Viruses of All Countries Unite!

Erich Honecker was the penultimate communist leader of the DDR (German Democratic Republic, commonly known as East Germany). In the following satirical video Mr. Honecker returns from the grave to address the crowd during a celebration of the establishment of full totalitarian socialism in Germany thanks to the Wuhan Coronavirus (and with the help of Angela Merkel).

The humor in this piece derives in part from a number of puns and political references that may not be obvious to non-Germans. Check the notes that follow the transcript for explanations of some of the subtleties.

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:19   Are you from the “Aktuellen Kamera”?[1] —Yes!
00:24   Indeed, I am happy about that. See you soon. Keep your distance…
00:32   Please join me in welcoming Uwe Steimle in his prime role as
00:36   Secretary General of the Central Committee
00:39   of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany,
00:42   and Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic …
00:46   Uwe…Uwe… (cheering and clapping)
00:49   I thank you, my dear…huh…
00:52   By the way, I’ve had a mask exemption since ’89.
01:00   Comrades [enjoyed][2], I have here at this wonderful market square,
01:05   it’s like… it’s made especially for Erich here.
01:08   Comrade citizens,
01:12   what the historic mission of the working class
01:17   could not achieve… is now being created by a virus.
01:23   Indeed, a virus of a new type,
01:28   developed and produced
01:31   in the peace laboratories of the Communist Party of China,
01:37   IM Covid[3] grew beyond itself.
01:42   Even more, it could spread,
01:46   assert itself, so to speak, spanning the world.
01:50   That and nothing else was the meaning
01:55   of the Invisible Front.
02:00   Well, whoever laughs last, always laughs in the East.
02:04   Indeed.
02:12   We are only at the beginning, but in the end we will win.
02:17   Restrictions on freedom of travel, border closures
02:21   or lack of toilet paper
02:24   give an idea of where the journey is going.
02:29   Always forward… Crowd: Never backward.
02:33   Of course I am often asked: ”Dear Erich,
02:37   how did you do that? How did you manage that?
02:42   For Socialism, not even 30 years after the fall of the Wall,
02:47   to be established all over Germany?”
02:51   Let me make one thing clear about this, our path is right
02:56   because it is true, and was true…
03:02   isn’t it?
03:05   Overtaking without catching up,
03:10   and without the “heroism” [Heldenmut] of, um, Helmut [Kohl].
03:15   …Helmut was right, excuse me, I’m also a bit excited,
03:20   I don’t see this many people every day.
03:23   Without the courage [Hel(den)mut] of my Angela, huh,
03:28   Angela Merkel, the activist of the last hour,
03:33   we could never have ripped capitalism off its hinges.
03:40   And that… and that, comrade federal citizens,
03:45   on their own territory.
03:49   Through her excellent studies at Lomonosov University,
03:54   she matured to a thousand percent chairman of the Friendship Council.
04:00   Not to forget, responsible for agitation and propaganda.
04:04   Three Cheers for our Angela.
04:08   (Clapping, laughing and booing) … INDEED…
04:13   I’ll have the hall cleared right away… yeah.
04:16   The seed sprouted, the womb was fertile…nevertheless,
04:21   Long live the antiviral protective Wall….
04:24   and right into the heart, have we established her.
04:29   Listen carefully, out of the CDU, Left, Greens, SPD and FDP,
04:34   grew the German Capitalist Unity Party.
04:40   Indeed… and one more thing,
04:46   one more on the side, in OUR German Democratic Republic,
04:51   the “R” number[4] was still a letter.
04:57   And nobody would have dared to get involved with a virus,
05:01   not even with bacteria.
05:04   Well, there are supposed to be countries
05:07   where the press holds the government to account.
05:10   Here in the Federal Republic, the press only cites the government.
05:16   Speaking of which … Indeed, two who understood it, Salzunger…
05:21   Speaking of the press, the chairman of the Bavarian Friendship Council Egon[5], um…
05:28   Egon Söder…
05:31   He is supposed to have approval rate numbers of 94%,
05:36   and those are, ATTENTION, of dizzying heights [swindle][6]
05:42   My dear Markus, today, here from the Schmalkalder[7] market square,
05:46   I call out to you, in May of ‘89 I had
05:50   a 99% approval rate.
05:56   Indeed…
06:01   And six months later… huh…
06:05   So make an effort…
06:08   Put your back into it, we can do it.
06:12   Erich is the best.[8]
06:15   Viruses of all countries unite.
06:20   Small, white peace dove
06:25   fly over the country!
06:29   To all people, great and small,
06:34   you are well-known.
06:38   Fly over the great water,
06:43   over mountain and vale.
06:47   Bring peace to all the people
06:52   greet them a thousand times!
06:56   Thank you all for being here…

Notes (by Hellequin GB):

1.   Aktuelle Kamera (“Current Camera”) was the flagship television newscast of Deutscher Fernsehfunk, the state television broadcaster of the German Democratic Republic (DDR) (known as Fernsehen der DDR from 11 February 1972 to 11 March 1990). On the air from 21 December 1952 (daily broadcasts did not take place until 11 October 1957) to 14 December 1990, Aktuelle Kamera was one of the main propaganda tools of the East German government.
2.   In German Genosse is another word for “comrade”, especially in the Communist sense, but the same word also means “enjoyed” in German.
3.   IM Covid — a play on Angela Merkel’s secret Stasi name “IM Erika”
4.   “R” = R-Wert (The R-value is explained as follows: According to the Robert Koch Institute, the “R” stands for the number of reproductions. This describes the number of people who are infected on average by someone infected with the corona virus. The R-value could therefore also be called the infection rate. This reproduction number or the R-value is calculated retrospectively over several days during the corona pandemic. If the R value is 1, it means that on average a person infected with corona infects one healthy person. However, there may be statistical fluctuations due to reporting delays and estimates. As long as the R value fluctuates around 1, the infection rate stagnates at the same level, according to the federal government.)
5.   “Egon” (Markus) Söder — a reference to Egon Krenz, the last “Emperor” of the DDR before the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
6.   The German word Schwindlig means “dizzy”, but also has another meaning: “swindle” (Schwindler = con artist).
7.   The Schmalkaldic League was a military alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally founded for religious reasons soon after the start of the Reformation, its members later developed the intention that the League would replace the Holy Roman Empire as their focus of political allegiance.
8.   “Erich is the best” is a play on words based on a German proverb: “Ehrlich währt am längsten — Honesty is the best”.

One thought on “Viruses of All Countries Unite!

  1. That was bloody brilliant, only a German could pull off this sarcastic humor that really gets to the heart of the manner.

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