Excerpt taken from the CD Memento: Gedenkkonzert 50 Jahre Befreiung KZ Mauthausen, courtesy of Singkreis Mauthausen.
The 'Dachaulied' (Dachau song) was composed by Herbert Zipper to a text by Jura Soyfer. The two had been friends in Vienna in the 1930s, and in the summer of 1938 they again met up in Dachau, where they talked and made up songs and poems together. One day Zipper suggested Soyfer compose a poem based on the infamous slogan of the camp, ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (Work will set you free). He memorised the poem that Soyfer recited to him a few days later, composed music to it in his head, and hummed it to some fellow prisoner-musicians, who soon made the song popular throughout the camp. Shortly after composing the song, on 23 September 1938, Zipper was transferred together with Soyfer to Buchenwald.