Judith Holofernes

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Judith Holofernes
Judith Holofernes English.jpg
Holofernes performing in Eschwege, Germany 2010
Background information
Birth name Judith Holfelder
Born (1976-11-12) 12 November 1976 (age 38)
Origin Berlin, Germany
Genres Rock, pop, alternative
Occupation(s) Musician, lyricist
Instruments vocals, guitar
Associated acts Wir sind Helden

Judith Holofernes (born 12 November 1976 in Berlin) is a German musician and lyricist, who is most widely known as the lead singer of the German Pop-Rock band Wir sind Helden, a band whose non-conformist rise to fame, eclectic musical style – combined with Holofernes' widely acclaimed lyrical prowess – helped it become one of the most written-about and successful German bands of the 2000s.

Her stage name, Holofernes, alludes to the general of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar,[citation needed] whose decapitation by Judith in the deuterocanonical Book of Judith was told of in the Old Testament. Judith and Holofernes is also a commonly covered topic in art history; it was depicted on canvas by Gustav Klimt and Rubens, and even the Italian sculptor Donatello.

Personal history[edit]

Judith Holfelder had lived in Berlin until the age of six, then she moved to Freiburg im Breisgau in Southern Germany with her mother. Holofernes made her first musical experience as a street musician in Freiburg.[1] After finishing secondary school, she returned to Berlin to study Communications at Universität der Künste, but never graduated.[2] While studying, she was working with a team for Adbusters magazine, writing her thesis on Culture Jamming and Advertising Spoofs. Criticism of consumerism and the media is also quite prevalent in the lyrics of Wir sind Helden.

Shortly after dropping out of university, her Band Wir sind Helden gained massive popularity in all German speaking countries when their first single, the also consumer–critical Guten Tag (Die Reklamation) hit the radio without the back–up of a record label. They also had a low budget music video for said song on MTV heavy rotation before a record deal was signed. Later that year they signed to Labels, a conglomerate of several indie labels that was linked to EMI for distribution.

Holofernes married fellow band member Pola Roy in July 2006 and gave birth to their son later that year.[3] The couple had a second child, a daughter in July 2009. Holofernes and her husband are practicing Buddhists – Holofernes met the Dalai Lama in 2007.[4]

Artistic career[edit]

Holofernes sings, plays the guitar and writes the lyrics for Wir sind Helden. A few of the band's more well known songs (Außer dir, Aurélie) are taken right off of Holofernes' solo-album Kamikazefliege, which was released in 1999 and was met with little success, selling only 500 copies.[5] Due to the breakthrough of Wir sind Helden more copies of Holofernes' solo-album have been sold.[6] In 2014 she released a new solo album titled "Ein leichtes Schwert".[7]

Wir sind Helden[edit]

Judith Holofernes met Pola Roy (drums) and Jean-Michel Tourette (keyboard) and the bands first bass player, Stefan Nietzky, in Hamburg in 2000 where they founded a band. Later on Mark Tavassol (bass) joined them and replaced Nietzky on bass.[8] They first called themselves Helden (engl.: heroes) and changed it to Wir sind Helden (engl.: We are Heroes) later on. As a newcomer indie band without a major label they were first recognized in Berlin after the release of their first single Guten Tag in 2002. They gained massive success in all German speaking countries with the release of their first album Die Reklamation in 2003. In the following years they received several double platinum records and won a total of five Echo Awards. Wir sind Helden continued their success with Von hier an blind (2005), Soundso (2007) and Bring mich nach Hause (2010). In early 2012 Wir sind Helden announced they would pause their activities for an indefinite period of time due to exhaustion from touring with two babies on board – and also so that every band member could follow their solo ambitions.[9]


Holofernes conveys her political opinions in many of her lyrics. Consumer criticism and media critique are displayed in the songs Guten Tag or Endlich ein Grund zur Panik, a critique of social pressure and work ethics in Müssen nur wollen and Ist das so. Nevertheless, she does not like to be reduced to her social criticism, but says she values poetry and storytelling just as much as political songwriting.[10] She found a very unique way to write in German and is known for her playful use of words. In her writing she claims that lyrical nonsense by the likes of Robert Gernhardt and Christian Morgenstern had more influence on her than any German songwriter of the past.[11] She also cites Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello as major influences on her songwriting.[12]

Media presence[edit]

After the sudden success of the band Wir sind Helden in 2003, Judith Holofernes had a wide reception in the print and non-print media. As a result of her vocal presence about social matters throughout the years she was a guest in several well known talk shows on German TV, including Die Harald Schmidt Show. She was also invited to the political talk show Maybrit Illner (2010),[13] where she talked about "the heart´s necessity to rebel".

