Nazis and Music

nazi music 1“the German has the exclusive right to be called ‘musician.'” – Richard Wagner

Traditionally, nothing in the German mind had defined Kultur so quintessentially as its music — German music. Unlike many other art forms, the Germans were leaders in music among the Western world for centuries. Many of the composers who have had the strongest impact on Western music have been German or Austrian.

The minister of propaganda, Josef Goebbels, took immense pride in the music of the German people, preferring historical classical music to contemporary music. He especially favored Beethoven, Wagner and Bruckner. Goebbels established rigid rules for who could work as a musician during the Nazi reign. Any loyal member of the Nazi party who possessed talent was guaranteed a job. Those who were not party members were still permitted to work, as long as they were not Jewish and demonstrated what he considered to be musical talent.The “Reich Music Chamber or” “State Music Institute,” was established in order to promote “good German music” which was composed by Aryans, while suppressing other,”degenerate” music, which included atonal music, pop music such as jazz and music by Jewish composers.

In 1940 a list of all Jewish musicians was put together, and then used as a reference when sending Jewish leaders to concentration camps. Many were sent to Theresienstadt, located near the city of Prague. There, talented Jewish musicians from multiple countries were interned, but some continued to compose beautiful music. Ironically, while music was serving the psychological needs of Himmler’s Einsatzgruppen, it was also providing sustenance for the lives of the inmates in Terezin and other camps, possibly by means of the same Haydn or Mozart string quartet. By the end of the war it was impossible to claim that German music was intrinsically improving or ennobling. To soothe the souls of the death squads, faced with “sometimes difficult tasks,” Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler recommended regular musical performances.

Reichsmusikkammer.
Wikipedia

Reich Music Examination Office
Wikipedia

The Nazi Reich Forms the Reichsmusikkammer
Richard Strauss

Reichskulturkammer (RKK, or Reich Chamber of Culture) and its musical division, the Reichsmusikkammer (RMK, or Reich Chamber of Music).
The Second World War in Music
Music and the Holocaust

Nazi Approved Music
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust

Raise High the Flag!
by Joseph Goebbels
German Propaganda Archive
In this essay, Goebbels reports on Wessel’s death, and begins the process of turning Horst Wessel into a kind of Nazi saint.

Music, Conscience, Accountability and the Third Reich
The OREL Foundation

Art Under Fascism
Music & Film
Music

Jazz Under the Nazis
Jazz in The Third Reich
Music and the Holocaust

“Degenerate Music”: Title Page of the Exhibition Guide (1938)
German History in Documents and Images

The Nazis’ take on ‘Degenerate Music’
Deutsche Welle

“Degenerate Music”
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust

Defining “Degenerate Music” in Nazi Germany
The OREL Foundation

The OREL Foundation
Rediscovering Suppressed Musical Treasures of the Twentieth Century

JMI International Centre for Suppressed Music (ICSM)

Recovering a Musical Heritage: The Music Suppressed by the Third Reich
The OREL Foundation

Wagner and Hitler
Solomon’s Music

Wagner and Anti-Semitism
The Wagner Journal

Anti-Semitism:
The Controversy Over Richard Wagner
Jewish Virtual Library

Wagner’s Anti-Semitism
Not your garden-variety Jew hater.
Aish

The hateful side of Wagner’s musical genius
Deutsche Welle

Wagner’s Dark Shadow: Can We Separate the Man from His Works?
Spiegel Online International

The Controversy Over Richard Wagner
Jewish Virtual Library

Link to Book Site:
Sonderstab Musik, by Willem De Vries
MUSIC CONFISCATIONS BY THE EINSATZSTAB REICHSLEITER ROSENBERG UNDER THE NAZI OCCUPATION OF WESTERN EUROPE
The University of Chicago Press

The Defiant Requiem Foundation
Jewish Virtual Library

The Third Reich: Classical Music and the Nazi Leadership, 1933-1945
Yad Vashem

Nazi Approved Music
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust
Florida College of Instructional Technology

Composers of the Nazi Era
Mixed Meters

Cleft Identity: Jewish Musicians in Berlin, 1933-41
Review of the Book:
A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany: Musical Politics and the Berlin Jewish Culture League.
HNet

Link to Book:
A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany: Musical Politics and the Berlin Jewish Culture League, by Lily E. Hirsch
Amazon

Link to Book:
Composers of the Nazi Era, by Michael H. Kater
Amazon

Link to Book:
The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich, by Michael H. Kater
Amazon

Link to Book:
Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis, by Mr. Michael Haas
Amazon

National-Socialist Song Culture
The Second World War in Music

Modern History Sourcebook:
The Horst Wessel Song
Fordham University

Composers of the Nazi Era
Mixed Meters
Reviews of 3 books about musical life in Germany

Josef Skvorecky on the Nazis’ Control-Freak Hatred of Jazz
The Atantic
Includes a list of regulations, issued by a regional official for the Reich — as binding on all local dance orchestras during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia.

The Nazi jukebox… Reading Hitler’s record collection.
The Cedar Lounge

Dicography and Filmography
Music and the Holocaust
Information about published recordings and films relating to the subject of music and the Holocaust.

Links
Music and the Holocaust
Links to organizations and web sites about musicians and music of the Holocaust

Jazz in the Third Reich
Music and the Holocaust

Cleft Identity: Jewish Musicians in Berlin, 1933-41

Music Amongst the Hitler Youth
Music and the Holocaust

Politics and Propaganda
Music and the Holocaust

Jewish Musicians in Vichy France
Music and the Holocaust

Youth Music Movements Under Vichy
Music and the Holocaust

Jews and Music in Fascist Italy
Music and the Holocaust

 

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