Freitag, 29. Juli 2016

Wolf Biermann - Das geht sein´ sozialistischen Gang (1976)

One of the unsung heroes of the Cold War, poet Wolf Biermann was born in 1936 in Hamburg, Germany. The son of a German communist killed in Auschwitz, Biermann emigrated—“in unbroken humility” - to East Berlin in 1953 - to “sing in revolt” - with Brecht's Berliner Ensemble.
With his aggressive, provocative and ironic lyrics, Biermann criticized the social and political situation, first in the GDR and then, after his expatriation in 1976, in the Federal Republic of Germany.

“I can only love what I am free to leave.”

Wolf Biermann became popular as a performer of his satirical songs and ballads - but - as he grew critical of the régime - was forbidden to perform in East Germany from 1962 - more or less - until 1976 when he was stripped of his citizenship and sent into exile by the politburo - a theatrical gesture - after his concert in Cologne under the sponsorship of the West German metalworkers union.

After being banned from public performance for eleven years, Biermann appeared on September 11, 1976, in the Nikolai Church in Prenzlau. He later claimed that his visit was tolerated because the Stasi confused him with a pastor there of the same name. The Lutheran churches had become places where some opposition to the state could be tolerated, and the good atheist Wolf Biermann found his first audience since 1965 there. Following this performances, the ruling party (the SED) boewed to enormous popular pressure from the IG Metall, the West German metal worker´s union, to allow Biermann to go to West Germany in November 1976. On November 13, 1976, Biermann gave a concert in the Sporthalle in Cologne, which was broadcast on West German television and, of course, seen surrepititiously in East Berlin. His concert was the overt act that enabled the "rotten old men" (his words in a song) of the SED to banish him. The power of his performance was linked to the oppositional message. Poetry read by the elite is much less dangerous than songs or films that reach the masses. The leadership of the SED announced that because Biermann was born in Hamburg (in West Germany), his permission for him to remain in the GDR had been rescinded. Truly scurrilous accounts of his sexual life began to circulate to the media. Three days after his legendary concert in the Cologne sport arena, he was expatriated by the East German party leaders for his "hostile performance" and not permitted to return to the GDR.

Over 100 artists, writers and actors in the socialist German state staged public protests. When the authorities responded with intimidation, jail sentences and bans, masses of intellectuals picked up and left the GDR.
Biermann saw his expatriation as a catastrophe. "I thought it was all over with my life as a singer and poet," he said later.
Indeed, the first years in exile weren't easy. Nevertheless, the "Troubadour of inner German conflict," as the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" called him in a 1987 article, carried on with his career. He published several volumes of lyric and prose and settled old scores with both East and West Germany on concert tours at home and abroad.

“I do not keep silent about my silence.”

Not to be undone - Wolf Biermann - the source of countless poetries and recorded lyrics - returned to perform in East Berlin in 1989, and was named an honorary citizen of Berlin eight years later.

“Still it is taking place - the sunrise. The dark night, still - it is being preformed.”

Wolf Biermann now lives in Hamburg, Germany.

Biermanns legendary 1976 concert was documented on the double-album "Das geht sein´ sozialistischen Gang":

Wolf Biermann - Das geht sein´ sozialistischen Gang
(192 kbps, cover art included)

2 Kommentare:

-Otto- hat gesagt…

Ja, das Kölner Konzert. Nicht schlecht. Danke, zero.

War das nicht, rein zufällig, die Zeit wo auch Keith Jarrett in Köln herumgeklimpert hat (auf ECM)?

zero hat gesagt…

Keith Jarrett war Biermann wohl ein Jahr voraus:

Kommentar veröffentlichen