German

Wir schreiten fest im gleichen Schritt,
wir trotzen Not und Sorgen,
║: denn in uns zieht die Hoffnung mit
auf Freiheit und das Morgen. :║

Was hinter uns, ist abgetan,
gewesen und verklungen.
║: Die Zukunft will den ganzen Mann,
ihr sei unser Lied gesungen. :║

Aus Esterwegen zogen wir leicht,
es liegt verlassen im Moore,
║: doch bald war Sachsenhausen erreicht –
es schlossen sich wieder die Tore. :║

Wir schaffen hinter Stacheldraht
mit Schwielen in den Händen
║: und packen zu und werden hart,
die Arbeit will nicht enden. :║

So mancher kommt, kaum einer geht,
es gehen Mond’ und Jahre,
║: und bis das ganze Lager steht,
hat mancher graue Haare. :║

Das Leben lockt hinter Drahtverhau,
wir möchten’s mit Händen greifen,
║: dann werden unsre Kehlen rauh
und die Gedanken schweifen. :║

Wir schreiten fest im gleichen Schritt,
wir trotzen Not und Sorgen,
║: denn in uns zieht die Hoffnung mit
auf Freiheit und das Morgen. :║

English

We tread on, locked in step,
we mock our needs and cares,
For hope moves with us,
hope for freedom and tomorrow.

What is behind us is over and done,
has been, and faded away.
The future demands the entire man,
for it we sing our song.

From Esterwegen we traveled lightly,
It lies deserted in the peat,
But soon we arrived at Sachsenhausen,
And once again the gates were closed.

We slept behind barbed wire
with weals on our hands.
We dig in and get tough,
the work does not want to end.

In this way many come, hardly any leave,
Many moons and years pass,
And by the time the whole camp is built,
many have gray hairs.

Life lures us from behind the barbed wire,
we would like to grab it with our hands,
then our throats become rough,
our thoughts meander.

We tread on, locked in step,
we mock our needs and cares,
For hope moves with us,
hope for freedom and tomorrow.

The ‘Sachsenhausenlied’ (Sachsenhausen song) was created in the winter of 1936 by the German political prisoner Karl Wloch, along with his communist friends Bernhard Bästlein and Karl Fischer.  They based the song on the well-known workers’ melody ‘Die Bauern wollten freie sein’ (The peasants want to be free), and agreed that it should be used as a means of strengthening the prisoners’ unity and to reflect an anti-fascist spirit. As was the case with many commissioned camp songs, it was originally approved by the SS, and prisoners were frequently ordered to sing it. Later, however, the song was forbidden, although it made the transition from forced to voluntary music and continued to be sung in secret.