Here’s a song in our hymnal that grew out of the Carlsbad Decrees in Germany, around the 1840s. It made it’s way into our hymnal, published close to 30 years ago in 1993 under the section ‘The Life Of Integrity’ as #291 Die Gedanken Sind Frei.
It became popular just eight years after it’s first round in the zeitgeist during the German Revolution. And again it sprang forth in Germany through the 1930s and 1940s. Rev Kimberley Debus writes in her blog, Notes From the Far Fringes, there was ‘at least one example of Nazi resistance, a member of the White Rose Resistance (Sophie Scholl) would play the song on her flute outside the prison where her father had been detained for calling Hitler ‘a scourge of God.’ ”
What thoughts do you resist? What thoughts do you embrace?
Take a listen to singers from The Community Church of Chapel Hill and pick out the line that helps you resist:
translation of verse 1 is by Arthur Kevess and new lyrics from Elizabeth Bennett
Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts freely flower.
Die Gedanken sind frei, my thoughts give me power.
No scholar can map them, no hunter can trap them,
no one can deny: Die Gedanken sind frei!
My thoughts are as free as wind o’er the ocean,
and no one can see their form or their motion.
No hunter can find them, no trap ever bind them:
my lips may be still, but I think what I will.
A glimmering fire the darkness will brighten;
my soaring desire all troubles can lighten.
Though prison enfold me, its walls cannot hold me:
no captive I’ll be, for my spirit is free.