View Full Version : Der Gute Kamerad

10-31-2008, 11:50
Many of us have heard this song played or sung during US and German Veterans Rembrance ceremonies held over the years. Here is the history and translation of the song.

BACKGROUND: This Uhland poem—also known as "Der gute Kamerad"—was written in 1809 and later set to music by the German composer Friedrich Silcher in 1825 (using an old folk melody, "Ein schwarzbraunes Mädchen hat ein'n Feldjäger lieb"). Uhland's poem (or Lied) was inspired by the Tyrolian freedom fighters and their struggle against Napoleon. It was popular enough during World War I to be parodied as "Ich hatt' mal Marmelade," reflecting the soldiers' hunger and lack of rations. Although it was written much earlier, the poem/song is often quoted/performed in memory of the veterans of the two world wars and for the German Veterans day observance known as Volkstrauertag (on the third Sunday in November).

Ich hatt' einen Kameraden
von Ludwig Uhland

Ich hatt' einen Kameraden,
Einen bessern findst du nit.
Die Trommel schlug zum Streite,
Er ging an meiner Seite
In gleichem Schritt und Tritt.

Eine Kugel kam geflogen:
Gilt's mir oder gilt es dir?
Ihn hat es weggerissen,
Er liegt vor meinen Füßen
Als wär's ein Stück von mir

Will mir die Hand noch reichen,
Derweil ich eben lad'.
"Kann dir die Hand nicht geben,
Bleib du im ew'gen Leben
Mein guter Kamerad!"

I Had a Comrade
Translation by Frank Petersohn

In battle he was my comrade,
None better I have had.
The drum called us to fight,
He always on my right,
In step, through good and bad.

A bullet it flew towards us,
For him or meant for me?
His life from mine it tore,
At my feet a piece of gore,
As if a part of me.

His hand reached up to hold mine.
I must re-load my gun.
"My friend, I cannot ease your pain,
In life eternal we'll meet again,
And walk once more as one."

11-02-2008, 11:21
A very important chant or marching song in the Legion Etrangere.
A throw back to the days of a large German presence but
still part of the tradition, especially in the 1e REC
(Premiere Regiment Etrangere de Calvary or the Armored Recce Regiment).