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Thread: Adolf Hitler used to listen to Jewish and Russian musicians

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    Clepsydra
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    Default Adolf Hitler used to listen to Jewish and Russian musicians

    From The Times - August 7, 2007

    Adolf Hitler, the most notorious champion of Richard Wagner and “racially pure” German music, banished Jewish and Russian musicians from the concert halls of the Third Reich — but apparently listened secretly to their work.

    New light has been shed on the Nazi leader’s musical tastes by the discovery of what are said to be a hundred of his gramophone records found in the attic of a former Soviet intelligence officer, Lev Besymenski.

    “There were classical recordings, performed by the best orchestras of Europe and Germany with the best soloists of the age,” Mr Besymenski said in a document explaining how the records came into his possession.

    The 86-year-old, who helped to interrogate captured Nazi generals, died this summer. The document and the record collection have now been made available to Der Spiegel magazine.

    “I was astonished that Russian musicians were among the collection,” Mr Besymenski wrote. Hitler dismissed Russians as ‘Untermenschen’, sub-humans, and was contemptuous of their contribution to world culture. Yet the records included works by Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Rachmaninov — scratched from frequent playing and all clearly labelled ‘Föhrerhauptquartier’, the Föhrer’s headquarters.”

    The Soviet intelligence officer had found them in Hitler’s Chancellery in Berlin in May 1945, still packed in crates. Hitler’s staff were counting on an evacuation to the Nazi leader’s Alpine hideaway on the Obersalzberg and it was known that he could only relax with his music.

    Mr Besymenski, then a captain in military intelligence, kept quiet about the records during his lifetime for fear that he would be accused of looting.

    The most astonishing fact about the records — essentially Hitler’s “Best of . . .” collections — is the presence of Jewish performers. Among the recordings is a Tchaikovsky concerto performed by the virtuoso Polish Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman. Hitler would have been aware, while listening to Huberman’s playing, that he had founded the Palestine Orchestra in 1936 (which went on to be the foundation of today’s Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) and that he was living in enforced exile. The Austrian Jewish pianist Artur Schnabel, whose mother was killed by the Nazis, also had his work included in Hitler’s personal collection. It is not known which records in the collection were listened to most frequently, nor have they been formally catalogued.

    “I’m not terribly surprised by Hitler’s record choices,” said James Kennaway, of Stanford University. “Nazi music policy was pretty incoherent. Stravinsky was played in the Third Reich because he was known to have right-wing views, Bartok because Hungary was a German ally.” Dr Kennaway, a leading musicologist who specialises in the Nazi period, added: “The only real point of consistency in Nazi policy was antiSemitism, so the Schnabel and Huberman recordings do stand out.”

    Hitler had spelt out his view of Jewish culture in Mein Kampf. “There was never a Jewish art and there is none today,” he wrote, adding that the “two queens of the arts, architecture and music, gained nothing original from the Jews”.

    Roger Moorhouse, a historian and the author of Killing Hitler, said that the record collection, if authentic, suggested a contradiction between the Föhrer’s aesthetic and political values. He said: “It is interesting that being Russian or Jewish did not disqualify a musician from a place in Hitler’s record collection. There was probably a separation in his world view between the political and the artistic.”

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    What an interesting find.

    I had heard some time ago that Hitler had secretly admired Jewish music and musicians.

    I must say, I very much like the works of Jewish composers. My dad did too. It's always so nationalistic, don't you think?

    We Maltese are no Hitler fans of course, having endured the heaviest of his bombing during WW2.
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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    So on top of being an anti-Semite racist, a totalitarian dictator, a mass murderer, he was also a hypocrite. I guess that's not terribly surprising...
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    So on top of being an anti-Semite racist, a totalitarian dictator, a mass murderer, he was also a hypocrite. I guess that's not terribly surprising...
    How perfectly you sum the man up.

    Nice one.
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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    So on top of being an anti-Semite racist, a totalitarian dictator, a mass murderer, he was also a hypocrite. I guess that's not terribly surprising...
    So was Stalin, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, etc. We must not overlook that just one nation has dropped nuclear bombs killing about 200,000 innocent civillians in one bash. At least we can blame the allies and their ridiculously draconian reparations for Hitler being there at all. If the allies hadn't screwed the German economy so utterly (unemployment was about 1:3 at the time Hitler became chancellor) he would never have been so popular. It was him who turned this unemployment situation - and the fortunes of Germany generally - around. So let's keep him in perspective!

    He was a lover of fine music, sure. But the problem with the Times article here is it represents the word of just one guy. On the one hand it might be true - on the other, complete rubbish. No one's around to say whether Hitler actually bought and listened to those records - and if so, in what context did he use them.

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frasier View Post
    So was Stalin, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, etc. We must not overlook that just one nation has dropped nuclear bombs killing about 200,000 innocent civillians in one bash. At least we can blame the allies and their ridiculously draconian reparations for Hitler being there at all. If the allies hadn't screwed the German economy so utterly (unemployment was about 1:3 at the time Hitler became chancellor) he would never have been so popular. It was him who turned this unemployment situation - and the fortunes of Germany generally - around. So let's keep him in perspective!

