Jedem das Seine

"Jedem das Seine" (German pronunciation: ) is a German proverb meaning "to each his own" or "to each what he deserves". It is a translation of the Latin phrase suum cuique.

During World War II the phrase was used by the Nazis as a motto displayed over the entrance of Buchenwald concentration camp. This has resulted in use of the phrase being considered controversial in modern Germany.

Jedem das Seine has been an idiomatic German expression for several centuries. For example, it is found in the works of Martin Luther and contemporaries.

It appears in the title of a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach, Nur jedem das Seine ("Let all be paid duly"), first performed at Weimar in 1715.

Some nineteenth-century comedies bear the title Jedem das Seine, including works by Johann Friedrich Rochlitz and Caroline Bernstein.

An ironic twist on the proverb, "jedem das Seine, mir das Meiste" ("to each his own, to me the most"), can be traced to Carl Zuckmayer's 1931 play The Captain of Köpenick.

In 1937, the Nazis constructed the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany. The motto Jedem das Seine was placed in the camp's main entrance gate. The gates were designed by Franz Ehrlich, a former student of the Bauhaus art school, who had been imprisoned in the camp because he was a communist.

Several modern advertising campaigns in the German language, including ads for Nokia, REWE grocery stores, Burger King, and Merkur Bank, have been marred by controversy after using the phrase Jedem das Seine or Jedem den Seinen.

This page was last edited on 15 January 2018, at 20:19.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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