National Socialism



Bill O’Reilly, former Fox News pundit and best-selling author, thinks that US President Trump doesn’t know enough about the horrors of the Holocaust and Nazism.

In an opinion piece published on The Hill, O’Reilly said that this lack of historical knowledge is at the heart of what happened in the aftermath of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said during an August 15 news conference. “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that but I will say it right now.”

For Bill O’Reilly, this response was a mistake and shows that the US president doesn’t understand the full scope of Nazi horror.

“No other discussion can take place when Nazis are being analyzed,” O’Reilly said. “Mr. Trump saw violence by some counter-protesters and pointed it out. But when a young woman is killed by an alleged Nazi sympathizer, that point must wait to be made.”

While there are certainly good people who want to keep the Robert E. Lee statue, the “proximity of white supremacists to the situation obscures the point,” O’Reilly continued.

However, he did not think Trump’s mistake was malicious, nor should he be branded as a Nazi sympathizer, saying that “truth is always the first casualty of hysteria.”

And Trump is far from the only history-challenged person according to O’Reilly.

“I can tell you with certainty that most people on this planet have no clue as to how German Nazis went about their lethal business. And that includes President Trump and many other politicians both present and past,” O’Reilly wrote.

He lamented that the Second World War was hardly taught in US schools and that Hitler had become a “caricature of evil, a distant monster” when he should be taught as something real and vivid.

“Mass murder was carried out by ordinary Germans while the vast majority of that population looked away out of self-interest and fear,” he stated. “These people weren’t from another planet.”

“The crimes of Hitler’s regime and the population that allowed it were so terrible that words cannot come close to description. Yet words are all we have.”

If we were taught more in-depth about the horrors of Nazism and the crimes of the Third Reich, O’Reilly concluded, Americans would have been united against hate after Charlottesville, not divided by politics.


Rare WW2 Encryption Machine, “Hitler Mill”, Found in Bavarian Forest

The SG-41, also known as Hitler Mill, was the successor of the Enigma encryption machine. Detectorists have now found a specimen in a Bavarian forest.


As is well known, Polish and British specialists broke the German encryption machine Enigma in World War II. As at least some of the German encryption experts were aware of the Enigma weaknesses, a new encryption machine was introduced towards the end of the war – the Schlüsselgerät (key device) 41, also known as SG-41 or Hitler Mill (because of the crank that had to be turned for operation).

However, this initiative to replace the Enigma came too late. Only around 500 Hitler Mills were produced in the last phase of the Second World War, which was by far not enough to replace all Enigmas (it is estimated that almost 30,000 Enigmas were in existence).

The Hitler Mill worked completely different than the Enigma. The encryption mechanism was similar (however with important improvements) as the one of the Hagelin BC-38. The Hitler Mill is generally regarded as unbreakable with the codebreaking means available in the 1940s. If the Germans had introduced this machine earlier, the last years of WW2 would have taken a different course.

A Hitler Mill in the forest

Now, according to a press release of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, two hobby treasure hunters have discovered a Hitler Mill in a forest near Munich – and handed it over to the Deutsches Museum (thanks to Wolfgang Bartsch, Dennis Penne, Tobias Schrödel and Dr. Ralf Bülow for the hint). Considering that this machine was lying in the forest for over seven decades, it doesn’t look too bad (photo courtesy of Deutsches Museum/Konrad Rainer):

The Deutsches Museum has an interesting crypto collection. However, it is currently not on display.

The two finders, Max Schöps and Volker Schranner, made their discovery in May this year. Searching for vintage objects in the ground with a metal detector is their hobby. The Hitler Mill they found was located in about 40 centimeters depth. Says Schranner: “I was disappointed at first because I thought: we have discovered a field type writer used by soldiers in the Second World War.” Only later the two realized that they had made the finding of their lives.

