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For my Mother, Gertrude Emily Krey née Behrens

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O Täler Weit, O Höhen (My Mother’s Favorite Song) Here is a translation by Anna L. Waring, beautifully done, but not too close to the German:

1. O Täler weit, O Höhen, O schöner grüner Wald,  img020

du meiner Lust und Wehen, andächt’ger Auf-ent-halt!

Da draussen, stets betrogen, saust die geschäft’ge Welt

Schlag noch einmal die Bogen um mich, du grünes Zelt.

Schlag noch einmal die Bogen um mich, du grünes Zelt.

2. Wenn es beginnt zu tagen, die Erde dampft und blinkt,

die Vögel lustig schlagen, das dir dein Herz erklingt:

da mag vergehn, verwehen das trübe Erdenleid,

da sollst du auferstehen in junger Herrlichkeit.

da sollst du auferstehen in junger Herrlichkeit.

3. Im Walde steht geschrieben ein stilles, ernstes Wort

vom rechten tun und Lieben und was des Menschen Hort.img022 img0231

Ich habe treu gelesen die Worte schlicht und wahr,

und durch mein ganzes Wesen wards unausprechlich klar.

4. Bald werd ich dich verlassen, fremd in die Fremde gehn,

auf bundtbewegten Gassen des Lebens Schauspiel sehn.

Und mitten in dem Leben wird deines Ernsts Gewalt

mich einsamen erheben, so wird mein Herz nicht alt.

mich einsamen erheben, so wird mein Herz nicht alt.

Muttis Lieblingslied

Worte: Joseph, Freiherr von Eichendorff, 1788-1857

Weise: Felix Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, 1809-1847

A quick translation: (- perhaps I can get back to it.) Below is another translation, penciled in by my sister Tirzah. I do not know if they are her words.

1. O valleys wide and mountain heights, img024

Oh, beautiful green forest

You are my joy and yearning,

my devotional visiting place

Outside constantly getting betrayed

The busy and hectic world rushes by

Pitch the pole of your green tent over me one more time

Pitch the bow of your green tent over me one more time

2. When the day begins to dawn

the earth steams and blinks

the birds flap their happy wings

and the heart with gladness sings

then dreary, earthly sorrow passes on its way

and you will rise in splendour

of your youth upon that day

and you will rise in splendour

of your youth upon that day

3. In the forest there is written

a silent, serious word

about doing right and loving

what belongs to being human

faithfully have I read your words

and in my whole being

they became inexpressibly clear

and in my whole being

they became inexpressibly clear

4. Soon I will have to leave you

and as a stranger go into a strange land

Into alleyways of motion color

and theatrical spectacles of life

And in the midst of my life your pure force

Will lift my loneliness

And my heart will never grow old.

It will lift my loneliness

And my heart will never grow old.


I played this with my trumpet and then Mark, my son, and I sang it together for everyone (in German of course).

For Mrs. Gertrude Emily Krey née Behrens

“My cup overflows” (Psalm 23:5)

I believe Mom experienced this blessing – in the overflowing suffering she recorded in her wonderful book about her life and the family in World War II[1] and also in the overflow of blessings she received.

Just see her sitting now with Papa, who is standing up and singing the “Old One Hundreth”:

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow….”

And they overflowed in her life-time to the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ her Lord and our Lord. Sixteen children! All her grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Fifty years of marriage with her husband Rudolf. Like the huge aluminum bread pan that she used, in which to kneed bread-dough, and as large as it was, the dough was overflowing! How many loaves of bread do you think she must have baked in her life to feed all of us children?

Then she became over 96 years of age. And that after having had 16 children! Perhaps some of that age also meant her suffering was overflowing too, but it was also sheer blessings that overflowed.

And what do you make of the devotion of Hannah and Tirzah who have devoted so many self-less years of care-giving to her and the way everyone else jumped in to put in their measure of devotion? Add to that the overwhelming measure of devotion of Hannah and Tirzah: and it amounts to

“a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over…”

that God put into Mom’s lap (Luke 6:38 ) for the measure that she gave was returned to her by her Lord, many-fold.

All of us are like baskets of living loaves, each of our families, living loaves of Mom’s home-made bread who have been gathered together here after her great feast, overflowing much more abundantly even after her feast than before we were filled by it.

All of us are the loaves that Mom gathered into baskets to feed the world with the true bread of life, Jesus Christ our Lord, who wants to have God’s blessings flow over all the world, the way Mom gave us a foretaste of them here, by her great faith, love, and hope.

Now these last days were certainly difficult – but Christ will change your suffering into a deeper and richer quality of love and life, by which you and I will be able to give and share the Gospel of Jesus’ love in an even greater measure.

So Pop heard an angel’s voice in that choir way back when, and married her – and even married her again for good measure.[2] And I’m sure now with Christ and all the Apostles and preachers of the Gospel, like Rudolf, she’ll be needed there. Especially since thousands and thousands of children have died in the Tsunami – and God needs more good mothers, practical mothers, to gather them together in heaven.

