Feature

Germany: A musical symbol of reunification

Should Germany update its national anthem by adding the original first verse of East Germany&rsquo;s anthem? asked Heribert Prantl in<strong> </strong><em>S&uuml;ddeutsche Zeitung.</em>

Heribert PrantlSüddeutsche Zeitung

It’s time to update our national anthem, said Heribert Prantl. This summer, the Bundesrepublik is celebrating its 60th birthday, and later this year we Germans will mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. What better present could the country give itself than an enhancement of its anthem? The old verses that began “Deutschland über alles” (Germany above all) and “German women, German loyalty” were dropped after World War II, because of their association with Nazis, and nobody wants to sing those again.

But why not add the original first verse of East Germany’s anthem? The stanza, which begins, “Risen from the ruins,” was banned in 1973 because it contained the phrase “Germany, united Fatherland,” and the Communist rulers of East Germany rejected the idea that they would ever unite with West Germany. But during the 1989 protests that brought about the collapse of the Berlin Wall, many East Germans sang that phrase defiantly, expressing their longing for a reunited country.

Now we have such a country. Nothing could be more fitting than for us to “knit together the Western and Eastern verses” to fully express “the unity of all of Germany.”

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