Research first published April 17th 2020. Updated January 2nd 2023.
This is a poem by Will Vesper (October 11th 1882 – Mar 14th 1962), a German author, poet and literary critic.
I first came across this poem in the image at the top of this page. Their was no reference as to where the photograph came from who who penned it.
After some research I had determined that this exact image of the German text came from a 19 page booklet from 1940.
This booklet was called Ein Wort an junge Kameradinnen (A Word to Young Comrades) by Gretel und Karl Blome.
It fact it is taken from the 3rd ed., vol. 18 in ‘Schriftenreihe des Rassenpolitischen Amtes der NSDAP und des Reichsbundes deutsche Familie’ (a series of publications by the Racial Policy Office of the NSDAP and the Reichsbund German family).
It was published in Berlin: Verlag Neues Volk, 1940.
You can download an original PDF scan here.
As you can see no name is attributed to the poem.
The text in German reads as follows:
Halte Dein Blut rein,
es ist nicht nur Dein,
es kommt weit her,
es fließt weit hin,
es ist von tausend Ahnen schwer,
und alle Zukunft ruht darin!
Halte rein das Kleid
In English this translates as:
Keep Your Blood pure,
it is not only Yours,
it comes from far away,
it flows far down,
it has the weight of a thousands Ancestors,
and all the Future rests therein!
Keep clean the dress
of your immortality!
I later found the poem officially printed inside a 1941 unabridged two volumes in one Wedding edition of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
This edition was given to all newlyweds during the Third Reich.
As you can see, here it was attributed to Herr Vesper.
The German text of this reads as follows:
Halte Dein Blut rein.
Es ist nicht nur Dein,
Es kommt weit her,
Es fließt weit hin.
Es ist von tausend Ahnen schwer
Und alle Zukunft strömt darin.
Halte rein das Kleid
This 1941 version has slightly different grammar and the word strömt replaces ruht in the 1940 edition above.
In English this translates as:
Keep Your Blood pure.
It is not only Yours,
It comes from far,
It flows far.
It has the weight of a thousand Ancestors
And all the Future flows therein.
Keep clean the Dress
of Your Immortality!
Thus, in this second slightly modified rendition, rests (ruht) becomes flows (strömt).
I have no idea why Vesper’s name was not given in the 1940 booklet.
The second photo above is a cropped version of this picture from the 1941 Wedding edition of Mein Kampf mentioned earlier.
Here are a few more images from within this edition of Mein Kampf:
I don’t know who Margarethe Kassen is, but in 2000 she publishes the poem as below:
Halte dein Blut rein,
es ist nicht nur dein.
Es kommt von weit her,
es fliesst weit hin,
alle Zukunft liegt darin.
Halte rein das Kleid deiner Unsterblichkeit.
Das war deutlich!
Some grammar has changed also and the word reht (rests) from the 1940 edition has been changed here to liegt (lies), as opposed to strömt (flows) from the 1941 copy of Mein Kampf.
In addition she &&&in English&&& removes the line about ancestors, Es ist von tausend Ahnen schwer, and adds Das war deutlich! at the end.
Her version is from this PDF.
Here (left) is a screenshot the page.
It can also be cited as Margarethe Kassen in the 2002 book, Kindheit im Nationalsozialismus aus biographischer Sicht by Vera Schwers. See screenshot below.
In addition, an AfD politican got in trouble for quoting a line from the poem which features on Third Reich posters. See here which links to the Morgenpost article.
In 1943 the book Du stehst im Volk (You are Part of the Folk) by Hans Belstler was published. In it a similar but different poem was published and attributed to Wulf Sörensen (Frithjof Fischer). This poem is taken from Voice of the Ancestors by Wulf Sörensen (Frithjof Fischer) from 1933 and follows:
Du bist nicht heute und bist nicht morgen. Du bist tausend Jahre vor dir und
bist tausend Jahre nach dir.
Tausend Jahre vor dir haben ihr Blut gehütet, daß du so wurdest, wie du bist.
Hüte dein Blut, daß die Geschlechterfolgen der tausend Jahre nach dir dir
Das ist der Sinn des Lebens, daß Gott wach wird im Blute. Aber nur
im reinen Blute ist Gott.
In 1990 Florentine S. Rost van Tonningen included the following uncredited poem, A Son Is Born:
You are not today, and you are not tomorrow,
You are a thousand years before you and
A thousand years after you.
A thousand years before you have watched over
Your blood, to make you the way you are.
Watch over your blood, that those
Coming generations a thousand years
After you will bless you.
This is the meaning of life,
That God awakens in our blood.
But only in the purity of your blood
Can God be found
– Florentine S. Rost van Tonningen, Triumph and Tragedy: Some Personal Remembrances of Dutch and European History in the 20th Century (PDF), Consortium De Levensboom, pg. 113 (Originally published in Dutch in 1990 as “Op zoek naar mijn huwelijksring”. First English printing 1998, translated by P.J. Lemmens). More information here.
Similar sentiments are made in the 1940 book by Kurt Schrey, Du un dein Volk (You and Your Folk).
Heiderust General Cemetery in Rheden contains the grave of Florentine Sophie (Florrie) Rost van Tonningen-Heubel, who died on March 24, 2007.
She was the widow of the deputy leader of the NSB (National Socialist Movement), Meinoud Marinus Rost van Tonningen. After his death in 1945 she continued to insist on the philosophy of National Socialism and was given the nickname “Black Widow”.
The tombstone was designed by herself. The symbol is the Tree of Life which was also used as a symbol by the National Socialists. It was also on her wedding ring, which has been kissed by Adolf Hitler on her marriage.
She had three children, Grimbert (born in 1941), Ebbe (born in 1943) and Herre (born in 1945)