Tuesday, July 01, 2008

White sheet - red flag

In Bertolt Brecht’s poem ‘Rapport from Germany’ (1935), workers raise a red flag on the factory roof. The storm troops approach and brutally beat up the workers who refuse to name the person who did it. The next day, again there is a red flag on the factory roof, but when the storm troops approach, only women are there – looking at the roof in silence. They too are beaten and interrogated and tell their tormentors that this flag is the sheet in which one of the workers was carried home and died: ‘we are not to blame for the colour, it is red from the blood of someone who was murdered.'

"Und das Pruegeln beginnt wieder. Im Verhoer
Sagen die Frauen aus: Diese Fahne
Ist ein Bettlaken, auf dem
Trugen wir gestern einen weg, der gestorben ist.
Wir sind nicht schuld an dieser Farbe, die es hat.
Die ist rot von dem Blut des Ermordeten, wisst ihr."

Brecht, Bertold (1984), Die Gedichte von Bertolt Brecht in einem Band, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, p. 545, 546


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