Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden

“Der gute Kamerad” (“The good Comrade”), also known as “I had a comrade”, is a traditional lament of the German Armed Forces. The text was written by the German poet Ludwig Uhland in 1809. In 1825, the composer Friedrich Silcher set it to music. “The Good Comrade” plays an important ceremonial role in the German Armed Forces and is an integral part of a military funeral.

The song has also become traditional in obsequies of the Military of Austria, the Austrian firebrigades and the highly prussianized Chilean Army. It is also used to some degree in the French Army. When the song is played, soldiers are to salute, a custom shared only by national anthems. Occasionally the song is played at civil ceremonies, most often when the deceased had been affiliated with the military. It is also commonly sung at the funerals of members of a Studentenverbindung. Finally, the song is often played on Volkstrauertag, the German Remembrance Day, at memorials for the fallen.

“I once had a comrade,
you won’t find a better one.
The drum was rolling for battle,
he was marching at my side
in the same pace and stride.
A bullet flew towards us
for him or meant for me?
It did tear him away,
he lies beneath my feet
like it was a piece of me.
´wants to reach his hand to me,
while I reload my gun.
“Can’t give you my hand for now,
you rest in eternal life
My good comrade!”

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