In July 2011, she hosted the show Summer Of Girls for the French-German TV network arte.[14] Holofernes is the co-author of the band autobiography Wir sind Helden – Informationen zu Touren und anderen Einzelteilen[15] (Wir sind Helden – Information on Touring and other Spare Parts) a title derived from a fan–mail generated with google translator.

Besides supporting the Tibet initiative,[16] she campaigned for Attac,[17] did several support shows for non – governmental organizations like Viva Con Agua http://www.vivaconagua.org/index.htm?galerie&id=459&img=3372 and the anti-nuclear-power-movement in Germany.[18]

In 2011, she got into a very public argument with Germany's most widely read tabloid BILD and their advertising agency, when said agency asked her to do a testimonial for the tabloid, although Holofernes had been a public critic of their ethics for years. She answered that request in a public letter stating that she thought of BILD as "not an item of trash culture that should be ironically perceived, not a harmless guilty pleasure (...), not a funny social reference (...) but a dangerous political instrument, a strongly magnifying telescope into the abyss, an evil entity that does not describe Germany, but forms it – with an agenda" (Quelle, meine Blog: "...augenzwinkernd zu betrachtendes Trash – Kulturgut und kein harmloses “Guilty Pleasure” für wohlfrisierte Aufstreber, keine witzige soziale Referenz und kein Lifestyle – Zitat. Und schon gar nicht ist die Bild – Zeitung das, als was ihr sie verkaufen wollt: Hassgeliebtes, aber weitestgehend harmloses Inventar eines eigentlich viel schlaueren Deutschlands. Die Bildzeitung ist ein gefährliches politisches Instrument – nicht nur ein stark vergrößerndes Fernrohr in den Abgrund, sondern ein bösartiges Wesen, das Deutschland nicht beschreibt, sondern macht. Mit einer Agenda.)[19]

That public letter was then used by the Agency Jung von Matt as an advertisement against her will, a fact that again was widely publicized.


Holofernes' voice appears in the song X on the first supporters' album of Einstürzende Neubauten (2003). She also sang background vocals for two songs of the German band Tele in 2004. In the same year, she contributed to the song Wir rühren uns nicht vom Fleck of the band Sterne. In 2007, she sang background vocals for the German band Olli Schulz und der Hund Marie on the song Armer Vater. Together with the Swedish singer Moneybrother she recorded the song Magic Moments for his album Mount Pleasure in 2007. In 2012, she recorded and performed the song Vergangenheit with Die Höchste Eisenbahn.[20]


  • Kamikazefliege (1999)
  • Ein Leichtes Schwert (2014)


  1. ^ unispiegel
  2. ^ Guten Tag, wir sind Helden! In: Berliner Zeitung, 26. November 2002
  3. ^ Carsten Schrader: Von hier an Kind, Stern, 30. April 2007
  4. ^ Frontfrau Holofernes: "Die Rache des Universums" in: Der Spiegel, 8. August 2007,
  5. ^ Ich kann doch so viele Strophen vergessen, wie ich will! (Interview in ätzettera, Nr.28, Oktober 1999)
  6. ^ http://www.indiepedia.de/index.php?title=Judith_Holofernes
  7. ^ Judith Holofernes Tourdate. Vorverkaufstarts.de. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  8. ^ Andi Kuhn: Begrenzte Unmöglichkeiten. neuemusikzeitung.de
  9. ^ http://www.wirsindhelden.de/2012/04/was-heist-das-%E2%80%9Ewir-sind-erst-mal-raus%E2%80%9C/
  10. ^ http://www.faz.net/aktuell/beruf-chance/mein-weg/judith-holofernes-heldin-auf-dem-heimweg-14802.html
  11. ^ http://www.welt.de/print-wams/article107653/Pop-ist-ein-Maedchen-aus-Deutschland.html
  12. ^ http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/musik/abgehoert-die-wichtigsten-cds-der-woche-a-256159.html
  13. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqpzCA_zfqo
  14. ^ Komm, ich zeig dir meinen Kängurubauch! in der Online Ausgabe der Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
  15. ^ Taschenbuch: 416 Seiten, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag (12. März 2008), ISBN 978-3596177547
  16. ^ http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/interview-judith-holofernes-wir-sind-helden-und-der-dalai-lama-auch-1.596018
  17. ^ http://www.attac-netzwerk.de/regensburg/unsere-history-unvollstaendig/detailansicht/datum/2011/04/06/attac-video-zu-neuem-song-von-wir-sind-helden-3/?cHash=285d61ad5da6c306c657fc47a229c9aa
  18. ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/michael-huebner/5571338974/
  19. ^ http://www.wirsindhelden.de/2011/02/1069/
  20. ^ http://www.judithholofernes.com/hochste-eisenbahn-als-ep/

External links[edit]