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154566.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:46 am Reply with quote

Q: Why should the British feel proud when they hear the German national anthem?

F: Don't mention ze war, Two World Cups/One World War etc

A: The lyrics were written in Britain (by a children's poet).


The lyrics for 'Das Lied der Deutschen' (The Song of The Germans) were written by Hoffman von Fallersleben in 1841 on the North Sea archipelago of Heligoland.

While the sparsely populated islands (circa 1650 resident) now belong to Germany, they formerly belonged to Britain.

This ancient settlement (people have lived there since AD 697) was seized by the British from the Danish in 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars and became a famous seaside resort. As Britain and Germany were then strong allies, many German and Austrian writers went there to write.

Britain gave up the islands to Germany in 1890 in exchange for large tranches of East Africa and the small sultanate of Wituland on the Kenyan coast.

The Germans used the islands as a naval base. Consequently it was bombed to pieces during the Second World War. The first bomb dropped on German soil in WW2 was dropped (by accident) on Heligoland on 3 December 1939. Two allied bombing attacks in 1944 and 1945 left no buildings standing. On 18 April 1947, the Royal Navy detonated 6,800 tonnes of explosives un an effort to blow the island up in entirety. The Guiness Book of Records lists this as the 'largest single conventional explosive detonation.'Although they didn't succeed, one of the corners of the island was turned into gentle hills. In 1952 the archipelago was returned to the Germans, and a rebuilding started at pace.

Heligoland now consists of two islands. The main island Hauptinsel and the Dune. It is a perfect place for people without allegies as it is almost totally free of pollen. The climate is particularly good for growing figs and enjoying a holiday. There are virtually no cars on the island, and it's a tax haven.

The population speak German and the Heligolandic (Frisian) dialect called Halunder.

August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben used Hoffman von Fallersleben as his pen name. He was a popular German poet who, aside from writing the German national anthem, wrote children's poetry. A monument to him on the island was destroyed during one of the many bombings.


Picture ideas:

Hoffman himself:


154572.  Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:27 am Reply with quote

Q: Now, can you please tell me what the opening lines are to the German National Anthem?

F: Deutschland, Deutschland über alles (Germany, Germany above all)

A: Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Law and Freedom)


The melody of "Das Lied der Deutschen" comes from the old Austrian imperial anthem "God Save Franz the Emperor" by Franz Joseph Haydn in 1797.

It was first officially announced as Germany's national anthem in 1922, and the first verse (Deutschland, Deutschland über alles) became the official Nazi anthem during its 12 year reign.

In May 1952, the third verse was proclaimed the official anthem of West Germany by President Theodor Heuss in order to sever Nazi ties with the first verse. The second verse was never favoured because of its reference to "German women, German wine and German song".

Here are the lyrics with translation:


Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Germany, Germany above all,
Über alles in der Welt,
Above everything in the world,
Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
When always, for protection,
Brüderlich zusammenhält,
We stand together as brothers.
Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
From the Maas to the Memel
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt -
From the Etsch to the Belt -
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Germany, Germany above all
Über alles in der Welt.
Above all in the world.

Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
German women, German loyalty,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
German wine and German song,
Sollen in der Welt behalten
Shall retain in the world,
Ihren alten schönen Klang,
Their old lovely ring
Uns zu edler Tat begeistern
To inspire us to noble deeds
Unser ganzes Leben lang.
Our whole life long.
Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
German women, German loyalty,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
German wine and German song.

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Unity and law and freedom
für das deutsche Vaterland!
For the German Fatherland
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Let us all strive for that
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
In brotherhood with heart and hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Unity and law and freedom
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
Are the foundation for happiness
Blüh' im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Bloom in the glow of happiness
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland.
Bloom, German Fatherland.

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,*
Germany, Germany above all*
Und im Unglück nun erst recht.
And in misfortune all the more.
Nur im Unglück kann die Liebe
Only in misfortune can love
Zeigen, ob sie stark und echt.
Show if it's strong and true.
Und so soll es weiterklingen
And so it should ring out
Von Geschlechte zu Geschlecht:
From generation to generation:
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Germany, Germany above all,
Und im Unglück nun erst recht.
And in misfortune all the more.



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