Military Marches and Music from the Third Reich and WW2-era.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: WWII Entertainers, Wagners & Hitler, SS, Nazi Uniforms, Third Reich Flags, WW2 Movies, Films, Re-enactment.
Orchestra and Politics: music in the Third Reich
William Poulos explores the difficult relationship between an artist`s craft and their ideology
Lost songs of the Holocaust found in UA archives
In the final months of WWII, as Allied Forces began to liberate the prisoners of Nazi concentration camps, they captured on film the horrors they saw around them. Soon, the whole world saw — images of skeletal survivors bearing silent witness to what they and millions more had been forced to endure. Dr. David Boder was determined to give the survivors a voice. In the summer of 1946, the psychologist interviewed at least 130 Jewish survivors in nine languages in refugee camps in France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. With a wire recorder — then considered state-of-the-art equipment — and 200 spools of steel wire, Boder preserved some of the first oral histories of concentration camp survivors. He also recorded song sessions and religious services.
Rallying the nation: 5 famous Soviet songs from WWII
On the eve of Victory Day, RBTH remembers the most renowned songs from the war years – songs whose popularity helped to inspire the Soviet Union in its fight against Nazi Germany.
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Auschwitz survivor on how cello saved her life - and playing for Nazi doctor Josef Mengele
With an Auschwitz camp number tattooed on her arm, 18-year-old Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was dragged away to audition for her life. As a new arrival to the Nazi death camp in 1943, she faced being murdered in the gas chambers within weeks. But the 90-year-old holocaust survivor knows there was just one reason she made it out of the horror alive – her cello. `I was asked what I did before the war and mentioned I used to play. Unbelievably this woman said, ‘Fantastic, you will be saved.`" She joined the Women`s Orchestra Of Auschwitz – a 40-strong group set up by order of the SS as a distraction from their role as mass murderers. On one occasion Angel Of Death Josef Mengele demanded to hear Schumann` s Träumerei.
The Nazis` 10 Control-Freak Rules for Jazz Performers: A Strange List from World War II
While it`s no great surprise that Nazis hated jazz, it seems they expressed their disapproval in a very oddly specific way, at least in the recollection of Czech writer Josef Skvorecky. He recounts from memory a set of ten bizarre regulations issued by a Gauleiter, a regional Nazi official, that bound local dance orchestras during the Czech occupation. (1) Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoires of light orchestras and dance bands. (4) o-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs).
Video: Anita Lasker Wallfisch: A surviving member of the Women`s Orchestra in Auschwitz
Anita Lasker Wallfisch, a surviving member of the Women`s Orchestra in Auschwitz, told BBC Newsnight that her ability to play the cello saved her life.
Vienna Philharmonic and the Jewish musicians who perished under Hitler
On 23 March 1938, the violinist Viktor Robitsek received a curt note from the management of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. It told him he was being fired. Robitsek`s "crime" had nothing to do with his musical talents: he was Jewish. 11 days earlier Hitler`s troops had marched into Vienna. On the 75th anniversary of Austria`s fateful Anschluss with Germany, the world`s most famous orchestra is finally revealing some of its dark secrets. A panel of historians allowed access to its archives has discovered that five Jewish musicians perished in Nazi death camps or ghettos. Two more died after persecution. In total 13 Jews were driven from the orchestra.
Arshanskaya sisters survived Holocaust by playing piano for Nazi Generals
On a frigid December day in 1941, German soldiers stormed into the house at 48 Katsarskaya Street, rounded up Zhanna`s entire family and shoved them into a long line of Jews forced to march out of Kharkov. During the death march her father Dimitri Arshansky, realizing that he could not save both his girls, pulled out his gold pocketwatch and flashed it in front of a guard. He told the guard: please let his little girl go. He knew Zhanna, the adventurous one, had a chance to survive. As the guard took the bribe and she fell out of line. A few days later Zhanna was reunited with her sister Frina. To this day she does not know how Frina escaped. Later a piano tuner at the orphanage heard her play one day and offered them jobs with a musical troupe that entertained the Nazis.