We love you Mom, and we commit your soul to the one who loved you without measure, who has loved you from time everlasting and needs you for all the newly arrived children. Amen.

So spricht der Herr:

ich hab dich je und je geliebt, darum hab ich dich zu mir gezogen aus lauter Güte! (Jer. 31:3)

Thus saith the Lord:

I have loved you with an everlasting love,

I have always and forever loved you,

and thus I have drawn you to myself out of

pure goodness!

From your son,


(January 4, 2005)

[1] My mother wrote a book about her family’s trials and sufferings during the war in Germany. Tirzah is editing it. I’m not sure they’ve agreed on a title yet.

[2] My father became a helping pastor in a church in Silesia, Germany and heard a lovely voice in the choir. When he went up to see whose it was, he fell in love with her and asked for her hand in marriage. Because he had to go to America and she could not follow him, he first married her in Germany and then as his wife, she was given a visa to follow him, and they married again in “Union City, Connect-i-cut”, he liked to joke.

June 10, 2009: This is a song that my mother loved to sing. I found it recently on a German website.

Laßt mich gehn, laßt mich gehn,
daß ich Jesum möge sehn!
Meine Seel ist voll Verlangen,
Ihn auf ewig zu umfangen
und vor seinem Thron zu stehn.

Süßes Licht, süßes Licht,
Sonne, die durch Wolken bricht:
o wann werd ich dahin kommen,
daß ich dort mit allen Frommen
schau dein holdes Angesicht?

Ach wie schön, ach wie schön
ist der Engel Lobgetön!
Hätt ich Flügel, hätt ich Flügel,
flög ich über Tal und Hügel
heute noch nach Zions Höhn!

Wie wird’s sein, wie wird’s sein,
wenn ich zieh in Salem ein,
in die Stadt der goldnen Gassen!
Herr, mein Gott, ich kann’s nicht fassen,
was wird das für Wonne sein!

Paradies, Paradies,
wie ist deine Frucht so süß!
Unter deinen Lebensbäumen
wird’s uns sein, als ob wir träumen.
Bring uns, Herr, ins Paradies

Gustav Knak 1806-1878

(I translated this song for Hanna’s Funeral of May 25, 2010)

Paradise, Paradise

1) Let me go, let me go

To see Jesus, oh I know

That my soul is filled with yearning

Forever for him my heart is burning

and to stand before his throne.

2) Gentle rays, gentle rays

Sunlight breaks through cloudy days.

When will the time come, oh how long

When within Thy righteous throng

Shall I see your holy face?

3) Heavenly tones, heavenly tones

Angel choirs around your throne.

With wings to fly, with wings to fly

Over valleys and hills so high

To Zion’s heights, still today alone.

4) How will it be, how will it be

When in Jerusalem we make our entry?

Through the city with streets gold,

Oh Lord, my God, how to behold?

How great the rapture I will feel.

5) Paradise, Paradise

Your dear fruit, so sweet and nice.

Under your trees of life streaming,

It will seem as if we’re dreaming

Bring us, Lord, to Paradise.

Translated by peter krey (5/21/2010)


Written by peterkrey

May 17, 2006 at 12:56 am

2 Responses

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  1. I stumbled upon your site looking for things in German my mother used to say. I was searching beacuse I will be attending her memorail service Sat Sept.19 2009. at Christus Victor Lutheran Church in Baltimore.
    Mom was born in Dundalk MD. and attended Zion Church as a child. Then she went to Berlin with her mother in 1936 after the death of her father. They did not return to the US even after many urgings by family members during the early years of Hitler’s leadership. She was confirmed in St Thomas Kirche in Berlin. Mom was able to leave Berlin and return to the US in 1946 after the war. She returned to Zion and after I came along joined Christus Victor. I’m not sure why I tell you all of this except that in reading your site I was surprised to see many places I have been including Dahlem. Barb

    Barb McCrea

    September 18, 2009 at 1:59 am

    • dear Barb,

      in many ways the internet is very personal and impersonal at the same time. You do not know me and I do not know you, but here in this computer space we suddenly meet and relate. I am thankful that your post really responds to mine. Many comments show that people only want to advertise themselves and their products on my website. But your journey in life and mine have real intersections. My mother and family returned to Germany in 1939. We were refugees, however, most of the whole time we were there, because of my father’s American citizenship. I was born over there, but came here when I was three and a half years old. After seminary, I preached and ministered in Berlin for four years, half of the time in the Sanct Annen Kirche in Dahlem. I preached for the St. Michael’s Day service in Zion Baltimore a few years ago, when I was the pastor of Zion, Philadelphia.
      In addition, because the name “Krey” is not very familiar, people often say “McCrea”, which is your name.
      I covet the response I get to my website, because I seem to put a lot of precious time into it with very little return, even though my site averages over eighty hits a day. I try to put my heart into it.


      October 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm

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