Third Reich and cabaret

Discussions on the music in the Third Reich. Hosted by Ivan Ž.
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sylvieK4
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Third Reich and cabaret

Post by sylvieK4 » 26 Apr 2004 14:23

As I understand it, satirical cabaret fell out of favor during the Nazi period, and a number of the more popular cabaret musical composers - such as Friedrich Hollander - left Germany shortly after Hitler took power.

Does anyone know what composers filled the gap, so to speak, for the cabaret-style ?

Groups like the "Comedian Harmonists" remained popular throughout the Third Reich era (after replacing the Jewish members). I am sure there were a lot of other, similar groups and individual performers who sang and entertained in the cabaret fashion (genre). (e.g. Singers like Marlene Dietrich were "replaced" by Zarah Leander, et. al.) Can anyone name other popular performers during that time?

What about songs? A lot of the cabaret style songs (e.g. Blue Angel songs, Hollander's 1930 song, "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt", remade in the USA as Dietrich's "Falling in Love Again", etc.) were written and/or performed by Jewish artists.

First, did some of these songs "Ich bin von Kopf..." etc, remain popular during the Third Reich, in spite of the fact that it was written by a Jewish composer? Secondly, can you tell me the titles of some similar songs (risque themes, love songs, etc.) that were written and performed during the Third Reich (composed by "Aryans")?

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panzertruppe2001
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Post by panzertruppe2001 » 26 Apr 2004 18:09

I do not remember exactly and for this i need your help but John Toland says in his biography of Hitler that when the Volksturm was established all the cabaret shows and politician parodies were forbidden. So i deduce that politician parodies were allowed before this.

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Post by sylvieK4 » 26 Apr 2004 18:38

Thanks, Panzertruppe. I hadn't heard that before. I know there were quite a few jokes circulating about the various leaders - Goering and Goebbles, in particular - but I didn't think that public parodies were allowed well into the Third Reich era.

Another note about the cabaret genre of songs. A lot of the lyrics in the pre-Nazi period (1920s- early 1930s) were very suggestive. I assume that artists during the Third Reich had to tone down the sexual references in their songs, but certainly not eliminate them entirely. Does anyone know of any songs that might have been considered "racy" that were popular during the Third Reich? (Not necessarily lurid, but love songs or other tunes that were considered suggestive.)

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Post by Eva » 27 Apr 2004 20:26

What year did Marlene Dietrich fall out of favor? There are several songs of hers, okay- like almost ALL of it, that are VERY racy. There's one (sung in German, so I'm paraphrasing) that says something like: "Don't say 'Sie" to me when other people are around, what, do you only know me at night?" and continues along that line. I know she did a lot of prety racy stuff in German, I'm just not sure what the timeline of her German popularity is.

E

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Post by sylvieK4 » 27 Apr 2004 21:50

I'm not sure when Dietrich left Germany. I think it was early on and, in part as a protest for the way a lot of her colleagues were treated and/or dismissed from their place in German popular culture.

Eva, if you can remember the title of the song you mentioned, please post it. I know that Dietrich sang a lot of songs by Hollander (Just about all the songs from the "Blau Engel" were composed by him). So, as the compositions of a Jewish artist, I can't imagine that they received much attention during the mid-to-late years of the Third Reich.

To any of the former German soldiers (or others who remember that time and place) who visit the forum: What racy love ballads or other suggestive songs do you remember from that period? Are there any other artists other than the ones listed above that would fall into that category?

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Post by maxxx » 29 Apr 2004 19:44

As the war went on, the official puritan moral of the german entertainment industry rapidly decreased, but most of the more frivolous "schlager" (hits) came not from cabarets and stage shows but from movies, like "die Nacht ist nicht allein zum Schlafen da" (night is not made just for sleeping") from the movie "Tanz auf dem Vulkan",or "Beim ersten mal da tuts noch weh"( "At the first time it still hurts") from "Grosse Freiheit Nummer 7) They became German All Time Hits.

The most famous, but rather unpolitical Cabaret of the TR was KaDeKo (Kabarett der Komiker) in Berlin. On the Other Hand Comedians like Werner Finck and the Bavarian Weiß Ferdl sometime made rather risky political jokes. Both were arrested, but soon released. They were too prominent for severe prosecution.