Legendary D-Day piper Bill Millin passes away
Under the fire of Nazi guns and wading through a sea red with the blood, Bill Millin struggled towards the D-Day invasion beach with the commandos of the 1st Special Service Brigade. Amid the noise of battle and cries of the injured, Millin only just caught the five words. "Give us `Highland Laddie` man!" shouted Lord Lovat, the charismatic Chief of Clan Fraser and Brigadier of the 2,500 commandos, who was determined to put some backbone into his forces. Obediently, Millin put the mouthpiece of his bagpipes to his lips, ignored the thundering crash of gunfire - and played as he had never played before.
The Terezín ghetto was home to a remarkable array of musicians, composers and theatrical artists
After the Terezin ghetto was set up and the first "transports" arrived in 1941, cultural life sprang from the the talent confined in the camp. With time, the concerts, cabarets, plays, schooling and lectures came to be tolerated by the Nazis, as a means of pacification - and in 1943 even encouraged. In 1944, the SS "beautified" the camp and invited the Red Cross to tour the camp and see a performance of the children`s opera Brundibár, written by one of the camp`s leading composers, Hans Krása. A Nazi propaganda film was made - The Führer Gives a City to the Jews - featuring the performance.
Photographs of German Musikkorps - Axis History Forum thread
Photographs of German Musikkorps - thread at the Axis History Forum.
World War II veterans hunted down in Russia to pay for the WWII songs they sang in an event
Music played an important part during World War II. It was used to boost the morale of soldiers, and ever since war songs have lived on with those that survived the combat. In 2009 a WW2 veterans choir held a concert in Samara, singing the nostalgic songs that helped them through the fighting. Now the Russian Authors Society (RAS) has filed a claim: since the war songs the veterans sang are copyrighted, fees have to be paid. The veterans are angry, many simply don`t understand what is happening. "It is unacceptable that those who sing the wonderful songs of WWII will have to pay a bribe," said Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov.
Famous Irish musician Sean Dempsey played for Adolf Hitler in 1936 - And führer loved it
Newly released historical photos reveal that Irish musician Sean Dempsey played for Adolf Hitler in 1936, and the Nazi dictator loved his music. Dempsey, an uileann piper, was invited to play for Hitler and Joseph Goebbels during a visit to Berlin after being told that Hitler was an Irish folk music fan. But when he arrived there was no room for him to sit, which he needed to play. However, Hitler jumped up and ordered a SS member down on his hands and knees and that Dempsey sit on him while he played. After he performed, Hitler gave him with a gold fountain pen while Goebbels applauded wildly.
Exhibit explores the use of classical music in the Third Reich
An exhibit "Blood and Spirit: Bach, Mendelssohn and Their Music in the Third Reich", at the Johann Sebastian Bach Museum in Eisenach, focuses on classical composers Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn and Johann Sebastian Bach, whose works were tied into Nazi idealism. Blood and Spirit explores the Nazi`s use of musicians for political and social manipulation. "Most visitors are very surprised, because they didn`t know about Bach`s role under the Nazis. They had no clue... that he was played at Nazi party rallies," said museum director Joerg Hansen. 15,000 visitors, including many foreign tourists, have seen the show after it opened.
Music in Desperate Times: US group re-creates Nazi death camp orchestra
When Gustav Mahler`s niece greeted new arrivals at a Nazi death camp, she knew that any woman who got off the train with a musical instrument had a chance to live. Women in Alma Rose`s orchestra were forced to play for SS officers at the Birkenau concentration camp. All the women survived, except Rose. Now, an American orchestra (http://arschoralis.org/) is honoring to those musicians with concerts in the US and Germany titled "Music in Desperate Times: Remembering The Women`s Orchestra of Birkenau." During the 18 months the Birkenau orchestra existed it also played marches for emaciated prisoners as they struggled to walk to their forced labor tasks.
