Einheitsfrontlied

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"Einheitsfrontlied", (German for "United Front Song") is one of the most famous songs of the German labour movement. It was written by Bertolt Brecht and composed by Hanns Eisler. The best-known rendition was sung by Ernst Busch.

History[edit]

After Hitler's coming to power in January 1933, the situation for left-wing movements in Germany drastically deteriorated. The antagonism between the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party had long made the German left divided. After the Nazis banned both parties and labour unions in the summer of 1933, many people, including Bertolt Brecht, realized that only a united front of social democrats and communists could fight back against fascism. In 1934, at the request of fellow theatre director Erwin Piscator, Brecht wrote the "Einheitsfrontlied", calling for all workers to join the Arbeiter-Einheitsfront, Workers' United Front. The song was performed the next year in the First International Musical Olympiad held in Strasbourg by a choir of 3,000 workers. Its first record was printed in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, performed by communist actor and singer Ernst Busch.[1]

Composition[edit]

Hanns Eisler, the famous Austrian musician who would later go on to compose the East German national anthem "Auferstanden aus Ruinen", intentionally kept the composition of "Einheitsfrontlied" simple and easy to follow, so it could be sung by workers without much musical training.[2] In doing so, the song is quite march-like. In 1948, Eisler wrote a symphonic version, which was also sung by Ernst Busch and recorded for his Aurora-Projekt.

Cover versions[edit]

Ton Steine Scherben covered the song on their 1971 album Warum geht es mir so dreckig?. Hannes Wader recorded a cover version of it on his 1977 album called Hannes Wader singt Arbeiterlieder.

Lyrics[edit]

German[3]
Und weil der Mensch ein Mensch ist,
drum braucht er was zum Essen, bitte sehr!
Es macht ihn ein Geschwätz nicht satt,
das schafft kein Essen her.

Refrain
Drum links, zwei, drei!
Drum links, zwei, drei!
Wo dein Platz, Genosse, ist!
Reih dich ein in die Arbeitereinheitsfront,
weil du auch ein Arbeiter bist.

Und weil der Mensch ein Mensch ist,
drum braucht er auch noch Kleider und Schuh!
Es macht ihn ein Geschwätz nicht warm
und auch kein Trommeln dazu.

Refrain

Und weil der Mensch ein Mensch ist,
drum hat er Stiefel ins Gesicht nicht gern!
Er will unter sich keinen Sklaven seh'n
und über sich keinen Herr'n.

Refrain

Und weil der Prolet ein Prolet ist,
drum wird ihn kein anderer befrei'n.
Es kann die Befreiung der Arbeiter nur
das Werk der Arbeiter sein.

Refrain

Literal translation
And because a person is a person,
he'll need something to eat, please!
He gets tired of prattle
for it does not give him food.

Refrain
So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
To where your place, comrade, is!
Join up with the workers' United Front,
for you are a worker too!

And because a person is a person,
he will need clothes and shoes!
Prattle will not keep him warm,
and neither will the drums [of war].

Refrain

And because a person is a person,
he doesn't need a boot to the face!
He wants no slaves under him,
and no masters above!

Refrain

And because a prole is a prole,
no one else will free him.
The liberation of the working class
is the job of the worker.

Refrain

Singable[4]
And just because he's a human,
a man would like a little bite to eat;
he wants no bull and a lot of talk
that gives no bread or meat.

Refrain
So left, two, three!
So left, two, three!
To the work that we must do.
March on in the workers' United Front,
for you are a worker too!

 
 
 
 
 
 

And just because he's a human,
he doesn't like a pistol to his head.
He wants no servants under him,
and no boss over his head.

Refrain

And just because he's a worker,
no class can free him but his own.
The emancipation of the working class
is the task of the worker alone.

Refrain

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bertolt Brecht (1997), Ausgewählte Werke in 6 Bänden (in German), 3, Suhrkamp, p. 472
  2. ^ Hirschfeld, Eugene (31 July 2010). "United Front Song (Einheitsfrontlied)". Marxist Theory of Art. Blogger. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Lyrics: Die Einheitsfront". www.marxists.org. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  4. ^ Songbook of the International Brigades

External links[edit]