The following picture shows the finders along with Carola Dahlke from the Deutsches Museum (photo courtesy of Deutsches Museum):

At the end of the war, many cipher clerks followed the instructions and distroyed their machines before they got into the enemy’s hands. For this reason, damaged encryption machines (especially Enigmas, as shown here on the website of Tom Perera) are sometimes found in forests or lakes. The following broken Hitler Mill, which was probably lying in water for decades, is on display in the typewriter museum in Partschins:

Here’s another Hitler Mill that was dumped after the war and found decades later (the picture was taken at the HAM Radio in Friedrichshafen):

The codes and cipher exhibition at the Deutsches Museum is scheduled to re-open by the end of 2019. I’m sure, the now-found Hitler Mill will be a part of this collection.

Colorado Man Stabbed for Having a “Nazi” Haircut

This is the haircut that got Joshua Witt stabbed because it represented hardcore Neo-Nazism and White supremacy.

So now we have this report of a crazy anti-fascist terrorist stabbing someone for having a Nazi haircut. He was just trying to get a milkshake!

NY Post:

This Colorado man is avowedly not a neo-Nazi.

But he believes his long-on-top, buzzed-on-the-sides haircut got him mistaken for one — and nearly stabbed to death by a confused anti-fascist.

Joshua Witt, 26, escaped his brush with hairdo-doom with a defensive slice to the hand and three stitches.
“Apparently, my haircut is considered a neo-Nazi statement,” he told The Post Saturday, as his account on Facebook garnered 20,000 shares.

Witt says he’d just pulled in to the parking lot of the Steak ’n Shake in Sheridan, Colo., and was opening his car door.

“All I hear is, ‘Are you one of them neo-Nazis?’ as this dude is swinging a knife up over my car door at me,” he said.

“I threw my hands up and once the knife kind of hit, I dived back into my car and shut the door and watched him run off west, behind my car.

“The dude was actually aiming for my head,” he added.

“I was more in shock because I was just getting a milkshake.”

WTF is a Nazi haircut any way? I would like a precise definition because I’m not exactly sure how you can define such a thing.

I’m going to take a guess, but apparently a Nazi haircut is broadly defined as a White male who has hair on his head.

National Socialism Stood Against the Evils of Freemasonry


As soon as Hitler came to power in Germany on January 30, 1933 he ordered that several anti-Masonic pamphlets be printed by the government and circulated among the citizenry. Among these official NS documents were: “Annhilation of Freemasonry”, “Freemasonry, Marxism, and Judaism: The Cause of War”, and the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”.

A “Beautiful Journey”: Rare Pictures of Hitler Meeting Britain’s Duke of Windsor Up for Auction

A photo album showing the Duke of Windsor meeting Adolf Hitler while on a state visit to the Third Reich Germany in 1937 is to be sold at auction.


It was created and captioned by Edward’s sole equerry, Sir Dudley Forwood, and has been in his family ever since.

The album features pictures – many of them previously unseen – of the former Edward VIII meeting top ranking Nazis.

More than 60 pictures detail the official visits the Duke went on with his new wife Wallis Simpson, who had been the cause of the abdication crisis the previous year.

Sir Dudley became the Duke’s personal attendant after the abdication until the outbreak of war, when he returned to his regiment, the Scots Guards.

He later said the Duke’s trip to Germany was “not to support the National Socialists as many thought”, but so the Duchess of Windsor could experience a state visit.

The album is being sold by auction house Duke’s of Dorchester along with Sir Dudley’s invitation to the funeral of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986.

Timothy Medhurst, an expert from Duke’s, said the album is expected to fetch up to £1,000.

“This is an incredible piece of history with impeccable provenance,” he said.

“It shows the couple in a relaxed environment being shown around by Nwho are clearly proud of their nation.

“The photos are neatly compiled in an album with captions written shortly after the visit. Some are quite amusing and include him (Sir Dudley) moaning about having to listen to a school choir for two hours.

“At the end of the concert he says both nations’ national anthems were played and he adds, ‘The press interest as to whether or not the Duke would follow the example of the Nazis and give their salute was quite funny’.

“He writes about how German firms were encouraged to provide staff with sports grounds and if they didn’t they’d get a bad ‘Nazi Mark’.