Adored by Adolf Hitler, Gay Tenor with Jewish wife thrived in Third Reich
A new release highlights the strange career of Max Lorenz, Adolf Hitler`s favorite tenor. Though homosexually inclined and married to a Jew, he flourished in Nazi Germany. Had Lorenz been a singer of Mozart or Puccini he and his wife would have ended up in the Nazi camp Theresienstadt. But Lorenz focused in the heroes of Richard Wagner, especially Siegfried. "Max Lorenz: Wagner`s Mastersinger, Hitler`s Siegfried" is a welcome combo set of a biographical DVD and a CD of highlights from a 1938 "Siegfried" performance in Buenos Aires. The DVD includes archival footage, interviews, and documents.
Nazi lies, hate emerge in film about Carmina Burana composer Carl Orff
Carl Orff`s 1937 cantata "Carmina Burana" celebrates the joys of life. It also hides a dark secret, as documentary "O Fortuna" by Tony Palmer reveals. After its premiere in front of the top Nazis, "Carmina Burana" catapulted Orff (1895-1982) into the ranks of the Third Reich`s most favored composers. While he privately viewed the National Socialists philistines, he still accepted their flattery. At the end of the war, a de-Nazification officer told that if Orff could prove he had helped to overthrow the Nazi regime his name would be cleared as a Nazi sympathizer. Orff lied that he`d been a member of the White Rose underground resistance group.
Joza Karas recovered music from the Terezin concentration camp
Joza Karas, who tracked down music and stories of composers who managed to do masterly work in a Nazi concentration camp, passed away at the age 82. His book "Music in Terezin, 1941-1945" recorded the prospering musical life in the horrible Terezin concentration camp. Karas collected over 50 pieces of the music written there and produced editions that have been widely performed. The Nazis made propaganda use of the 4 concert orchestras and many chamber groups at Terezin. In a legendary deception, when the Red Cross went to inspect the camp in 1944, the Nazis sent the old and sick to gas chambers and even opened a chocolate shop.
The story behind the song Lili Marlene
In 1915, as a soldier in WWI, Hans Leip wrote a poem to express the anguish of separation from a girl named Lili. On sentry duty at night, he would get a wave from a nurse going off duty; her name: Marleen. Before WWII broke out, composer Norbert Schultze read Leip`s poems, he caught their mood and composed a melody for the Young Sentry poem. The song was regularly turned down, but by 1939 Schultze had modified the song and singer Lale Andersen reluctantly recorded it. Joseph Goebbels hated the song for not being "military" enough, and banned it. But Field Marshal Erwin Rommel requested Radio Belgrade to play Lili Marlene every night for his Afrika Korps.
The Stalin hymns that are best forgotten - The revival of propagandistic cantatas
Music fans may wonder about the sudden reappearance of a number of classical hymns to Stalin. Around 2003, the 50th anniversary of the death of Sergey Prokofiev, a number of his propagandistic works were played in London and New York, and recorded. These included works such as the Zdravitsa (Hail to Stalin), a cantata for chorus and orchestra written to celebrate ("You are our beloved guide") the 60th birthday of the dictator. Other pompous Prokofiev works lately revived include Flourish Mighty Land!, a 1947 cantata which honoured the 30th anniversary of the October Revolution.
Music in Exile: A Toronto ensemble tours revives composers banned by Third Reich
The 75th anniversary of Adolf Hitler`s rise to power doesn`t look like a good topic for commemoration with a concert series. Yet Toronto`s Artists of the Royal Conservatory ensemble has found a fitting way to mark the occasion, touring with "Music in Exile" -program, playing music written by composers who fled Nazi Germany. Many were Jewish, but not all, as the Nazis banned anything they deemed "entartete Musik" ("degenerate music"). "The émigrés went everywhere, not just New York and Hollywood," says Simon Wynberg, artistic director of the ARC ensemble.
