"Herb Girls Of Birkenau" as written by and Melora "rasputina" Creager....
Experiment victims walk by on a hill
With berries in aprons, I see them still
See black empty eyes staring, no hair, yet ahead
There's no dignity there, they're not living, not dead

Swayback, and ripchord and parachute face
Were pulled from the water and put in a place
I've not been to, but what you'll find
Is the kommandment hoarding the vegetable rinds

It's not like they mattered
Who sucked out your spirit?
Listen how we shout at them
They can't hear it

It's not fair
And it seems impossible
That it happened at all
That there were people who saw
The herb girls of birkenau

The herb girls of birkenau walk by on a hill
With berries in aprons, I still see them still

It's not fair
And it seems impossible
That it happened at all
That there were people who saw
The herb girls

But what's fair?
Anything is possible
But can you understand that there were
People who saw the herb girls?

It's not fair
And it seems impossible
That it happened at all
That there were people who saw
The herb girls of birkenau


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

"Herb Girls of Birkenau" as written by Melora "rasputina" Creager

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Herb Girls Of Birkenau song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment"Birkenau itself is a group of separate camps, each of which is designated by a letter of the alphabet: Lager A, Lager B, Lager C, etc. There are two Lagers for women, or Frauenläger"
    -Birkenau: The Camp of Death
    Book by Marco Nahon, Jacqueline Havaux Bowers, Steven Bowman; University of Alabama, 1989
    Birkenau was a nazi death camp during WWII, that had a section where women were kept. Rasputina is singing from the point of view of a person exempt from these camps but still sees whats happening inside and questions the fairness.
    "With berries in aprons" - they ate all they could find which were mostly berries
    this song makes infinatly more sense when one understands the references to nazi germany
    Bellus X Somniumon May 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is truly beautiful (despite its references to these hideous girls). I really want to know what it means, but I still think it's a cool song. It's saddening but somehow makes me feel stronger... Heh...
    Rasputinaon April 29, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBirkenau was a death camp complex in the concentration camp Auschwitz, during WWII in Gemany.

    "Experiment victims walk by on a hill
    With berries in aprons, I still see them."
    In the camps, people had horrible experiements performed on them. They hid and hoarded whatever food they could, to stay alive.

    "Still see black empty eyes staring, no hair, yet ahead.
    There's no dignity there. They're not living not dead."
    The people's hair was shaved off, and they eventually became dead inside, because of what happened to them. They had no more dignity.

    "Swayback and Ripcord and parachute face
    Were pulled from the water and put in a place
    I've not been to, but what you'll find
    Is the kommandant hoarding the vegetable rinds."
    The people at concentration camps were led into showers, claiming they were going to be cleaned. But, no water came out of the showerheads. Instead, Zyklon B gas poured into the room, killing them all. Then, they were put into crematories where they were burned into ashes. Also, all of them were starving because the leader of the camp hoarded the food for himself.

    "It's not like they mattered.
    Who sucked out your spirit?
    Listen how we shout at them.
    They can't hear it. "
    To the Germans, the people in concentration camps didn't matter. So, they took away their spirit, making them practically dead inside. They screamed at them, but they learned to block everything out.

    "It's not fair.
    And it seems impossible
    That it happened at all.
    That there were people who saw
    The Herb Girls of Birkenau."
    That part is pretty self explanatory.

    "But what's fair?
    Anything is possible.
    But can you understand that there were
    people who saw the herb girls?"
    That part is also pretty self explanatory.
    CrimsonTearson June 25, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh my... i just returned from a trip to poland; while there i visited five different camps, birkenau included. this song holds so much emotion for me right now... i can't listen to it without crying and seeing everything all over again behind my eyes.

    i'm also reading a survivor's account - "smoke over birkenau" - which details the most unbelievable horrors.
    Salineon May 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe speciality about Herb Girls is that the song is obout the absurd thae the world kept it's mouth shut, knowing about the slaughtery, people who lived a few miles away and were aware of the smell of the burned flesh, seeing the people, skinny scared and exhausted, yet the people who trully helped, are so few...
    Mettaflareon April 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really agree with CrimsonTears, yet this part-
    "Swayback and Ripcord and parachute face
    Were pulled from the water and put in a place
    I've not been to, but what you'll find
    Is the kommandant hoarding the vegetable rinds."
    could also have a different meaning. one of the experiments thye performed was testing how ong a downed parachutist could survive in freezing water. they actually took men, suited them up like a parachutist and seen how long until they died in the freezing water. insane! such horror
    PCExLOVExMUSICon January 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere are a lot of little pieces of this song that I don't understand (swayback? Vegetable rinds?), but, as a friend of mine once put it, "Melora reads history books like I eat whoopie pies." You can be assured that every single lyric in this song holds many layers of historical significance.
    blue25000000on February 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentblue -- the "vegetable rinds" (and the kommandant hoarding them) refers to the lack of food for the prisoners at the concentration camps. what they got, mostly, was watered-down barely-coffee and soup which sometimes MAYBE had a piece of celery or lettuce in it... people who found food were very lucky, but mostly those "in charge" would keep it for themselves and ignore the prisoners. i'm not sure what "swayback" refers to, though.
    Salineon September 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think "swayback" is describing some sort of deformity (perhaps caused by the medical experimentation in the camps).

    "Swayback" is apparently slang for "Lordosis" which is a type of curvature of the spine.
    malchik1on June 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm from Poland, so about Birkenau (I prefer polish 'Brzezinka', it sounds better) we are learning from earliest years of our lives. I agree, it was so insane ant unfair for those people...
    Actually, the "experiment" from PCExLOVExMUSIC's comment was called "wąż" ("hose"). they tied people to pillars (on winter only) and doused them from fire hoses.
    Also, they were cutting deeply young girls and putting into herbs, glass, plastic and all that rubbish, then stitched it. it was really insane (they was saying that "it was only for medic and for good of The Third Reich") and i think these poor girls from song are victims of that torture (oh, sorry, "experiment").
    And CrimsonTears is right, but only in half... Sometimes at showers they were really cleaned, sometimes it wos Zyclon B... They never knew, people who survived Auschwitz are always telling "we never knew - was it life or was it death this day...?".
    I think narrator is one of those persons and it's really touching. Her friends survived or they was killed? Ran or were catched?
    God, I hate Nazi soooo much. And please, NEVER tell anyone "it was Polish concentration camps"... It was Nazist, came from The Third Reich...
    valenon August 30, 2010   Link

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