Die Moorsoldaten (The Peat Bog Soldiers) is haunting but stirring song of protest, written, composed and first performed in the Nazi concentration camp of Börgermoor by political prisoners in 1933.

Now, Glasgow band The Tenementals will have their newly-released take on the song housed in the archives of the Documentation and Information Center “Emsland Camps”, a few kilometers from the site where the concentration camp song was first performed.

The Tenementals, a band of academics and musicians who came together to delve into the history of Glasgow through the power of music, released two versions of the song on Strength in Numbers Records in November 2023.

One version was in the original German, and one was in both German and English. The Tenementals’ versions featured a new translation and sought to breathe new life into an old song, and, as frontman David Archibald said at the time of its release, "blast it into the future".

READ MORE: German prisoner song of protest brought to new audiences by Glasgow band of academics

The release was received favourably, with one critic describing The Tenementals’ version as "a stunning new version for our times".

The song, however, reached further than the band might have expected when they received a message from Fietje Ausländer on behalf of the Documentation and Information Center "Emsland Camps" in North West Germany.

The center’s purpose is to archive materials related to the history of the local concentration and prisoner of war camps. Due to its national and international fame, "Die Moorsoldaten” has developed into one of the focal points of the archive and its remembrance work. When the Center became aware of The Tenementals’ version, they quickly contacted the band.

Fietje Ausländer said: “The Tenementals’ versions, released 90 years after the song’s premiere in the Börgermoor concentration camp, surprised us in two ways: One might have expected a new interpretation of the three-verse English text version that has been known since the 1930s and used by singers such as Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger and bands from The Dubliners to Lankum.

"The Tenementals, however, decided to take a different route and recorded verses 1, 5 and 6 with new English-language lyrics sung alongside the German original. By integrating the original German verses and elements of the English original, an idiosyncratic connection between history and the present is created.

“The second surprise: One of the two recordings is sung by the band entirely in the original 6-verse German-language version. This is certainly unusual for a band from Scotland! For me, this also expresses great respect, respect for the men who courageously sang this song with these exact words on August 27, 1933 in the presence of the SS guards. Both recordings are wonderful additions to our extensive song archive.”

David Archibald, who is both founding member and frontman for The Tenementals and Professor of Political Cinemas at the University of Glasgow’s School of Culture and Creative Studies, said: “Every band hopes that their music finds resonance with the public, but we could never have imagined that those who have been working on the Börgermoor concentration camp archives would be in touch.

“To have our work housed alongside materials related to the song’s first performance at Borgermoor is an honour. Since they contacted us, we’ve carefully put together a package of materials: a CD of the song, a DVD of a video we produced, press photographs and clippings, and special commemorative screen-prints which we produced to mark the song’s release.

READ MORE: Academics form band to recount radical history of Glasgow through song

“Archives of radical activity create a space for the development of inter-generational solidarity: a space in which artists and activists in the present converse with the ghosts of the past, and of those yet to come. It is a privilege to be part of the conversation.”

Since their debut performance at the 2022 Glasgow Doors Open Festival, which saw the band secure the prestigious for ‘Outstanding Event’ for their performance of ‘A History of Glasgow in Song’,  The Tenementals have performed at events such as the Glasgow Hidden Lane Festival and May Day Glasgow 2023.

The band has been slowly recording a series of songs which explore the radical side of Glasgow’s past, from militant Suffragettes of the early twentieth century to the Sighthill Martyrs of 1820, celebrates the city’s culture of pleasure and excess, interrogates its ongoing entanglements with Empire and slavery, and speculates on where one might find hope in the city. Their debut album will be released later in 2024.