Documentary films explore life under Nazi Germany and Soviet Union
The latest from director Bruno Monsaingeon are 2 hour-long films on 20th-century Russian music: "The Red Baton: Scenes of Musical Life in Stalinist Russia" and "Gennadi Rozhdestvensky: Conductor or Conjurer?" "The Red Baton" explores the psychic torture artists suffered in a society so insane that Rozhdestvensky, looking back, doesn`t know whether to laugh or cry. --- Enrique Sanchez Lansch`s well researched film "The Reichsorchester: The Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich" reveals the Berlin Philharmonic`s history as both a Nazi propaganda tool and a morale booster for German citizens.
German archive focuses on music silenced by the Nazis
Numerous Jewish musicians were forbidden from performing during the Nazi years. Now, a Center for Ostracized Music plans to recover these lost musical voices. After the race laws in 1933, the German Music Chamber (Reichsmusikkammer) set up a register of all musicians. As a result, many musicians had their work suppressed because their race or music offended the Third Reich. Works by composers such as Gustav Mahler, Felix Mendelssohn, and Arnold Schoenberg were prohibited. As the Nazis occupied more countries, the numbers of banned musicians grew. At the moment the archive holds 400 works from 50 ostracized composers.
104-year-old Nazi-era singer returns to stage: Performed for Adolf Hitler
104-year-old Dutch cabaret singer Johannes Heesters has given a concert in the Netherlands for the first time in 4 decades - with protests and tight security around the theatre. Although Heesters says he never embraced Nazi politics, he performed in Nazi Germany for Adolf Hitler and visited the Dachau camp. Many Dutch people have never forgiven him. "He kept singing for the Nazi regime, for the Wehrmacht, and he earned millions," said Piet Schouten, of a committee formed to protest against performance. Heesters was never accused of being a Nazi propagandist, and the Allies let him to continue performing after the war.
The Nazis` favourite composer Wagner played at Berlin`s Nazi arena
Adolf Hitler and Wagner will "turn in their graves" when an orchestra of Jews and Muslims performs the Valkyrie by the Nazis` favourite composer Richard Wagner. The production is to be staged at the Waldbuhne, the outdoor arena built for the Berlin Olympics in 1936 at which some athletes gave the Nazi salute in front of Hitler. Conductor Daniel Barenboim said his production would have stunned the Nazi leader and his muse: "Can you imagine that? The Waldbuhne was built by Hitler. The music is Wagner. Played by us!"
Book Tells of Philharmonic`s Nazi Ties - Das Reichsorchester
The Berlin Philharmonic became a privileged servant of Nazi propaganda after Adolf Hitler`s 1933 takeover, making a deal with the new regime that won it financial security. That`s according to a book recounting how the orchestra lent its gloss to the Nazis. The arrangement saw the orchestra touring abroad as an example of German cultural superiority and serenading Hitler on his birthday. In "Das Reichsorchester" historian Misha Aster writes that the relationship between the Nazis and the orchestra was complex, and each side exploited the other - although Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels held the upper hand over conductor Wilhelm Fuertwaengler.
The Navy B-1 Band : The black Navy band made WWII history
To the tune of the solemn "Navy Hymn," photos appear of 44 World War Two sailors in dress uniforms. Calvin Morrow is among 14 of the 44 who survive. Age, not combat, reduced the numbers. Instead of guns, the sailors fought for America with clarinets, French horns, trumpets, drums and trombones. They believe their music hastened integration a tad. They belonged to the Navy B-1 Band, an all black group formed in 1942. It was the first time the Navy let black sailors rise above orderlies, say Morrow and Alvin Albright. The band traveled to parades, war bond rallies and ship christenings.
Saved from scraps, music of the death camps - Listen samples
Scribbled in notebooks and diaries they provide a remarkable history of the music played and sung by the victims of the nazi era. Scores for thousands of waltzes, tangos, operas and folk songs will be made available by Francesco Lotoro, a professional pianist who for 16 years has been scouring cities to amass his collection. Much of the music is sad and plaintive, the lyrics of one song by Josef Kropinski read: "In Buchenwald, the birch trees rustle sadly, as my heart sways languishing in woe." Despite the privations of life, there are several upbeat songs and plenty of wry humour: "There`s no life like life at Auschwitz!"
