Neuengammer Lagerlied

The anthem of Neuengamme owes its creation to a song competition that had over 30 entries.  This competition took place in spring 1942 under the supervision of the most senior camp prisoner and with the knowledge of the camp leadership.  The song 'Konzentrationäre' (Of Concentration Camps) was chosen.  It is also known as the 'Neuengammer Lagerlied' (Neuengamme Camp Song), with slight variations from the original.  These changes can be traced in part to the distortion that would have been caused through the song’s transmission amongst prisoners.  Yet this also proves the active use of the song in the camp’s everyday life, as well as its popularity.

Dicht bei Hamburg liegt ein Lager,
hinter Stacheldraht verbannt.
║: Dreimal tausend deutsche Männer,
Konzentrationäre sie genannt. :║

Unser Banner ist der Spaten,
„Teure Heimat“ Feldgeschrei.
║: Keine Träne, stets den Kopf hoch,
Konzentrationär, auch du wirst frei!:║

Worte froh hat uns geschmiedet,
zäher Wille ist erwacht,
║: denn die Jahre, die vergangen,
haben hart und eisern uns gemacht. :║

Früh am Morgen geht’s zur Arbeit,
ob nach Klinker oder Elb‘
║: Dreck, Morast und Schlamm und Kohldampf
– doch das Lied bleibt Tag für Tag dasselb‘. :║

Hört ihr nicht den Ruf der Heimat
beim Appell die Namen schrei’n?
║: Leuchtend kommt auch euch die Freiheit,
Mütter, eure Söhne kehren heim! :║

Concentration Camp Neuengamme, 1942
Lyrics: Alf Dortmann

Right near Hamburg there lies a camp,
Banished behind barbed wire.
Three times a thousand German men,
They are called Concentrationaires.

Our banner is the spade,
“Dear Homeland” our war cry.
No tears, and always head up,
Concentrationaire, even you will be free!

Cheerful words have forged us,
a tenacious will is awoken,
Because the years that have passed,
have made us hard as steel.

Early in the morning it is off to work,
Whether to Klinker or the Elbe
Filth, morass and slime and hunger.
But day after day the song remains the same.

Do you not hear the call of the homeland
screaming the names at roll call?
Blazingly comes freedom to you as well,
Mothers, your sons are returning home.

Concentration Camp Neuengamme, 1942

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