Germany’s famous unit of immortal soldiers pose with their heads in their hands, 1921. The Immortals, ordinary men resurrected from death by a process as yet unknown, served with honour in the First World War until they were liquidated (by being burned to death, the only way they could be killed) by the Weimar Republic in 1924.
(Explanation: I posted this text in German a while ago, because I found it in a book and I was astonished how much it reminded me of the way I think about new right-wing parties in Germany today, like the AFD or movements like Pegida and what it feels like to hear these sorts of people say they are the people or they love this country. @awordwasthebeginning has suggested a translation of this text into English, and I thought it was a brilliant idea - firstly, because I’ve seen many discussions here on tumblr about Pegida and stuff and I’ve been asked about this by quite a few people and secondly, because in many countries here in Europe as well as overseas the right-wing is growing stronger and I think that what Tucholsky says does in many ways not apply to Germany alone.)
Kurt Tucholsky was one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic. He was simultaneously a satirist, an author of satirical political revues, a songwriter and a poet. He saw himself as a left-wing democrat and pacifist and warned against anti-democratic tendencies – and the threat of National Socialism. His fears were confirmed when the Nazis came to power in 1933: his books were listed on the Nazi’s censorship as “Entartete Kunst” (“Degenerate Art”) and burned, and he lost his German citizenship. In 1935 he commited suicide in his new home in Hindås, Sweden.
this book is titled „Deutschland, Deutschland Über Alles“.
(Germany, Germany, Above Everything). A foolish line from a
big-mouthed piece of poetry.*
Germany does not stand above everything and is not above anything, it
never is. But what it should be, our country, is be with everyone.
here you have the testimony, to which this book shall lead:
love this country.
I want to tell you something:
not true that those who call themselves “nationalists” and who
are nothing but bourgeois and militaristic, own this country or its
language. Neither the representatives of the government in their
frock-coats, nor the well-studied senior teachers, nor the ladies and
gentlemen of the Stahlhelm** are Germany all by themselves.
open their mouths and shout: “In the name of Germany…!” They
yell: “We love this country, only we love it.” It’s not true.
exceeds us in patriotism – We’re feeling internationally. But no
one exceeds our love for our home***. Not even those on whose name
the land is registered.****
much as those disgust me, who won’t say a kind word about this
country – the reversed nationalists – we’re equally far from
sharing the sentiment of a “fatherland”.
don’t care about the flags – but we love this country. And with
the same right the nationalist parties are drumming their way through
the streets with – with that same right, exactly the same right,
we, who are born here, we, who write and speak better German than the
majority of these nationalist mules – with that very same right we
claim the rivers and the forests, the beaches and the houses, the
clearances and the meadows.
our country. We have the right to hate Germany – because we love
to consider us as well, when one speaks of Germany, us: The
communists, the young socialists, the pacifists, all degrees of those
who embrace freedom. One has to think of us, when one thinks of
“Germany”. It’s too simple to pretend Germany only consists of
is a divided country. And we are a part of it.
between all these contrasts stands – unshakably, without flag,
without a barrel organ*****, without sentimentality and without drawn
blade – a quiet love for our home.
Deutschland Über Alles is the The first line of the first stanza of
the “Deutschlandlied” - Under the Nazi-regime only this stanza
was sung as national anthem. Today the third stanza (Einigkeit und
Recht und Freiheit – Unity and Justice and Freedom) is sung,
Deutschland Deutschland Über Alles is forbidden to be sung in
members of a right-wing party, later merged with the SA under the
I’ve translated Heimat as home, but Heimat is a slightly different
concept, between home and homeland, but it’s hard to define. Heimat is all about the personal connection you have with a certain
place and its people, its environment, culture, traditions, food, the
local dialects – Heimat is strongly connected to this connection
and the place you feel at home in and you have fond, nostalgic memories of. So
home is probably the closest.
one loses a little bit in translation, but I’m not sure how to
paraphrase it. What he’s saying is that this love for his home
exceeds legal boundaries and it doesn’t matter who owns a piece or
part of the land, it’s still part of Germany and therefore part of
barrel organ/Leierkasten is in German often a proverbial symbol for
repetitiousness. For example Donald Trump is repeating his slogan “leierkastenartig” - like a barrel organ.
Manufactured by Romerwerke in Suhl, Germany c.1924-26 - serial number 1053. .22LR seven-round magazine, blowback semi-automatic, square trigger guard. The Weimar Republic’s Colt woodsman. Following the Versailles treaty at the end of World War I, a lot of German firearm manufacturers turned to the few calibers available to continue their work and stay in business, leading to many target pistol models from that era.