Auferstanden aus Ruinen

"Auferstanden aus Ruinen" (German for "Risen from Ruins") is a German patriotic song that was the national anthem of East Germany during its existence from 1949 to 1990.

Auferstanden aus Ruinen
English: Risen from Ruins
Nationalhymne der DDR.svg

National anthem of  East Germany
LyricsJohannes R. Becher, 1949
MusicHanns Eisler, 1949
Adopted1949; 72 years ago (1949)
Relinquished3 October 1990; 30 years ago (1990-10-03)
Audio sample
"Auferstanden aus Ruinen" (instrumental)



In 1949, the Soviet occupation zone of Allied-occupied Germany became a socialist state under the name of the "German Democratic Republic" (GDR). For the nascent state's national anthem, the poet Johannes R. Becher, who later became Minister of Culture, wrote the lyrics. Two musicians, Ottmar Gerster and Hanns Eisler, proposed music to Becher's lyrics, and the version of Eisler was selected.


Written in 1949, the East German national anthem reflects the early stages of German separation, in which continuing progress towards reunification of the occupation zones was seen by most Germans as appropriate and natural. Consequently, Becher's lyrics develop several connotations of "unity" and combine them with "fatherland" (einig Vaterland), meaning Germany as a whole. However, this concept soon would not conform to an increasingly icy Cold War context, especially after the Berlin Wall had been erected in 1961 by the East German government.[1]

In 1973, East and West Germany were admitted to the United Nations simultaneously, following talks between the two governments that conferred a degree of mutual recognition. The term Germany was later removed from the East German constitution, and only the national anthem's tune was played on official occasions.[2] No new lyrics were ever written to replace Becher's which continued to be used unofficially, especially after die Wende in late 1989: once it became clear that the countries were actually moving towards reunification, East German television Deutscher Fernsehfunk reinstated the work and signed off every night with a joyous symphonic rendition of the vocal arrangement, accompanying picturesque footage of East Germany's main tourist attractions.[3]

"Auferstanden aus Ruinen" ceased to be a national anthem when the German Democratic Republic dissolved and its states joined the Federal Republic of Germany in the German reunification in 1990. "Deutschlandlied", composed in 1841, became the national anthem of a united Germany again. East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maizière had proposed that Becher's lyrics be added to the united German national anthem, but this was rejected by his West German counterpart, chancellor Helmut Kohl.[4]

At the end of its last broadcast on 2 October 1990, the East German international radio broadcaster Radio Berlin International signed off with a vocal version of the East German national anthem.[5]


German original[6]

Auferstanden aus Ruinen
Und der Zukunft zugewandt,
Lass uns dir zum Guten dienen,
Deutschland, einig Vaterland.
Alte Not gilt es zu zwingen,
Und wir zwingen sie vereint,
Denn es muss uns doch gelingen,
Daß die Sonne schön wie nie
Über Deutschland scheint. x2

Glück und Friede sei beschieden
Deutschland, unserm Vaterland.
Alle Welt sehnt sich nach Frieden,
Reicht den Völkern eure Hand.
Wenn wir brüderlich uns einen,
Schlagen wir des Volkes Feind.
Lasst das Licht des Friedens scheinen,
Dass nie eine Mutter mehr
Ihren Sohn beweint. x2

Lasst uns pflügen, lasst uns bauen,
Lernt und schafft wie nie zuvor,
Und der eignen Kraft vertrauend,
Steigt ein frei Geschlecht empor.
Deutsche Jugend, bestes Streben
Unsres Volks in dir vereint,
Wirst du Deutschlands neues Leben,
Und die Sonne schön wie nie
Über Deutschland scheint. x2

Literal translation[citation needed]

Risen from ruins
And facing the future,
Let us serve you for the good,
Germany, united fatherland.
Old woes are to be overcome
And we overcome them united.
Because we so must succeed,
[So] that the sun beautiful as never [before]
Over Germany shines. x2

Happiness and peace be granted
To Germany, our fatherland.
All the world longs for peace,
Reach your hand out to the peoples.
If brotherly we unite ourselves,
We shall defeat the people's enemy.
Let the light of peace shine
So that a mother never more
Mourns her son. x2

Let us plough, let us build,
Learn and create like never before,
And, confident in existing strength,
A free generation rises up.
German youth, best efforts
Of our people united in you,
You will become Germany's new life.
And the sun beautiful as never,
Over Germany shines. x2

Poetic translation[7]

From the ruins risen newly,
To the future turned, we stand.
Let us serve your good weal truly,
Germany, our fatherland.
Triumph over bygone sorrow,
Can in unity be won.
For we shall attain a morrow,
When over our Germany,
There is shining sun. x2

May both peace and joy inspire,
Germany, our fatherland.
Peace is all the world's desire,
To the peoples lend your hand.
In fraternity united,
We shall crush the people's foe.
Let all paths by peace be lighted,
That no mother shall again
Mourn her son in woe. x2

Let us plough and build our nation,
Learn and work as never yet,
That a free new generation,
Faith in its own strength beget!
German youth, for whom the striving
Of our people is at one,
You are Germany's reviving,
And over our Germany,
There is shining sun. x2

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "East Germany (GDR) – Auferstanden aus Ruinen". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  2. ^ Hymne der DDR at LeMO Archived 5 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Auferstanden aus Ruinen" on YouTube, Deutscher Fernsehfunk
  4. ^ "Neuer Vorschlag: "Auferstanden aus Ruinen" in Nationalhymne?". Rheinische Post. 21 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 April 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  5. ^ RBI, last broadcast, 2 October 1990 on YouTube, Radio Berlin International
  6. ^ Leben Singen Kämpfen. Liederbuch der deutschen Jugend. Berlin: Verlag Neues Leben. 1954. pp. 8–9.
  7. ^ Matthews, Brian (2002). Military Music & Bandsmen of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, 1933–1945. Tomahawk Films. p. 255. ISBN 9780954281205.

External linksEdit