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Prisoner 562

  • (Oswald Andrae / Iain C. MacKintosh)

    Half a thousand, half a hundred
    Six times two, pick up your pen
    Child, my child, count it up now
    That's the number that I mean

    It's a number, just a number
    Write it down, child, while you can
    Understand it and remember
    That's the number they gave a man

    It's a number, just a number
    One of hundreds, a sign of shame
    Each man's jacket had a number
    Men had numbers, none had names

    Hitler's system took their freedom
    Took them prisoner one by one
    For the courage of their convictions
    They were tortured, gassed and burned

    They took Communist, they took pacifist
    They took social democrat
    Jew and Christian all were prisoner
    In the concentration camp

    To the camp of Esterwegen
    Listen, child and understand
    They took Carl von Ossietzky
    They broke his body, not his mind

    In Berlin upon the fourth of May
    Nineteen-hundred and thirty-eight
    The Gestapo with its treatment
    Signed his death certificate

    Five-six-two, his prison number
    Listen, child, I beg you please
    Keep in mind, always remember
    He got the Nobel Prize for Peace

    In the struggle against injustice
    He fought hard and he fought long
    Child, remember Ossietzky
    Peace won't come by words alone

    (as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1974:] In Esterwegen lernte ich auch Carl v. Ossietzky kennen, den Herausgeber der "Weltbühne". Er war bürgerlicher Pazifist und Antifaschist, mehr Gelehrter als Journalist, ein lebendes Lexikon. Wenn wir irgendeine Frage hatten, gab er uns sofort die entsprechende Antwort. Bei der Arbeit draußen im Moor zeigte sich, wie hilflos er körperlicher Arbeit gegenüber war, was auch zum Teil seiner angegriffenen Gesundheit zuzuschreiben war. Seine Ungeschicklichkeit reizte die SS-Leute, ihn zu verspotten, zu verhöhnen und zu schikanieren. Es machte ihn tiefunglücklich, aber er ertrug alles mit großer Würde. So weit es ging, haben wir Arbeiter versucht, ihm zu helfen, damit er sein Arbeitspensum schaffen konnte und vor weiteren Schikanen bewahrt blieb. Diese Schikanen wurden verstärkt, nachdem er 1935 den Friedensnobelpreis bekommen hatte. Er hat unsäglich viel gelitten und starb 1938 an den Folgen der KZ-Haft. (Willi Dickhut, Vorwort zur 2. Ausgabe von Wolfgang Langhoff, Die Moorsoldaten)

  • [1979:] Carl von Ossietzky, 1889-1938, deutscher Publizist, jüdischer Abstammung [...]; Chefredakteur der 'Weltbühne': Radikale sozialistisch- pazifistische Position; wegen Enthüllung geheimer Aufrüstung durch Reichswehr zu 18 Monaten Gefängnis verurteilt (1931); amnestiert (1932); nach Reichstagsbrand in Gestapo-Haft und KZ (1933); Friedensnobelpreis (1935), Verbot der Annahme; Tod an Folgen der KZ- Mißhandlungen (1938). (Geiss, Geschichte griffbereit 2, 281)

  • [1983:] Written by the German and Platt-Deutsch poet Oswald Andrae. This was translated and reworked into English by Iain MacKintosh from whom I learned it. - This song is vitally important. When I went to school I was given the impression that fascism and nazism were the invention of a psychopath called Adolf Hitler who had a pathological hatred of Jews but, as he was dead, we had nothing to fear. This type of obscuring of the truth is dangerously naive as events in Turkey, Latin America and South Africa prove. (Notes Dick Gaughan, 'A Different Kind of Love Song')

  • [1985:] Ossietzky, Carl von (b. Oct. 3, 1888, Hamburg - d. May 4, 1938, Berlin), German journalist and pacifist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace for 1935. In 1912 Ossietzky joined the German Peace Society but was conscripted into the army and served throughout World War I. In 1920 he became the society's secretary in Berlin. Ossietzky helped to found the Nie Wieder Krieg (No More War) organization in 1922 and became editor of the Weltbühne, a liberal political weekly, in 1927, where in a series of articles he unmasked the Reichswehr leaders' secret preparations for rearmament. Accused of treason, Ossietzky was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment but was granted amnesty in December 1932. When Hitler became Chancellor, Ossietzky had resumed his editorship. Steadfastly refusing to flee Germany, he was arrested on Feb. 28, 1933, and sent to Papenburg concentration camp. He was transferred in May 1936 to a prison hospital and then to a private hospital, where he died of tuberculosis. On Nov. 24, 1936, Ossietzky was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for 1935. The award was interpreted as an expression of worldwide censure of Nazism. Hitler's reply was a decree forbidding Germans to accept any Nobel Prize. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, vol 8, 1031)

  • [1988:] I was doing a concert [for Terre des Hommes] in Hamburg some years ago, along with Helmut Debus and Fiedel Michel. Helmut sang this song which he had learned from Oswald Andrae from Jever in Ostfriesland. I was very intrigued, and Michael Thaut - from Fiedel Michel - told me about the song as he sang it. I thought I had to do something about this, so I made a translation from the German into English - but it didn't make a song, an English song. So I went to Oswald Andrae and asked him would he mind if I tried to make an English song - not using the words but using the ideas, and that's how the song came about. (Intro Iain MacKintosh)

  • [1989:] German original by Oswald Andrae:
    Een half Dusend un fief Dutzend und denn noch tweemal een
    Kind, mien Kind, tell dat tosamen, denn hest de Tahl, de ik meen
        Is een Tahl blots, is een Tahl blots. Schriev se up. Kind hest sehn?
        Disse Tahl, dat weer de Nummer, weer de Nummer, de ik meen
    Weer een Nummer, blots een Nummer. Vun ganz veel weer't man een
    So veel Nummern up de Jacken vun de Minschen, de ik meen
        Weern blots Minschen, insparrt Minschen. Hitler harr't Regiment
        Man se glöwen, wat se glöwen, foltert, slaan, vergaast, verbrennt
    Männich Christ un Kommunisten, Sozialdemokrat
    Jöden, Zentrum, Pazifisten: >Schutzhaft<, KZ, Moorsuldat
        In't KZ vun Esterwegen - Kind, nümms kann't nu verstahn
        Hebbt se Carl vun Ossietzky elennig tosamenslaan
    Negentein-hunnert-achtundörtig, veerten Mai in Berlin
    Ünner Upsicht vun d'Gestapo schreewen se sien Dodenschien
        Fiefhunnert-un-tweeunsößtig weer sien Nummer mal ween
        Den Nobelpries för den Freeden kreeg de Häftling, den ik meen
    Gegen Unrecht harr he streeden. Mien Kind, verget dat nich
    Waak ween, hanneln för den Freeden, denn dat Woort alleen helpt nich
    (Helmut Debus, 'Mien plattdütsch Singbook', Noetzel, Wilhelmshaven, p. 94)

Quelle: Germany / Scotland

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