Herms Niel & Reichsmusikzug des RAD

Discussions on the music in the Third Reich. Hosted by Ivan Ž.
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Fallersleben
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Post by Fallersleben » 30 Nov 2014 21:49

Photo was taken in France, 1943.
Niel_France_1943.jpg
Source: own collection
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Fallersleben
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Post by Fallersleben » 30 Nov 2014 21:52

Place and date are unknown to me.
Niel_nn.jpg
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Last edited by Fallersleben on 01 Dec 2014 10:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Ivan Ž.
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Post by Ivan Ž. » 30 Nov 2014 22:14

Nice photos, Frank - thanks for posting!

Cheers,
Ivan

Sid Guttridge
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Post by Sid Guttridge » 05 Dec 2014 12:56

A fascinating thread of the off-beat (no pun intended) sort that justifies the existence of sites like AHF.

It leads me to wonder to what extent Niel and his works were genuinely popular, or whether his prolificness and profile was more down to his official position within the regime's cultural organs?

For example, the wartime popularity of Lilli Marlene seems to have arisen accidentally due to a genuine popular response amongst the troops. But did official-sounding works such as The Song of the Luftwaffe Auxiliary elicit the same popular response?

Cheers,

Sid.

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Ivan Ž.
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Post by Ivan Ž. » 05 Dec 2014 13:49

Hello, Sid

This is a good question which requires probably a bit longer reply and analysis, but I'll try to keep it short for now. There is still much to be written on Niel. "The Song of the Luftwaffe Auxiliary" is basically an unknown song, and without the postcard posted by "Claymore" most people (myself included) wouldn't even know it ever existed. We still haven't found another source mentioning this piece. It's from the late stage of the war, probably 1943 (or maybe even 1944, but I'd rather say 1943), and at the time military songs were already rarely made and had little significance (I wrote about this before online). After 1942, only a small number of marching tunes was recorded, in 1943 (and afterwards almost nothing until the end of the war). People in Germany were getting sick of marching and aggressive tunes due to the development of the war and casualties in most families. However, soldiers' songs were still being made - but this time as calm, slow pop or waltz songs, generally sang by soothing female voices - which was more suitable for the families in Germany and soldiers at the front. So, we shouldn't even be discussing possible popularity of the marching music in the period after 1942.

Niel started becoming popular in the late 1920s [his initial popularity had nothing to do with the NS regime - it actually had to do with his already popular half-Jewish colleague Ailbout; but the regime did later (mis)use Niel's popularity - and he didn't complain as far as I can tell - and by the beginning of the war he already had several international hits, translated in a couple of languages. There would probably be much more of such widely recognised hits if there wasn't for his involvement in the war propaganda. Niel's style always remained the same [one of the main reasons of his popularity]; even in the stiff campaign songs, he always incorporated some jolly folk-motifs; but with the progress of the war, music also had to be appropriately updated. Which is why, in mid-1941, young Schultze with his fresh, original and brutal melodies basically replaced old Niel as the composer of campaign songs (I've never heard of a composer before nor after Schultze who could create such merciless, fanatical war-music; but this tallented composer left only a couple of such pieces behind him and much more of nice and peaceful tunes). Long story short, Niel and many of his works were indeed very much popular [many still are, and are considered traditional German songs], and hardly because of the regime; they were simply incredibly catchy and mostly made in the traditional German spirit.

The most popular war-song of the WWII was Niel's "Matrosenlied" (Wir fahren gegen Engelland), which was a hit instantly (Niel was asked for the encore immediately after the first performance); and the most popular soldiers' love song was Schultze's "Lili Marleen" - but it took two years of war for it to be noticed and to become "in" (it is questionable whether it would ever become popular in the peacetime). It's interesting that both compositions had lyrics written in WWI.

Cheers,
Ivan

Sid Guttridge
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Post by Sid Guttridge » 08 Dec 2014 11:29

Hi Ivan,

A fascinating reply.

Popular culture in WWII Germany seems to be an overlooked subject (at least in English) compared with the UK and USA.

