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 Lyrics 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 Comment

    This 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 Comment

    Birkenau 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 Comment

    oh 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 Comment

    the 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 Comment

    I 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 Comment

    There 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 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    blue -- 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 Comment

    I 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 Comment

    Perhaps Swayback, Ripcord, and Parachute Face were nicknames of either people or the torture they'd been assigned, like what was said about the parachutists drowning, that was a torture treatment. I can only imagine what swayback and ripcord were... O.o

    GilliLeeon August 17, 2011   Link

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