Released by Drafi Deutscher in 1965, this popular Schlager is what me and at least a few others consider the secret German national anthem.

It's probably a bit hyperbolic to say that, but if you're interest in this country in any way, you should know the melody of the chorus by heart. This is not just the only German song, but the only song I know that will play at football stadiums and parties just as well as at weddings or funerals. I've witnessed people - and I mean children, teenagers, elders - randomly start singing the first stanza many times, and usually others will join in within seconds. The message of the chorus is fairly simple (and slightly corny) at first sight:

Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht - Marble, stone and iron break(s)
aber unsere Liebe nicht - but not our love
alles, alles geht vorbei - everything, everything passes
doch wir sind uns treu. - but we are true to each other.

The thing that stirs emotional attachment about these lyrics is something that - I guess - few people grasp rationally: They deny death, yet at the same time the last stanza acknowledges and transcends death: It doesn't say "wir bleiben uns treu" (we stay true to each other), which would mean that faithfulness continues no matter what will happen. It says "wir sind uns treu" (we are true to each other).

This grammatical quirk allows us to look past the fact that there can and will be an end of any kind, it simply acknowledges the present. Because "everything passes", the "but" in the last stanza is up to our own interpretation. It could mean that our faith in our faithfulness will make love last no matter what, it could mean that all that matters is the present, or it could mean that faithfulness is somehow validated and rendered "unbroken" by death.

The song on youtube.

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