Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 19 Oct 2020 16:54

With the fall of the Third Reich, Niel's world fell apart too. The most celebrated German military and folk composer suddenly became the least wanted, in his own country. Everyone was washing their hands of Nazism, and Niel was one of its main (music) symbols.

An excerpt from an article written less than two years after the war, dealing with whereabouts of Third Reich movie stars and famous composers (notice the complete intolerance towards Niel).

From Badische neueste Nachrichten, 08.02.1947, p. 4
Badische neueste Nachrichten 1947-02-08 S-4.jpg
Where are our movie stars?

[...] Finally, a few words about our most famous living composers. [...]
The current whereabouts of Herr "Professor" Herms Niel - known among his colleagues as Reich-note-manufacturer (retd) - is unknown and should hardly be of any interest. [...]
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 19 Oct 2020 16:56

Later the same year (1947), British and German press reported that Niel composed a march for a US police battalion stationed in Bavaria (Der Spiegel sarcastically added that the wanted to "achieve international fame", even though he did achieve it years ago).

From Der Spiegel, Dec. 1947, no 49, p. 13
Der Spiegel 1947-12 Nr-49 S-13.jpg
Herms Niel, alias Hermann Nielebock, the father of the England Song, wants to achieve international fame. As the English newspaper "Reynolds News" reported, Niel composed a march for a US police battalion in Bavaria.
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 19 Oct 2020 16:58

In early June 1949, Niel was to be denazified. However, he was apparently so broke that he didn't have enough money for a trip to the court.

From Der Spiegel, June 1949, no 23, p. 26
Der Spiegel 1949-06 Nr-23 S-26.jpg
Herms Niel, real name Hermann Nielebock, cannot yet be denazified. He informed the denazification committee for creative artists in Hanover that he had no money to get there.

Finally, on 15 June 1949, he was convicted of being a minor Nazi offender and fined £75.

From The Canberra Times, 17.06.1949, p. 4
The Canberra Times 1949-06-17 p-4.jpg
Hitler's conductor fined £75

Hanover, Thursday. A German denazification court yesterday convicted Herms Niel, composer of the Nazi marching song "We March Against England", of being a minor Nazi offender and fined him £75. Niel was a conductor of Hitler's military band.
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 19 Oct 2020 16:59

At the end of the year 1949, in the middle of the century, the German newspaper Badische neueste Nachrichten reviewed the most important events of the past half of the century; Niel was mentioned as well...

From Badische neueste Nachrichten, 31.12.1949, p. 3
Badische neueste Nachrichten 1949-12-31 S-3.jpg
Kaleidoscope of the 20th century - to the middle

[...] 1937 [...]
Herms Niel composes, the nation marches. [...]
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 19 Oct 2020 17:01

In April 1950, Dutch press published a very interesting announcement: Niel was appointed music teacher for Russian troops in Potsdam!

From Limburgsch dagblad, 19.04.1950, p. 2
Limburgsch dagblad 1950-04-19 S-2.jpg
"Wir fahren gegen Engelland"

Berlin, 18 April. The Nazi composer Herms Niel, who composed, among others, the melody "Wir fahren gegen Engelland", was appointed music teacher for Russian troops in Potsdam.
Notice that the press keeps mentioning "Wir fahren gegen Engelland" as Niel's signature composition.
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 19 Oct 2020 17:02

In January 1952, two and a half years before his death, Niel had the opportunity to re-live his glory days. In Bremen, he held a concert for the (far-right) Socialist Reich Party, many of whose members were his old comrades and fans. As one would expect, the crowd was ecstatic, singing along and swaying to the old hits. (According to Thomas Freitag, 1500 people attended the concert.)

Two photos from the concert:

6-FOTA094251.jpg
Source: http://archiv2.fes.de/

Elite Special PLPS 30067 (DPA).jpg
Source: Elite Special PLPS 30067 (DPA)
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 19 Oct 2020 17:03

Herms Niel passed away on 15 July 1954, aged 66, in a hospital in Lingen (near Felsen, where he lived).

Two (of several) reports published in the Dutch press (as before, "Wir fahren gegen Engelland" was mentioned as his signature composition).

