Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


We are officially in love with three deceased persons: with Mark Twain, with Bette Davis and with Hildegard Knef. What they all shared was unbelievable if unlikely talent, class, a healthy dose of self-confidence and wit.

And since Hildegard Knef, a Berlinerin par excellence, will be featured in one of our next posts as well as in a book (a project we are proud to be part of), watching, reading and listening to Berlin´s greatest actress (apologies, Ms Dietrich), chanson singer, writer and a fabulous lady to boot is what´s filling the working days right now.

Here is our ever favourite song about Berlin that Hildegard Knef not only sang but also written herself.

Here´s the greatest declaration of love for this city ever spoken or turned into a tune. We could not possibly say it better ourselves.

(German text from Wikipedia, the copyright if not exactly flawless English translation by notmsparker).

Berlin, dein Gesicht hat Sommersprossen,
und dein Mund ist viel zu gross,
dein Silberblick ist unverdrossen,
doch nie sagst du: »Was mach ‘ich bloss?«

Berlin, du bist viel zu flach geraten
für die Schönheitskonkurrenz.
Doch wer liebt schon nach Metermassen,
wenn du dich zu ihm bekennst?

Berlin, du bist die Frau mit der Schürze,
an der wir unser Leben lang ziehn.
Berlin, du gibst dem Taufschein die Würze,
und hast uns den ‘Na und’ als Rettungsring verliehn.

Berlin, deine Stirn hat Dackelfalten,
doch was wärst du ohne sie?
Wer hat dich bloss so jung gehalten,
den zum Schlafen kommst du nie.

Berlin, mein Gemüt kriegt Kinderaugen,
und mein Puls geht viel zu schnell,
nimmst du mich voller Selbstvertrauen
an dein verknautschtes Bärenfell.


Berlin, your face is full of freckles
And your mouth is much too wide.
Your silver eyes are always watchful
Yet you never, never doubt.

Berlin, you´re much too flat of landscape
To be the prettiest in the land.
But what do lovers care about metres
When you gave your vow to them?

Berlin, you´re that lady with an apron
At whose strings we pull lifelong.
Berlin, you spice up our baptism water
And save us daily with your “So what?”

Berlin, your forehead has deep wrinkles
But you were not you without them deep.
Tell, who´s been keeping you so young,
After all, you never sleep.

Berlin, I look around again with kid´s eyes
And much too fast is my heartbeat,
When you clasp me with assurance
In your shaggy, warm bear grip.


  1. tikerscherk
    Jan 16, 2015

    I Love this song as I adore The Knef. Thank you for this post!

  2. raffine
    Jan 16, 2015

    She’s a great stylist. Her interpretation of Cole Porter songs is worth a listen.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on Jan 16, 2015 by in Berlin, history, history of Berlin, MUSIC, MUSIC SOOTHES THE SOUL and tagged , , , , , , .

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