Das Todestango

Aleksander Kulisiewicz
Language: German

List of versions

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Ballade vom Edelweiß-Piraten Nevada-Kid
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Musica: Da un “Tango Plegaría” di Eduardo Bianco
Music: From a “Plegaría Tango” by Eduardo Bianco
Lyrics / Testo: autore sconosciuto / unknown


Aleksander Kulisiewicz: Songs From The Depths Of Hell
Folkways Records Album N° FSS 37700 (1979)
PDF Booklet Available
Annotated by Peter Wortsman

La copertina dell'album, ispirata a questa canzone, è di Gertrude Degenhardt, moglie di Franz-Josef Degenhardt.
The album cover, inspired by this song, is by Gertrude Degenhardt, Franz-Josef Degenhardt's wife.


Aleksander Kulisiewicz (1918-1982) was a law student in German-occupied Poland when, in October 1939, he was denounced for anti-fascist writings, arrested by the Gestapo, and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, near Berlin. An amateur singer and songwriter, Kulisiewicz composed 54 songs during nearly six years of imprisonment at Sachsenhausen. After liberation he remembered his songs, as well as those learned from fellow prisoners, dictating hundreds of pages of text to his attending nurse at a Polish infirmary.

German – Music: From a “Plegaria Tango” by Eduardo Bianco
Words: Unknown

Jews waiting to be selected for death at the Nazi extermination camp in Lemberg (in Polish, Lwów – then part of Eastern Poland, today part of [the Soviet] Ukraine) were forced on order of SS-Lieutenant Stephan Rokita, to listen while a well-known fiddler by the name of Schatz played this “hit” tango. Former prisoner Anna Muzycka remembered and later wrote down the words. Only the last verse was changed.
Hörst du wie die Geige schluchzend spielt?
Blutig klingen ihre Töne
Hörst du wie dein Herz sein Ende fühlt?
Das Todestango spielt
Hab' kein Angst, mein Lieb'

Sand wird deine Leiche decken
Sternenkerze dient als Brenner
Und als Polster dient dir nur ein Stein
Doch glücklich wirst du sein so ganz allein

Schüsse fallen, Kugeln knallen,
Segregieren! Gift! Nur spielen
Und der Tod packt dich in Hand
Drum sei fertig und bereit.

Contributed by CCG/AWS Staff - 2009/1/15 - 01:16

Language: English

English Version from the Album Booklet
Versione inglese dal libretto dell'album

In parte si tratta di una riscrittura del testo originale; ad esempio, la frase finale Death's a friend, seppure terribilmente suggestiva, non si trova affatto nel testo originale tedesco. [RV]

Hear it, how the fiddle sobbing plays?
Bloody notes of sweet string music
Hear it, how your heartbeat fades away?
And so deathtango plays
Have no fear, my dear

Sand will cover up your body
Bright star candles be your nightlight
And your pillow be a single stone
But happy will you be so all alone

Shots are falling, bullets flying,
Separation! Poison! Keep playing
And if death grabs for your hand
Just be ready. Death's a friend.

Contributed by Riccardo Venturi - 2009/1/16 - 02:21

Language: Italian

Versione italiana (in rima) di Riccardo Venturi
16 gennaio 2009
(dall'originale tedesco)

Lo senti quel violino risonar di lamenti?
Di note sanguinose suona.
Il cuore già presago della fine, lo senti?
E' il tango mortàl che suona,
Tu non aver paura, amore mio

Di sabbia il tuo corpo copriranno,
Le stelle le candele tue saranno.
Una dura pietra sarà il tuo guanciale
E sarai tutto solo. Menomale.

Palle che volano, spari risuonano,
Segregazione! Veleno! E loro suonano.
La morte per la mano ora ti afferra,
E tu stai pronto a andare sottoterra.

2009/1/16 - 02:33

Language: French

Version française – Le tango de la Mort – Marco Valdo M.I. – 2009
d'après la version italienne de Riccardo Venturi
Chanson allemande - Das Todestango – Aleksander Kulisiewicz

Des Juifs qui attendaient d'être sélectionnés pour être tués au camp d'extermination nazi de Lemberg (Pologne – Lwow, alors partie de l'Est de la Pologne, aujourd'hui en Ukraine) furent forcés sur ordre du Lieutenant SS Stephan Rokita d'écouter un violoniste très connu du nom de Schatz jouer ce tango « à succès ». Ancienne prisonnière Anna Muzycka s'en souvint et écrivit plus tard les paroles.

Entends-tu ce violon qui se lamente ?
Il résonne de notes sanglantes.
Son cœur déjà présage la fin de l'attente.
Il joue le tango de la mort
Tu ne dois pas avoir peur, mon trésor.
Ils couvriront de sable ton corps
Les étoiles en tremblant te veilleront
Une dure pierre sera ton coussin
Et tu seras tout seul. Pas plus mal, au fond.
Loin des balles qui sifflent, des coups de tocsin,
Ségrégation ! Poison ! Et eux joueront.
Alors, si la mort te prend par la main
Sois prêt à l'accompagner sous le gazon.

Contributed by Marco Valdo M.I. - 2009/1/17 - 16:22

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