After having read the title, the older ones among us will already have the melody (and the lyrics) on their mind of what is likely to be the most famous German flag song. Almost all children and teenagers got to learn in school at some point: „When the colorful flags fly“ is a flag song from Alfred Zschische who published this flag song for the first time in 1933. The flag song, which expresses a desire to travel and wanderlust, after a short time already enjoyed great popularity and was sung by youth movements and in schools. But even despite the „abuse“ of the flag song by the Nazi regime in Germany of 1935, it enjoyed great popularity after the Second World War and continues to do so until today. Many of us could enjoy singing the flag song on a school trip to the Harz Mountains.
Since the Nazi regime in Germany used this very positive flag song in a modified version – the third verse was removed – to achieve the cooptation of children while they were still very young, the lyrics were often changed and parodied later on. A lot of people wrongly believe until today that the flag song „When the colorful flags fly“ is a Nazi song. The author of the flag song Alfred Zschiesche was even affected by persecution and the prohibition of youth associations like scout groups prior to and during World War II.
Therefore we should see the famous German flag song as what it is – a song to bring us into a traveling mood, resonating with a little wanderlust.