“In one caption he notes how the Duke told (Nazi politician) Dr (Robert) Ley that demolishing a tower so it could be rebuilt solely for aesthetic reasons was a ‘waste’, to which Ley replied, ‘We have the bricks, the mortar and the labour’.

“It is a unique piece of history compiled at a time when the Nazi war machine was preparing for European conquest and the systematic slaughter of millions of people.

“There will be interest from royal collectors but also those with an interest in history and the war.

“It is being auctioned in a sale that includes a number of other items from this period including medals.”

Sir Dudley once recalled the Duke telling Hitler: “The Germans and the British races are one. They should always be one. They are of Hun origin.”

He added that the Duke must have forgotten about the Norman invasion.

The photographs show the Duke and his wife visiting many places, including a mine, a winter relief headquarters, a lightbulb factory and a school, which Sir Dudley noted was being set up “‘to teach the young Germans to become true National Socialists. It is run on the lines of an English public school with every type of facilities for games”.

Many images record how the couple were shown around by Ley, who was in charge of the visit and a hardcore National Socialist.

He remained in Hitler’s inner circle until the end and was later arrested, but killed himself while awaiting trial.

The title page of the album, written in German, appears to quote a popular song of the day The Good Comrade, and then On A Beautiful Journey.

In Berlin, Nationalists and Antifascists Take to the Streets on the 30th Anniversary of Murder of Rudolf Hess

National Socialists marched in the streets of Berlin as antifascist counterprotesters assembled to meet them.

Helmeted police in riot gear stood guard as nationalist demonstrators converged on the German capital to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s deputy.

About 500 people on each side turned out, police said.

Convicted at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, Hess served a life sentence at Spandau Prison and was the sole inmate there from 1966 until his death in 1987.

National Socialist sympathizers revere Hess because he never renounced his beliefs decades after the fall of the Third Reich.

One of rally banners read, “I do not regret anything,” Hess’ last words before his sentencing at Nuremberg. Another banner disputed the account that Hess committed suicide at age 93: “It was murder. Enough with the suicide lie.”

Forged in the ashes of World War II, strict laws in Germany ban ancient National Socialist symbols and free speech.

Rally organizers told demonstrators not to play marching music and to walk silently to the site of Spandau Prison, razed after Hess’ death. Every 25th person could carry an imperial German flag. They were not allowed to wear NS attire and display a swastika.

Funereal music played from a truck as the patriotic demonstrators marched to the prison site.

Anti-fascist counterprotesters chanted “war criminal” at demonstrators, shouted “all Berlin hates the police” and advanced toward officers.

Residents played loud music from balconies countering the demonstrators, such as a Michael Jackson song declaring, “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.”

A negroid woman held up a sign with a heart, prompting native german youth to shout “go home.” She replied, “Berlin is my home.”

In contrast with the restrictions in Germany, US law protects the right of patriots, white nationalist, the Ku Klux Klan and other white rights groups to hold public rallies and express their views openly.

Karl Bauer’s Portraits of Third Reich Figures


Karl Konrad Friedrich Bauer (1868–1942) was a German artist, print-maker and poet. He was an expert draftsmanship, and in the early 20th century he found a good deal of success as an illustrator and portrait artist. Because of his traditional style, he was more than welcome to continue working in the arts when the National Socialists came to power, even receiving the Goethe Medal for Art and Science. Before he died during a visit to Munich in 1942, Karl completed a number of portraits of Adolf Hitler, as well as leaders and heroes of the Third Reich, which have been compiled by NS Europa.

Remembering Rudolf Hess (1894 -1987)


This August 17, 2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the murder of Rudolf Hess at Spandau Prison perpetrated (according to what we know now) by ‘British Intelligence’, in collaboration with American agents, with inside information related to the event being in power of the Mossad (check Murder of Rudolf Hess part 2 of 3 | 06:32 min. in). Go figure.