    He was a lover of fine music, sure. But the problem with the Times article here is it represents the word of just one guy. On the one hand it might be true - on the other, complete rubbish. No one's around to say whether Hitler actually bought and listened to those records - and if so, in what context did he use them.
    Wow, someone who actually chooses to defend Hitler?

    Are you saying that Hitler was not an anti-Semite racist, a totalitarian dictator, and a mass murderer?
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    Wow, someone who actually chooses to defend Hitler?
    Where was I doing that?

    Are you saying that Hitler was not an anti-Semite racist, a totalitarian dictator, and a mass murderer?
    No. Just pointing out that he wasn't alone. {edit} when I read responses like that - people reading things that aren't there - I smell soaps.

    But this is a musical thread. And for Hitler I'm uncertain of the validity of the Times article in the original post. We know he championed Beethoven and Wagner and was a conniosseur of quality films. It's possible that the record collection referred to could have been compiled by anyone.
    Last edited by Frasier; Aug-13-2007 at 20:49.

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Well, to me, this-

    It was him who turned this unemployment situation - and the fortunes of Germany generally - around. So let's keep him in perspective!
    made it sound like you were defending him. What perspective is necessary here? What does it change about how we should view him?

    All I meant was that if the article is true, it wouldn't be out of character with what we already know about him.

    I don't know what you're on about smelling soaps, and if I'm reading something that is not there, forgive me; hard to live on this planet for any length of time without picking up a bit about what kind of a person he was.
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    So on top of being an anti-Semite racist, a totalitarian dictator, a mass murderer, he was also a hypocrite. I guess that's not terribly surprising...
    And you should not forget his attitude to gypsies.




    Quote Originally Posted by Frasier View Post
    So was Stalin, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, etc.
    I'm particularly curious about Roosevelt being listed here. Could you please say why?


    Quote Originally Posted by Frasier
    So was Stalin, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, etc. We must not overlook that just one nation has dropped nuclear bombs killing about 200,000 innocent civillians in one bash. At least we can blame the allies and their ridiculously draconian reparations for Hitler being there at all. If the allies hadn't screwed the German economy so utterly (unemployment was about 1:3 at the time Hitler became chancellor) he would never have been so popular. So let's keep him in perspective!
    The Crack paralized the american economy as well, but the USA didn't think conquering Poland (or Europe in general) would be an effective way to recover from the crisis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frasier
    It was him who turned this unemployment situation - and the fortunes of Germany generally - around.
    And he used domestic terror to avoid the hyperinflation that would have come after Germany's rapid growth. Even if the reparations were humilliating, they can not be used in any way as an excuse to what the germans organized and did.

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Please, no more politics.

    Everyone should keep in mind, what terrible murders, genocids and terror acts happened in history...
    But this is not the place to argue about it. So please calm down. One should not point at others but "clean at first in front of the own door", as a German proverb says.

    Daniel

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    Senior Member rojo's Avatar
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    Hi Daniel,

    Are you implying that we don't keep the area in front of our doors clean? (Sorry, only kidding; just trying to lighten the mood... )
    omnia vincit amor - Virgil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel View Post
    Please, no more politics.

    Everyone should keep in mind, what terrible murders, genocids and terror acts happened in history...
    But this is not the place to argue about it. So please calm down. One should not point at others but "clean at first in front of the own door", as a German proverb says.

    Daniel
    I was focused more on economics than politics in what I wrote.

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    Alnitak
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    In order to go back to music, ...

    ... do you think that Hitler’s favourite interval was the tritone ?...

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    Very interesting, there are some who say that his father was of Jewish decent. He might have heard it as a child?

    One thing i HAVE to ask because it always troubles me. Why does everyone bring up the dropping of the atomic bomb as the example of an American caused atrocity? The firebombing of Tokyo, by the number, was worse. The firebombing of Tokyo destroyed 16 square miles while the bombing of Hiroshima destroyed 1.6 square miles upon blast and 4.5 square miles by resulting fires. In Tokyo the numbers ranged from 80,000 to 110,000 deaths by a single day of bombing. While in Hiroshima the death toll ranged from 65,000 to 75,000. And though the dropping of the atomic bombs ushered in the age of nuclear warfare it was going to happen anyways, it was only a matter of time.

    I know the argument sounds very meaningless but i always wonder why people always reference the atomic bomb and never bring up the bombing of Tokyo.

    But i agree on the fact the allies set up the circumstance for Hitler to take total power over Germany. Us westerners have a tendency to demonize an enemy that we basically gave power to. (Not trying to defend Hitler, the man deserves all the negative world perception he has.)

    But back to the point that article is absolutely fascinating. I would really like to know if there were any recordings of Jewish performers playing Wagner. You would think that a Jewish performer playing "pure" music would be the utmost disgrace for the fuhrer.

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    Senior Member Saturnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    So on top of being an anti-Semite racist, a totalitarian dictator, a mass murderer, he was also a hypocrite. I guess that's not terribly surprising...
    Hitler's grandparents were jewish, so he was always a 'hypocrite'.
    The Nazi-party dominated germans with hatred and violence, its backbone was formed by young people orphanized by the WWI and bittered by the Versailles-treaty. Hitler only used this new 'class' of germans to gain power and anti-semitism (that had been increasing in Europe throughout the 19th century) was only one amongst many hatreds that he used to fuel his "minions".

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