Eastern German state premier calls for new national anthem | News | DW | 09.05.2019
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Eastern German state premier calls for new national anthem

Thuringian Premier Bodo Ramelow says he wants a national anthem with which all Germans can identify. Ramelow told a newspaper that the current anthem conjured up visions of Nazi parades for him.

Germany's national anthem is not one with which all Germans can identify and should be replaced by a different one, according to the premier of the eastern state of Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow.

Ramelow, who belongs to the Left party, told the Thursday edition of the Rheinische Post that many Germans from the former communist east of the country still did not join in the singing of the current anthem even 30 years after reunification with the west.

"I would like us to have a really collective national anthem. This wish has unfortunately only ever caused an outcry of indignation," Ramelow told the paper.

He said he himself joined in singing the national anthem, but that he could not help thinking about "Nazi parades from 1933 to 1945" while doing so.

He called for "a new text that is so catchy that everybody can identify with it and say: That is mine."

Read more: Germany's national anthem: A song with a tricky past 

Bodo Ramelow

Ramelow said he had to think of Germany's Nazi past when singing the national anthem

Fraught text

The German national anthem as it is now sung consists of the third verse of the "Song of Germany" by 19th-century poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, sung to a melody by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn. The verse begins with the words "Unity and justice and freedom for the German fatherland."

The Nazis sang only the first verse of the text, which begins "Germany, Germany above all, above all in the world."

Read more: Things to know about Germany's Left party 

Call for gender equality

The anthem, which was first adopted by Germany in 1922, was also criticized last year for the masculine language it contains.

The commissioner for equal opportunity at the Family Ministry, Kristin Rose-Möhring, suggested using "home country" instead of "fatherland," and "bravely with heart and hand" instead of the phrase "brotherly with heart and hand" that occurs later in the verse.

Austria and Canada have both changed their national anthems in the past few years to reflect gender equality.

Communist East Germany had a different national anthem, entitled "Risen from Ruins," during its years of existence from 1949 to 1990.

tj/rt (dpa, AFP)

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