The Spandau Prison was constructed in 1876 in the borough of Spandau in Western Berlin, and it was demolished in 1987 after the death of its last prisoner, Rudolf Hess, to ”prevent it from becoming a neo-Nazi shrine”. We know this is precisely what they did with Hess’ grave a few years ago as well, as they gave the lousy excuse of it becoming a ”neo-Nazi pilgrimage site”. We also know these Jews do this with the purpose of demoralizing any sympathizers of the cause and humiliate (even postmortem) all people who were active part in the National Socialist period, but especially renown figures like Rudolf Hess, who in the last few decades has deservedly acquired a tragic hero’s recognition. As long as icons like Hess live in the hearts and minds of people they will not be erased from memory.

The paragraphs below come from the Rudolf Hess’ metapedia entry. I have added some referenced links to the text, like the Telegraph’s article, which I recommend reading (in case anyone has not). I hope this will help to shed some extra light on the issue:

Criticisms of the politically correct view on the peace proposal, the sentencing, and the alleged suicide

Controversy surrounds the peace proposal, what it offered, and if Hitler knew about it. The very strict lifelong imprisonment and “suicide” of Hess have been seen as intended to prevent Hess from revealing circumstances embarrassing for the (Western) Allies. For example, a British acceptance of a German peace proposal may possibly have prevented the later enormous casualties and destruction due to the war, “the Holocaust”, and the postwar Communist occupation of and terror in Eastern Europe.

The official National Socialist rejection of Hess and the peace proposal (once it failed) may have been due to the peace proposal containing sensitive details such as a proposed alliance against the Soviet Union, which was at this time a German ally.

Regardless if the above theories are correct or not, the lifelong imprisonment of Hess has been seen as a particularly unjust part of the Nuremberg trials. British historian A.J.P. Taylor once summed up the arguments for the injustice of the Hess case:

Hess came to this country in 1941 as an ambassador of peace. He came with the … intention of restoring peace between Great Britain and Germany. He acted in good faith. He fell into our hands and was quite unjustly treated as a prisoner of war. After the war, we should have released him. Instead, the British government of the time delivered him for sentencing to the International Tribunal at Nuremberg … No crime has ever been proved against Hess … As far as the records show, he was never at even one of the secret discussions at which Hitler explained his war plans.”

Regarding the alleged suicide, his lawyer, Dr Seidl, felt Hess was too old and frail to have managed to kill himself. His son Wolf Rüdiger Hess repeatedly claimed that his father had been murdered by the British Secret Intelligence Service to prevent him from revealing not politicially correct information. Abdallah Melaouhi, who served as Hess’s medical orderly from 1982 to 1987 wrote a book on a similar theme. A report released in 2012 again raised the question of whether Hess was murdered. Historian Peter Padfield claims the suicide note found on the body appears to have been written when Hess was hospitalized in 1969.

A 2013 article in The Telegraph stated that:

Peter Padfield, an historian, has uncovered evidence he says shows that, Hess, the deputy Fuhrer, brought with him from Hitler, a detailed peace treaty, under which the Nazis would withdraw from western Europe, in exchange for British neutrality over the imminent attack on Russia. The existence of such a document was revealed to him by an informant who claims that he and other German speakers were called in by MI6 to translate the treaty for Churchill. […] There is no mention of the treaty in any of the official archives which have since been made public, but Mr Padfield believes this is because there has been an ongoing cover-up to protect the reputations of powerful figures. The author says that his informant broke off contact with him after approaching his former masters in the security services.”

As an homage to the man himself, and also to the late Ernst Zündel, I’m posting this video below, which far from being perfect, serves as a better document on what really happened during that August of 87, told by Rudolf Hess’ son himself. That is going to be much better than posting any ‘evil-Nazi’ glossy-produced documentary from the Channel of Historical Lies better known as the ‘History Channel’. I hope people appreciate it. As a further reading piece, even if I have not gone through it yet, I attach the free PDF download for the book HESS The Missing Years 1941-1945 by David Irving.

Murder of Rudolf Hess part 1 of 3 (presented by Ernst Zündel)

Rudolf Hess – His last words before final jugdment in Colour

Ferdinand Liebermann – German Sculptor Favoured by the Führer
Biography from the German Art Gallery

Ferdinand Liebermann (1883–1941), the son of a toy manufacturer, was a German sculptor. He studied at the Munich School of Arts and Crafts and the Art Academy.

