Ich hatt' einen Kameraden

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War memorial fountain in Speyer

"Der gute Kamerad" ("The good Comrade"), also known as "I had a comrade", is a traditional lament of the German Armed Forces. The text was written by the German poet Ludwig Uhland in 1809. In 1825, the composer Friedrich Silcher set it to music.

"The Good Comrade" plays an important ceremonial role in the German Armed Forces and is an integral part of a military funeral. The song has also become traditional in obsequies of the Military of Austria, the Austrian firebrigades and the highly prussianized Chilean Army. It is also used to some degree in the French Army, particularly in the Foreign Legion. When the song is played, soldiers are to salute, an honour otherwise reserved for national anthems only.

Occasionally the song is played at civil ceremonies, most often when the deceased had been affiliated with the military. It is also commonly sung at the funerals of members of a Studentenverbindung. Finally, the song is often played on Volkstrauertag, the German Remembrance Day, at memorials for the fallen.

German playwright Carl Zuckmayer in 1966 used the song's line "Als wär's ein Stück von mir" as the title for his hugely successful autobiography (English title: "A Part of Myself").

Original German Text English Translation Italian Translation Spanish Translation French Translation Finnish Translation

Ich hatt' einen Kameraden,
Einen bessern findst du nicht.
Die Trommel schlug zum Streite,
Er ging an meiner Seite
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt.

Eine Kugel kam geflogen:
Gilt’s mir oder gilt es dir?
Sie hat ihn weggerissen,
Er liegt zu meinen Füßen
Als wär's ein Stück von mir.

Will mir die Hand noch reichen,
Derweil ich eben lad'.
"Kann dir die Hand nicht geben,
Bleib du im ew'gen Leben
Mein guter Kamerad!"

I once had a comrade,
You will find no better.
The drum sounded for battle,
He walked at my side,
In the same pace and step.

A bullet came flying towards us,
Is it meant for me or you?
It tore (swept) him away,
He now lays at my feet,
As if he was a part of me.

His hand reaches out to me,
Meanwhile I am reloading (the rifle).
"I cannot shake your hand (farewell),
You must remain in eternal life (heaven),
My fine (precious) comrade."

Avevo un camerata,
che miglior non puoi trovar.
In marcia e in battaglia,
di pari passo andava
vicino sempre a me,
vicino sempre a me,

Fischiò una palla a un tratto:
è per me oppur per te?
Colpito ti ha in fronte,
tu giaci ai miei piedi:
sei parte di me che muor:
sei parte di me che muor.

Mi tendi ancor la mano,
mentre debbo caricar.
La man non posso darti,
anche in ciel per me rimani,
Mio buon Camerata,
Mio buon Camerata "

Yo tenía un camarada,
no encontrarás uno mejor.
El tambor llamaba a la batalla,
él caminaba a mi lado
siguiendo mi mismo paso.

Una bala vino volando:
¿es para mí o es para ti?
Se lo llevó por delante.
Yace a mis pies
como si fuese un pedacito de mí.

Quiere alcanzarme su mano
mientras estoy recargando.
"No te puedo dar la mano,
¡descansa en la vida eterna
mi buen camarada!"

J'avais un camarade,
De meilleur il n'en est pas ;
Dans la paix et dans la guerre
Nous allions comme des frères
Marchant d'un même pas.

Mais une balle siffle.
Qui de nous sera frappé ?
Le voilà qui tombe à terre,
Il est là dans la poussière ;
Mon cœur est déchiré.

Ma main, il veut me prendre
Mais je charge mon fusil;
Adieu donc, adieu mon frère
Dans le ciel et sur la terre
Soyons toujours unis.

Oli aseveikko mulla
oli parhain, urhokkain.
Sotatorvet kutsui meitä
ja hän astui taiston teitä.
Samaan tahtiin rinnallain!

Tuli lentäin luoti tuima,
onko vuoro mun vai sun?
Sinut kaatoi surman luoti,
sydän vertas maahan vuoti.
Kuin rinnasta ois se mun!

Yhä tarjoot mulle kättäs,
johon taannoin tartuin mä.
Puristaa sitä en voi joskaan,
olemasta et lakkaa koskaan!
Sinä parhain ystäväin!

The tune is also used for the eponymous Spanish Civil War song about the death of Hans Beimler.

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