I was reading the wiki page about the WW2 song We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line and there is a line there:

Bis zum Wäschetag, ja bis zum Wäschetag

that was translated to:

From one Washing Day to the next Washing Day

Is this translation correct?

  • 2
    It's not a literal translation. Poetic freedom, I guess.
    – teylyn
    Mar 14, 2013 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


Basically that line is just filled by repeating the phrase for reasons of rhythm and emphasis. You must remember that "doing the laundry" (in the sense of cleaning away the Germans) is the topic of the song and that "Waschtag" has the figurative meaning of "the day when all scores will be settled, all unfinished business will be cleaned up, the day of retribution" in German. See this newspaper article for a contemporary use of the word. The "ja" between the two repetitions is a typical connector between such repetitions in songs in German and only adds emphasis, although you might spell out this emphasis as "indeed" or "make sure to":

Sing this song ...
until washing day, indeed make sure you sing it until washing day.

In English songs "yes", "yeah", "come on" and similar fillers have the same function.


For me it seems more like meaning "To the Washing Day, yes to the Washing Day", since "Bis" means "to" (or "until") in German.

  • Welcome to GL&U, Jane Doe! The English translation on that page is terrible. Maybe it fits the music or something. I'd say "up until" would better translate the "bis zu(m)" construction.
    – Kevin
    Mar 15, 2013 at 0:19

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