After taking study trips to Rome and Paris, he opened a studio in 1910 in Munich. In the same year he received the Great Austrian Golden State Medal for a small bronze sculpture. Several exhibitions followed. He became one of the most important designers for the porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal AG. Liebermann’s work-spectrum encompasses bronze sculpturing, monumental sculpturing and memorials. In 1926 he received the professor title for monumental and portrait sculpturing in Munich.

Ferdinand Liebermann, working on an oversized Führerbust.

After 1933, Liebermann produced at the orders of the Nazi party 32 busts of Hitler (all 1½ life size), one of which was a commission from the city of Munich for the city hall. In appreciation he was made city councillor of the Capital of the Movement, the ‘Haupstadt der Bewegung’. Liebermann’s Führerbust was displayed at the XIX Venice Biennale 1934 (‘Cancelliere del Reich Adolf Hitler’) and also at the GDKs of 1937, 1938 and in the Münchener Kunstausttellungen 1934, 1940 and 1941. It is said that the busts designed by Liebermann were favoured by the German leader over all the others.

His sculpture ‘L’Abbandoro’ (‘Abandoned’) was displayed at the XIV Biennale 1924 in Venice; ‘Erhebung’ (‘Elevatione’ or ‘Elevation’) was displayed at the XIX Venice Biennale 1934 and later again at the GDK 1937, room 9. In 1938 his bronze ‘Abwehr’ (‘Defence’ or ‘Ripulso’) was displayed at the XXI Venice Biennale. Liebermann also completed a bronze bust of Hitler’s half-niece Geli Raubal, who had shot herself in Hitler’s apartment in 1931. From this bust Hitler had numerous copies made for display in his residences.

At the Great German Art Exhibitions Ferdinand Liebermann was represented with 16 works, among them the two Hitler busts, the relief ‘Wille’ (design for the Freikorps-monument), a bust of Riechsleiter Alfred Rosenberg, Reichsleiter Amann and two ‘Kampf’ sculptures.

In 1941, the year of his death, he created the massive sculpture for the Freikorpsdenkmal (‘Freikorps monument’) in Munich. This monument was dedicated to the Freikorps, a post-World War I right-wing organization. It was also named: ‘Das Denkmal für die Befreier Münchens von den kommunistischen Horden’ (‘Memorial for the liberators of Munich from the communist hordes’). On May 3rd, 1942 it was erected at a busy traffic intersection, the Giesinger Hill (Munich), which was the site of a May 1919 battle between the Freikorps and local communists. The monumental stone structure was composed of a twenty-four foot high relief of a naked male figure strangling a snake symbolizing degeneration and decline. The Freikorps memorial itself was removed after the war, but its concrete base can still be seen today on Ichostraße. A smaller version of the sculpture with the name ‘Wille’ (Will) was displayed in the GDK 1940, room 7. In the possession of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen are the following works: ‘Eva’ (GDK 1939 room 35), ‘Abwehr’, ‘In Erwartung’, Frisches Lachen’, ‘Paolo’, ‘Rhythmus’ and ‘Knabe auf einem Waller reitend’. A copy of ‘Eva’ in bronze (72 cm high) was displayed at the exhibition ‘Kunst im 3. Reich, Dokumente der Unterwerfung’; the exhibition, instigated by the Frankfurter Kunstverein, was held from 1974 to 1975 in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Ludwigshafen and Wuppertal.

Wilhelm Furtwängler and Music in the Third Reich


Renegade Editor’s Note: Here’s a good video to pique your interest.

By Antony Charles

From The Journal of Historical Review, May-June 1998 (Vol. 17, No. 3), pp. 2 ff.