Music composed or played in dark places 1933-1945
Scribbled on diaries, loose pages or even toilet paper, these are the notes left behind by people who lived and died in the prisons and camps of WW2. Italian researchers hope thousands of nearly forgotten works will find new life as they assemble a library of music from those dark places 1933-1945. He has been collecting originals, copies and recordings of everything from operas composed in the depth of the Nazi death machine to jazz pieces written in Japanese POW camps in jungles. The library, at Rome`s Third University, will offer scholars 4,000 papers and 13,000 microfiches including music sheets, letters, drawings and photos.
Composers in Nazi camps wrote music for three reasons (Article no longer available from the original source)
Composers in Nazi camps wrote music for 3 reasons: to document camp life, as a distraction from reality and to uphold musical traditions. The most famous opera written at Terezin is "The Emperor of Atlantis" by Victor Ullman, who wrote 22 works in the camp. The Emperor is Adolf Hitler, the Loudspeaker and Drummer-girl cast as Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Goering. Terezin was a "model camp" where artists spent time before being shipped to Auschwitz. An SS officer who watched a rehearsal recognized the piece`s allegorical nature. The next morning, Ullman and the cast departed for Auschwitz. The opera was never performed until after the war.
Germany patriotism fight focuses on national anthem
Germany`s patriotism debate has taken a new turn. The latest issue is over the national anthem. A regional teachers` union said that the 19th century verses are tainted by Germany`s Nazi past and should be replaced by a new anthem. Most Germans seem to have trouble remembering anthem`s words beyond the first two lines: "unity and justice and liberty for the German fatherland." The first verse, which begins with "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" and outlines a rather oversized Germany, was popular under the Nazis. After WWII, West Germany kept the anthem, despite some debate. Communist East Germany produced its own national song, "Risen from the Ruins."
Third Reich and Music - Nazi attempt to manipulate music
The exhibit "The Third Reich and Music" at the Neuhardenberg Castle Foundation features the Nazi attempt to manipulate music. Two hundred items, including letters, music scores, films and recordings make up the exhibit that illustrates how important music was in National Socialist Germany. The exhibit also shows how the Nazi regime’s music propaganda was contradictory. Monumental music was to accompany monumental projects – from grand-scale architecture to huge military parades. Richard Wagner and Anton Bruckner were Hitler’s favourite composers – their music laden with an ever increasing, slow build-up of glorious sounding, awe-inspiring crescendos.
The Third Reich and Music - Exhibit (Article no longer available from the original source)
Them Nazis sure knew how to roll up a bunch of symbols at once in their propaganda. Above is a poster advertising their 1938 "Degenerate Music" exhibition, highlighting the destructive effects of jazz and "negro music" in general, among others. Schloss Neuhardenberg outside of Berlin is hosting an exhibit called "The Third Reich and Music," combining creepy-kitsch like this poster with the various art forms the Nazis outlawed – principally modern and non-Aryan music (as opposed to classical Wagnerian stuff), plus paintings, letters, sculptures, and historical documents.
Marlene Dietrich DVD: The Glamour Collection
With Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection Universal taps into one of the biggest stars of the 1930s and one of the truly most glamorous women of the 20th century, a mysterious creature of a million male daydreams. Marlene Dietrich became the Trilby to Josef Von Sternberg`s Svengali for a series of exotic romances. And she was one of the most beloved figures of WW2, reportedly associated with the song Lily Marlene by soldiers on both sides of the conflict in Europe.
