Children's Hymn

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Children's Hymn is the English name of a poem by Bertolt Brecht, Kinderhymne, written in 1950 and set to music by Hanns Eisler in the same year.


The hymn was Brecht's response to the Deutschlandlied, which he believed to be corrupted by the Third Reich and whose third stanza became the national anthem of West Germany in 1950. There are several allusions to the Deutschlandlied: "From the Meuse to the Memel, / From the Adige to the Belt" vs. Brecht's "From the ocean to the Alps, / From the Oder to the Rhine", or "Germany, Germany above all" vs. "we desire to be not above, and not below other peoples".

The verse form and the rhyme scheme are similar to both the "Deutschlandlied" and "Auferstanden aus Ruinen", the national anthem of East Germany. Accordingly, the three lyrics can be combined with the melodies.

In order to create a new all-German national anthem during the German reunification, several public campaigns supported the use of the Children's Hymn. However, those suggestions were overruled; the hymn remained the same.


Anmut sparet nicht noch Mühe,
Leidenschaft nicht noch Verstand,
Dass ein gutes Deutschland blühe
Wie ein andres gutes Land.

Grace spare not and spare no labour,
Passion nor intelligence
That a decent German nation
Flourish as do other lands.

Dass die Völker nicht erbleichen
Wie vor einer Räuberin,
Sondern ihre Hände reichen
Uns wie andern Völkern hin.

That the people give up flinching
At the crimes which we evoke,
And hold out their hands in friendship
As they do to other folk.

Und nicht über und nicht unter
Andern Völkern woll'n wir sein
Von der See bis zu den Alpen,
Von der Oder bis zum Rhein.

Neither over nor yet under
Other peoples will we be
From the Alps to the North Sea,
From the Oder to the Rhein.

Und weil wir dies Land verbessern,
Lieben und beschirmen wir's.
Und das Liebste mag's uns scheinen
So wie andern Völkern ihr's.

And because we'll make it better,
Let us guard and love our home,
Love it as our dearest country
As the others love their own.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brockmann, Stephen (1999). Literature and German Reunification. Cambridge University Press. p. 14. 

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