Not only during his lifetime, but also in the decades since his death in 1954, Wilhelm Furtwängler has been globally recognized as one of the greatest musicians of this century, above all as the brilliant primary conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra, which he lead from 1922 to 1945, and again after 1950. On his death, the Encyclopaedia Britannica commented: “By temperament a Wagnerian, his restrained dynamism, superb control of his orchestra and mastery of sweeping rhythms also made him an outstanding exponent of Beethoven.” Furtwängler was also a composer of merit

Underscoring his enduring greatness have been several recent in-depth biographies and a successful 1996 Broadway play, “Taking Sides,” that portrays his postwar “denazification” purgatory, as well as steadily strong sales of CD recordings of his performances (some of them available only in recent years). Furtwängler societies are active in the United States, France, Britain, Germany and other countries. His overall reputation, however, especially in America, is still a controversial one.

Following the National Socialist seizure of power in 1933, some prominent musicians – most notably such Jewish artists as Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer and Arnold Schoenberg – left Germany. Most of the nation’s musicians, however, including the great majority of its most gifted musical talents, remained – and even flourished. With the possible exception of the composer Richard Strauss, Furtwängler was the most prominent musician to stay and “collaborate.”

Consequently, discussion of his life – even today – still provokes heated debate about the role of art and artists under Hitler and, on a more fundamental level, about the relationship of art and politics.

A Non-Political Patriot

Wilhelm Furtwängler drew great inspiration from his homeland’s rich cultural heritage, and his world revolved around music, especially German music. Although essentially non-political, he was an ardent patriot, and leaving his fatherland was simply out of the question.

Ideologically he may perhaps be best characterized as a man of the “old” Germany – a Wilhelmine conservative and an authoritarian elitist. Along with the great majority of his countrymen, he welcomed the demise of the ineffectual democratic regime of Germany’s “Weimar republic” (1918–1933). Indeed, he was the conductor chosen to direct the gala performance of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger” for the “Day of Potsdam,” a solemn state ceremony on March 21, 1933, at which President von Hindenburg, the youthful new Chancellor Adolf Hitler and the newly-elected Reichstag formally ushered in the new government of “national awakening.” All the same, Furtwängler never joined the National Socialist Party (unlike his chief musical rival, fellow conductor Herbert von Karajan).

It wasn’t long before Furtwängler came into conflict with the new authorities. In a public dispute in late 1934 with Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels over artistic direction and independence, he resigned his positions as director of the Berlin Philharmonic and as head of the Berlin State Opera. Soon, however, a compromise agreement was reached whereby he resumed his posts, along with a measure of artistic independence. He was also able to exploit both his prestigious position and the artistic and jurisdictional rivalries between Goebbels and Göring to play a greater and more independent role in the cultural life of Third Reich Germany.

From then on, until the Reich’s defeat in the spring of 1945, he continued to conduct to much acclaim both at home and abroad (including, for example, a highly successful concert tour of Britain in 1935). He was also a guest conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic, 1939–1940, and at the Bayreuth Festival. On several occasions he led concerts in support of the German war effort. He also nominally served as a member of the Prussian State Council and as vice-president of the “Reich Music Chamber,” the state-sponsored professional musicians’ association.

Throughout the Third Reich era, Furtwängler’s eminent influence on Europe’s musical life never diminished.

Cultural Vitality

For Americans conditioned to believe that nothing of real cultural or artistic merit was produced in Germany during the Hitler era, the phrase “Nazi art” is an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. The reality, though, is not so simple, and it is gratifying to note that some progress is being made to set straight the historical record.

This is manifest, for example, in the publication in recent years of two studies that deal extensively with Furtwängler, and which generally defend his conduct during the Third Reich: The Devil’s Music Master by Sam Shirakawa [reviewed in the Jan.–Feb. 1994 Journal, pp. 41–43] and Trial of Strength by Fred K. Prieberg. These revisionist works not only contest the widely accepted perception of the place of artists and arts in the Third Reich, they express a healthy striving for a more factual and objective understanding of the reality of National Socialist Germany.