Anna Marly wrote the anthem of French Resistance
Anna Marly, who wrote the melody to the song that became the anthem of the French Resistance in WWII and whose whistling and singing on the radio were an inspiration to the anti-Nazi underground, died on Feb. 15 in Alaska. She wrote the melody to "Chant des Partisans," or "Song of the Partisans," which became an unofficial French anthem in the last years of WWII. Gen. Charles de Gaulle called Miss Marly the "troubadour of the Resistance."
Nazi swing music from the 30s
FMU`s terrific blog presents mp3s of songs by Charlie and His Orchestra, a big band assembled by Hitler`s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, to spread the Nazi message abroad even while trying to stamp out jazz and swing domestically. "Leave it to Goebbels to take the music of The Andrews Sisters, Paul Whiteman and Irving Berlin and fill it with venomous rants."
Horst Wessel - Making a martyr
Horst Wessel became a member of the Bismarck-Jugend and joined the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA Stormtroopers). Horst Wessel was a lowlife, but in death he proved useful to his Reich. After his death, Goebbels set about making a martyr of him with a speech "Die Fahne Hoch!" - Raise high the flag - after the first line of a poem written by Wessel. He was exalted as a example of Nazi virtue; the seedier aspects were played down and his murder was portrayed as National Socialism`s struggle against Marxism. The poem quoted by Goebbels was set to music and became a Nazi anthem and SA marching song: Die Fahne Hoch, Horst Wessel Lied or "The Horst Wessel Song."
Requiem for the masses - Five orchestras playing at Auschwitz
How can music have happened at Auschwitz? At one point there were at least five orchestras playing there. Holocaust: A Music Memorial Film from Auschwitz was a film about music in Auschwitz. Some of the surviving musicians - survivors because they were musicians - talked about having their music stolen from them by the SS officers for their own needs. Eva Adam had to sing as the trains arrived - lively songs so the people getting off those trains would think that it was all going to be all right, although Eva knew most of them would be dead within half an hour. And Anita Lasker-Wallfisch was made to play Schumann on the cello for Dr Mengele.
Swingtime for Hitler - Banning jazz
A few weeks after Hitler came to power in 1933, the German broadcasting authority announced its intention to ban jazz from the airwaves. It was degenerate, subhuman music, the reasoning went, written by Jews and performed by blacks. Two years later, the authority proudly declared: "As of today, nigger jazz is finally switched off on German radio." Then, in 1940, a jazz band formed in Berlin. The band was the brainchild of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and the lyrics were Axis propaganda, meant only for Allied ears. Any Germans caught listening were subject to "very, very severe punishment".
International music scene in Germany a Nazi legacy
When Josef Goebbels officially outlawed foreign music, he had no idea he was doing the future generations of international artists a huge favour. In banning non-native music such as Swing - branded `impure` because of its African-American origins - the Nazi propaganda minister indirectly gave outside music a cult status. Defying the regime`s urges for them to join local Hitler Youth Brigades, many German teenagers, or self-styled `Swing Babies` played these illegal tunes in public. When reported to the Gestapo, many of these were deported to youth camps where biologists were unrestrained to `sterilize and re-educate` them.
Music Approved of by the Third Reich
Under the Nazi regime, all music produced had to fit within certain standards defined as "good" German music. Suppression of specific artists and their works was common, yet musicians were permitted limited artistic freedom. The Nazis attempted to create a balance between censorship and creativity in music to appease the German people. According to Hitler and Goebbels (Hitler`s second in command), the three master composers that represented good German music were Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, and Anton Bruckner. All three composers lived prior to the 20th century.
Hitler`s Welsh girlfriend revealed
A Welsh woman who married into one of Germany`s most prominent musical families nearly became Adolf Hitler`s wife. By 17, she was married to composer Richard Wagner`s homosexual son Siegfried and met one of Wagner`s greatest fans - future Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. They grew so close that it was actually Winifred who provided the paper on which Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while in jail in the early 1920s. Following her husband`s death in 1930, Hitler and Winifred`s friendship intensified and he was described as being like a second father to her 4 children. At the time, there was even talk of them getting married.