From Nieuwe Leidsche Courant, 19.07.1954, p. 7
Nieuwe Leidsche Courant 1954-07-19 S-7.jpg
"Wir fahren gegen Engelland"
The composer passed away

Herms Niel, composer of the Nazi song "Wir fahren gegen Engelland", has passed away in Lingen at the age of 66. He lived for many years in Felsen in an air-raid shelter converted into a home. He died in a hospital in Lingen. Niel was the Nazis' favourite among the march music composers. "Wir fahren gegen Engelland" has been his greatest hit. It was often played on the radio, announcing news of the torpedoing of merchant ships. This song prompted Hitler to grant Niel the title "professor". His real name was Hermann Nielebock. After the war, he was branded a minor Nazi by a purging court.
Note: Niel was awarded the title of Professor by Hitler after composing the "Balkanlied" (April 1941), not "Engellandlied" (October 1939).

From Amigoe di Curacao, 23.07.1954, p. 1
Amigoe di Curacao 1954-07-23 S-1.jpg
Composer of "Engelland-Lied" passed away

Berlin. Herms Niel, the man who composed the infamous "Engelland-Lied", has passed away at the age of 66. Niel, whose real name was Hermann Nielebock, was as a bandleader very much in step with Adolf Hitler, who even had him appointed "professor". For the "Denn wir fahren gegen Engelland", so often sung by the German soldiers, he chose an old German folk song as a motif and converted it into a soldiers' song.
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Schmeisser » 19 Oct 2020 21:53

Thanks for the details of Niel's postwar life!

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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by TrommlerBO » 21 Nov 2020 20:30

Hello,

I bought a 1940 Herms Niel program.

Programmheft Herms Niel 1.jpg
Programmheft Herms Niel 2.jpg

It contains the following pictures:
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by TrommlerBO » 21 Nov 2020 20:31

Herms Niel at the piano

Programmheft Herms Niel - Bild 2.jpg
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by TrommlerBO » 21 Nov 2020 20:31

Herms Niel with his wife and two men.

Programmheft Herms Niel - Bild 3.jpg
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by TrommlerBO » 21 Nov 2020 20:34

Herms Niel read letters. He received a lot of mail from fans every day. Unfortunately, he was unable to set all the poems that were sent to him to music.

Programmheft Herms Niel - Bild 4.jpg
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 22 Nov 2020 11:06

Hello again, TBO, and thanks for posting the images, which were all but one unknown to me.

The first one has already been posted here, in original quality; however, yours was signed :)
viewtopic.php?f=81&t=94321&start=210#p2286824

In the second photo (Niel in white, at piano), the picture above the piano is this one (Niel with the RAD leader, Hierl)
download/file.php?id=467133

In the third photo, the civilian sitting at the desk is this man, but I still don't know who it is
download/file.php?id=467629
(He was described by the press as a "loyal helper of Herms Niel's, who writes his notes and registers and answers his mail".)

The picture seen in the fourth photo in the upper left corner is this one
download/file.php?id=467893

By the way, what was the programme for?

Cheers,
Ivan

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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by TrommlerBO » 22 Nov 2020 19:57

Hello Ivan,

Unfortunately I don't know what kind of performance it was. I upload a few more pages. On the remaining pages are the pictures and other lyrics. On the second page, by the way, the genesis of the song "Erika" is written down. The next song was "Michel, horch, der Seewind pfeift". Because the song is from 1940 and Herms Niel did not yet have a moustache, this program can be dated to 1940. Presumably after the performance the audience went backstage and had the booklet signed as a souvenir (of a great concert).

Programmheft Herms Niel 4-5.jpg

I hope I could help.

Best regards,
Trommler
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Re: Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Post by Ivan Ž. » 23 Nov 2020 00:06

Hello, Trommler, and thanks for the additional scans.

Yes, judging by the photos and composition list, it's 1940 (before the invasion of France, since there's no mention of the Frankreichlied).

See also this press report which was made around the same time viewtopic.php?f=81&t=94321&start=165#p2097696

Notice that the report also mentions the rare song listed in your programme - "Die Wacht auf Norderney", and there's also the history of "Erika".

Cheers,
Ivan

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