Prieberg’s Trial of Strength concentrates almost entirely on Furtwängler’s intricate dealings with Goebbels, Göring, Hitler and various other figures in the cultural life of the Third Reich. In so doing, he demonstrates that in spite of official measures to “coordinate” the arts, the regime also permitted a surprising degree of artistic freedom. Even the anti-Jewish racial laws and regulations were not always applied with rigor, and exceptions were frequent. (Among many instances that could be cited, Leo Blech retained his conducting post until 1937, in spite of his Jewish ancestry.) Furtwängler exploited this situation to intervene successfully in a number of cases on behalf of artists, including Jews, who were out of favor with the regime. He also championed Paul Hindemith, a “modern” composer whose music was regarded as degenerate.

The artists and musicians who left the country (especially the Jewish ones) contended that without them, Germany’s cultural life would collapse. High culture, they and other critics of Hitler and his regime arrogantly believed, would wither in an ardently nationalist and authoritarian state. As Prieberg notes: “The musicians who emigrated or were thrown out of Germany from 1933 onwards indeed felt they were irreplaceable and in consequence believed firmly that Hitler’s Germany would, following their departure, become a dreary and empty cultural wasteland. This would inevitably cause the rapid collapse of the regime.”

Time would prove the critics wrong. While it is true that the departure of such artists as Fritz Busch and Bruno Walter did hurt initially (and dealt a blow to German prestige), the nation’s most renowned musicians – including Richard Strauss, Carl Orff, Karl Böhm, Hans Pfitzner, Wilhelm Kempff, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, Herbert von Karajan, Anton Webern, as well as Furtwängler – remained to produce musical art of the highest standards. Regardless of the emigration of a number of Jewish and a few non-Jewish artists, as well as the promulgation of sweeping anti-Jewish restrictions, Germany’s cultural life not only continued at a high level, it flourished.

The National Socialists regarded art, and especially music, as an expression of a society’s soul, character and ideals. A widespread appreciation of Germany’s cultural achievements, they believed, encouraged a joyful national pride and fostered a healthy sense of national unity and mission. Because they regarded themselves as guardians of their nation’s cultural heritage, they opposed liberal, modernistic trends in music and the other arts, as degenerate assaults against the cultural-spiritual traditions of Germany and the West.

Acting swiftly to promote a broad revival of the nation’s cultural life, the new National Socialist government made prodigious efforts to further the arts and, in particular, music. As detailed in two recent studies (Kater’s The Twisted Muse and Levi’s Music in the Third Reich), not only did the new leadership greatly increase state funding for such important cultural institutions as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Bayreuth Wagner Festival, it used radio, recordings and other means to make Germany’s musical heritage as accessible as possible to all its citizens.

As part of its efforts to bring art to the people, it strove to erase classical music’s snobbish and “class” image, and to make it widely familiar and enjoyable, especially to the working class. At the same time, the new regime’s leaders were mindful of popular musical tastes. Thus, by far most of the music heard during the Third Reich era on the radio or in films was neither classical nor even traditional. Light music with catchy tunes – similar to those popular with listeners elsewhere in Europe and in the United States – predominated on radio and in motion pictures, especially during the war years.

The person primarily responsible for implementing the new cultural policies was Joseph Goebbels. In his positions as Propaganda Minister and head of the “Reich Culture Chamber,” the umbrella association for professionals in cultural life, he promoted music, literature, painting and film in keeping with German values and traditions, while at the same time consistent with popular tastes.

Hitler’s Attitude

No political leader had a keener interest in art, or was a more enthusiastic booster of his nation’s musical heritage than Hitler, who regarded the compositions of Beethoven, Wagner, Bruckner and the other German masters as sublime expressions of the Germanic “soul.”

Hitler’s reputation as a bitter, second rate “failed artist” is undeserved. As John Lukacs acknowledges in his recently published work, The Hitler of History (pp. 70–72), the German leader was a man of real artistic talent and considerable artistic discernment.

We perhaps can never fully understand Hitler and the spirit behind his political movement without knowing that he drew great inspiration from, and identified with, the heroic figures of European legend who fought to liberate their peoples from tyranny, and whose stories are immortalized in the great musical dramas of Wagner and others.

