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The Soldiers of the Moor

Recorded Sound | RG Number: RG-91.0096

The 5,000 inmates of the Börgermoor concentration camp, mostly political prisoners, labored in the wetlands near the Dutch border, extracting peat (a fossil fuel) from the marshy soil. To add to their ordeal, Nazi guards would force the prisoners to sing cheerful songs during their two-hour march to and from the moor. A group of prisoners retaliated by writing a song that truthfully reflected the workers' situation. Introduced in August 1933, The Soldiers of the Moor, with its catchy melody and evocative lyrics, became an immediate hit among camp inmates. The camp guards also enjoyed the song, failing to grasp its coded reference to the downfall of the National Socialist regime.

Disseminated outside the camp by relocated prisoners, and outside the country by refugees, The Soldiers of the Moor stood as an international emblem of spiritual resistance to Nazi oppression. The song has been translated into several languages. In English, it is usually known as The Peat Bog Soldiers.

The prominent singer and stage actor Ernst Busch, a political refugee from Nazi Germany, brought the song with him when he fought with the antifascist International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. He recorded this arrangement by fellow political exile Hanns Eisler in Barcelona in 1937.

Alternate Title
Die Moorsoldaten
Creation:  1933 August
Record last modified: 2020-10-29 13:59:21
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