Ich zähle täglich meine Sorgen

There is one line in this movie that the captain uses every time he gets frustrated or mad. Unfortunately, there is no captions, and my familiarity with German vocabulary is not that high. The best I can get is "Himmel ....... ein Buch." Not that great... Could somebody watch this and see if they can understand what he is saying? The clip starts just a few seconds before he says it. I would like to know the German, and if it's an idiom, the English as well.

1 Answer 1


He says: "Himmeldonnerwetter, Mast- und Schornsteinbruch!".

Himmeldonnerwetter is a quite common German phrase used to express outrage or strong excitement; it is not that widespread amongst young folks though. The English counterpart is For heaven's sake!.

Mast- und Schornsteinbruch seems to be the captain's own curse expression derived from the idiom Mast- und Schotbruch which is the seamen's version of Hals- und Beinbruch ("Break a leg!", "Good luck!"). Of course, it is meant to be a curse expression rather than a good wish here. In older German films, you will often notice characters having some individual curse or outrage phrases which they hold on to use, but they are not necessarily common German idioms. Instead, they are meant to provide the actors with a likeable personality without using too strong bad words which would likely be censored.

  • 1
    They're also meant to give an impression of impassioned or even obscene cursing without in fact showing any (because of the censors). Dec 26, 2014 at 7:57
  • Thanks for making me "older folk"... I tend to use the phrase with my kids, usually after the umptenth request to do / stop something. Might be regional, though, I'm in SW Germany. Hubby uses it, too.
    – Stephie
    Dec 26, 2014 at 10:40

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