Cheers,

sid.

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Post by Fallersleben » 10 Oct 2015 11:05

A postcard (9x14cm), no further informations.
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Post by Fallersleben » 10 Oct 2015 14:34

A big autograph card (18x24cm) with signature and info "Am Brenner den 15.10.1940".
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Fallersleben
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Post by Fallersleben » 10 Oct 2015 14:39

A panoramic photo (2 parts) (15x43cm), taken in Rome.
HN3.jpg
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Remember the photo from Rome posted by Ivan on page 3. It's the same concert.
Ivan Ž. wrote: From http://pallas.cegesoma.be/
Image
Der Reichsmusikzug des Reichsarbeitsdienstes in Italien. Unter Leitung des Obermusikzugführers Herms Niel konzertierte der Musikzug des Reichsarbeitsdienstes in einem Lazarett in Rom. 500 italienische Soldaten, sowie viele hohe Offiziere der Gatnison Rom wohnten dieser Feierstunge bei.
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Post by Ivan Ž. » 10 Oct 2015 18:16

Thanks for more nice images, F.!

And here's a press report on Niel's Italian tour (not mentioning Rome though), including a retouched version of the portrait photo you posted.

From Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden, 26.10.1940, p. 5
Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden 1940-10-26 S-5.jpg
Cheers,
Ivan
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Auceps
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Post by Auceps » 12 Oct 2015 15:04

So much new material! Thank you both! :)

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Fallersleben
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Post by Fallersleben » 29 Nov 2015 15:29

Ivan Ž. wrote: Hollandsch nieuws 43-29, released on 19 July 1943.
Niel and the Reichsmusikzug were filmed holding a KdF concert in the Apollo Hall in Amsterdam (7 July 1943).
Used as soundtrack in the report was Woitschach's 1939 Telefunken (studio) recording of Niel's "Erika" (in slower speed).
From https://www.bridgemanimages.de/de/asset/693042/summary

HN 43-29a.JPG
HN 43-29b.JPG
HN 43-29c.JPG
HN 43-29d.JPG
HN 43-29e.JPG
HN 43-29f.JPG
HN 43-29g.JPG
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Post by GregSingh » 30 Nov 2015 00:59

Good footage.
So different to his earlier concerts...they all look like at the state funeral. Even Maestro with his cheerful music can't get a smile on anyone face...
The more you let yourself to go, the less others will let you to go.
F.Nietzsche

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Ivan Ž.
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Post by Ivan Ž. » 14 Dec 2015 10:06

GregSingh wrote:Good footage.
So different to his earlier concerts...they all look like at the state funeral. Even Maestro with his cheerful music can't get a smile on anyone face...
My thoughts exactly.

However, the concert, which was attended by several thousand spectators, was described as a great success by the press.

From Het volk, 08.07.1943, p. 2
Het volk 1943-07-08 S-2.jpg
From Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden, 08.07.1943, p. 4
Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden 1943-07-08 S-4.jpg
From Het nationale dagblad, 09.07.1943, p. 3
Het nationale dagblad 1943-07-09 S-3.jpg

One of the more interesting pieces that Niel performed there was his new song: "Ein Fliegerkuß - ein Bombengenuß" :)

Cheers,
Ivan
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Post by Ivan Ž. » 16 Dec 2015 12:53

Several press reports on Niel's first concert of his 1942 tour in the Netherlands, held at the Royal Theatre in Heerlen on 27 April. On this tour, Niel played for the first time his Holland Song "Die blonde Rie" (lyrics by C. Hartmann), "Vorwärts! Kameraden!" and "Die Sonne geht auf".

From Dagblad van het Zuiden, 28.04.1942, p. 2
Dagblad van het Zuiden 1942-04-28 S-2.jpg
From Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden, 29.04.1942, p. 4
Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlanden 1942-04-29 S-4.jpg
From De Leidsche courant, 30.04.1942, p. 4
De Leidsche courant 1942-04-30 S-4.jpg

Two more photos from the concert can be found here viewtopic.php?f=81&p=2346133#p2346104
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