Weiß Ferdl once went on stage leading three pigs. He told a long story, then he intruced the pigs as "The family Mann" , he said: "The small one is Baby Mann, the middle one is Frau Mann and the fat swine is HERRMANN. Goering was not very pleased and Weiß Ferdl was arrested. After his release, he started his act again. But this time he intruduced his piggies like this: "The small one is Baby Mann, the middle one is Frau Mann and because of this at swine I went to jail...

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Post by sylvieK4 » 30 Apr 2004 16:10

Thanks for that great reply, maxxx, and welcome to the forum. :)

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maxxx
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Post by maxxx » 01 May 2004 00:07

thank you silvie for your warm welcome, it´s great to have landed on a site without the typical madmen, which seem to gather whereever you talk about axis history. :)

So as a return, some facts about Marlene Dietrich: She made her first american movie "morocco" shortly after her success in "der blaue engel" in 1930. In 33 Goebbels tried to persuede her to come back to germany, when she refused, her american films were banned from germany, as were most movies with "non-aryan" actors . In 34 the german equivalent to hollywoods "hayes-office", the oberfilmprüfstelle decided to ban "song of songs" ,although the script was written after a novel by hermann sudermann, famous german writer, making the following verdict:

....the same low level shows the character of the female lead: first a simple country girl, than mistress of an artist, than wife of a german colonel, adultress, lawbreaker, prostitute and in the end again the girlfriend of the same artist. Playing this "character" is a german actress, who likes to see herself portraying hookers in america, although the whole world knows she is german. ..

(dr.seeger, quoted from wulf, Kultur im 3.R., vol.4)

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Post by Balrog » 01 May 2004 00:23

what an extremely interesting thread.

could another factor in the shut down of cabarets be the homosexual entertainers that worked in the industry? i really don't know how much of a factor that was, but the entertainment industry in pre nazi germany had not only many jews but also many homosexuals involved in the writing, singing, dancing, acting,etc.

i am curious if this played much of a role in hitler's crack down on cabaret?

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Post by panzertruppe2001 » 02 May 2004 22:13

Today i read that in Berlin before Hitler the cabarets tend to have a tropical style. Somebody knows what happen with this non aryan style with Hitler came to power

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Post by maxxx » 03 May 2004 10:11

i dont think there was a considerable loss of gay entertainer (at least not during the first years); Being gay without coming out of the closet was mostly tolerated both in nazi germany and in hollywood by the community of the entertainent industry. To be openly gay was another case... I wonder what happened to female personators and transvestites? HAs anyone seen the german period movie "Victor & Victoria" (I think starring Sibille Schmitz)? I dont mean the Blake Edwards Remake from the 80ies.
He loss of all jewish actors, comedians , singers and writers was far more severe.
I recommend the canadian docomentary "Escape to paradise" about the life and death of german actor Kurt Gerron, who,after being a star in pre-nazi-germany emigrated to holland, started a second career, refused to go to hollywood, was overun by the german invasion, arrested as jew, still acted as comedian even in concentration camp and was forced to direct the Theresienstadt-propaganda movie "Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt before being murdered in Auschwitz.

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Post by Ivan Ž. » 02 Jan 2017 21:52

An excerpt from Peter Jelavich's Berlin Cabaret (Harvard University Press, 1996), chapter 8: Cabaret under National Socialism, p. 228
The National Socialist takeover in the spring of 1933 nearly destroyed the cabaret movement, for most of the entertainers had been liberal, leftist, or Jewish. Many of these fled Germany in the first days and weeks of Nazi rule. The remaining "Aryan" performers who desired to ply their trade
had to make significant compromises with the new regime. Whereas Trude Hesterberg took the route of subscribing (or pretending to subscribe) to Nazi ideals, Werner Finck persisted in making sly jokes about life in the Third Reich. For that offense, his Catacombs cabaret was closed in May 1935, as was the Tingel-Tangel, another refractory stage. In the wake of that affair, the authorities called for the creation of a "positive cabaret" that would applaud the Nazis' goals and mock those of their enemies. The project, which was totally alien to the spirit of cabaret, was a failure; consequently in 1937 Goebbels banned all political themes from German stages. Thereafter cabaret degenerated into pure vaudeville, the seedbed from which it had sprung in the 1890s. With the increasing mobilization of the male population after 1939, only women remained to populate the cabaret and revue stages. The "Girls" dominated the shows until the bombardment of Berlin destroyed the remaining centers of entertainment.

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