erzählungen von Veteranen der Arbeiterbewegung aus der Zeit von 1914–1945. Hg. von Erasmus Schöfer mit der Düsseldorfer Werkstatt des Werkkreises und dem Werkkreis-Lektorat. Berlin 1983, S. 138-163, quotes on 15.

A copy of the “The Peat Bog Soldiers” made by Hanns Kralik in the KZ Börgermoor 1933.

Wohin auch das Auge blicket,
Moor und Heide nur ringsum.
Vogelsang uns nicht erquicket,
Eichen stehen kahl und krumm.

          Wir sind die Moorsoldaten
          und ziehen mit dem Spaten
          ins Moor!

Hier in dieser öden Heide
ist das Lager aufgebaut,
wo wir fern von jeder Freude
hinter Stacheldraht verstaut.

          Wir sind die Moorsoldaten ...

Morgens ziehen die Kolonnen
in das Moor zur Arbeit hin.
Graben bei dem Brand der Sonne,
doch zur Heimat steht der Sinn.

          Wir sind die Moorsoldaten ...

Heimwärts, heimwärts jeder sehnet,
zu den Eltern, Weib und Kind.
Manche Brust ein Seufzer dehnet,
weil wir hier gefangen sind.

          Wir sind die Moorsoldaten ...

Auf und nieder gehn die Posten,
keiner, keiner kann hindurch.
Flucht wird nur das Leben kosten,
vierfach ist umzäunt die Burg.

          Wir sind die Moorsoldaten ...

Doch für uns gibt es kein Klagen,
ewig kann’s nicht Winter sein.
Einmal werden froh wir sagen:
Heimat, du bist wieder mein.

          Dann zieh’n die Moorsoldaten
          nicht mehr mit dem Spaten
          ins Moor!

Verse 1:
Wherever the eye may wander,
All around only moor and heath.
No singing of the birds to raise our spirits,
Oak trees stand bleak and crooked.

We are the peat bog soldiers
And travel spade in hand
Into the moor!

Verse 2:
Here in this bleak heath
The camp was built,
Far from any joy
We lie hidden away behind barbed wire.

We are the peat bog soldiers…

Verse 3:
Work columns leave in the morning
To go into the moor.
We dig while the sun burns down on us,
But our thoughts remain with home.

We are the peat bog soldiers…

Verse 4:
Homewards, homewards, each of us longs
To our parents, wives, and children.
A sigh opens up many of our chests,
Because we are caught here.

Refrain:We are the peat bog soldiers…

Verse 5:
The guards walk back and forth
No one, no one can get through,
Escape will only cost you your life,
The fort is fenced four times around

We are the peat bog soldiers…

Verse 6:
But for us there are no complaints
Because it cannot be winter forever.
Someday we will happily say:
Home, you are mine again.

Then the peat bog soldiers
Will no longer travel spade in hand
Into the moor!