This was vividly brought out by August Kubizek, Hitler’s closest friend as a teenager and young man, in his postwar memoir (published in the US under the title The Young Hitler I Knew). Kubizek describes how, after the two young men together attended for the first time a performance in Linz of Wagner’s opera “Rienzi,” Hitler spoke passionately and at length about how this work’s inspiring story of a popular Roman tribune had so deeply moved him. Years later, after he had become Chancellor, he related to Kubizek how that performance of “Rienzi” had radically changed his life. “In that hour it began,” he confided.

Hitler of course recognized Furtwängler’s greatness and understood his significance for Germany and German music. Thus, when other officials (including Himmler) complained of the conductor’s nonconformity, Hitler overrode their objections. Until the end, Furtwängler remained his favorite conductor. He was similarly indulgent toward his favorite heldentenor, Max Lorenz, and Wagnerian soprano Frida Leider, each of whom was married to a Jew. Their cultural importance trumped racial or political considerations.

Postwar Humiliations

A year and a half after the end of the war in Europe, Furtwängler was brought before a humiliating “denazification” tribunal. Staged by American occupation authorities and headed by a Communist, it was a farce. So much vital information was withheld from both the tribunal and the defendant that, Shirakawa suggests, the occupation authorities may well have been determined to “get” the conductor.

In his closing remarks at the hearing, Furtwängler defiantly defended his record:

The fear of being misused for propaganda purposes was wiped out by the greater concern for preserving German music as far as was possible … I could not leave Germany in her deepest misery. To get out would have been a shameful flight. After all, I am a German, whatever may be thought of that abroad, and I do not regret having done it for the German people.

Even with a prejudiced judge and serious gaps in the record, the tribunal was still unable to establish a credible case against the conductor, and he was, in effect, cleared.

A short time later, Furtwängler was invited to assume direction of the Chicago Symphony. (He was no stranger to the United States: in 1927–29 he had served as visiting conductor of the New York Philharmonic.)

On learning of the invitation, America’s Jewish cultural establishment launched an intense campaign – spearheaded by The New York Times, musicians Artur Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz, and New York critic Ira Hirschmann – to scuttle Furtwängler’s appointment. As described in detail by Shirakawa and writer Daniel Gillis (in Furtwängler and America) the campaigners used falsehoods, innuendos and even death threats.

Typical of its emotionally charged rhetoric was the bitter reproach of Chicago Rabbi Morton Berman:

Furtwängler preferred to swear fealty to Hitler. He accepted at Hitler’s hands his reappointment as director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He was unfailing in his service to Goebbels’ ministry of culture and propaganda … The token saving of a few Jewish lives does not excuse Mr. Furtwängler from official, active participation in a regime which murdered six million Jews and millions of non-Jews. Furtwängler is a symbol of all those hateful things for the defeat of which the youth of our city and nation paid an ineffable price.

Among prominent Jews in classical music, only the famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin defended the German artist. After Furtwängler was finally obliged to withdrew his name from consideration for the Chicago post, a disillusioned Moshe Menuhin, Yehudi’s father, scathingly denounced his co-religionists. Furtwängler, he declared,

was a victim of envious and jealous rivals who had to resort to publicity, to smear, to calumny, in order to keep him out of America so it could remain their private bailiwick. He was the victim of the small fry and puny souls among concert artists, who, in order to get a bit of national publicity, joined the bandwagon of professional idealists, the professional Jews and hired hands who irresponsibly assaulted an innocent and humane and broad-minded man …

A Double Standard

Third Reich Germany is so routinely demonized in our society that any acknowledgment of its cultural achievements is regarded as tantamount to defending “fascism” and that most unpardonable of sins, anti-Semitism. But as Professor John London suggests (in an essay in The Jewish Quarterly, “Why Bother about Fascist Culture?,” Autumn 1995), this simplistic attitude can present awkward problems:

Far from being a totally ugly, unpopular, destructive entity, culture under fascism was sometimes accomplished, indeed beautiful … If you admit the presence, and in some instances the richness, of a culture produced under fascist regimes, then you are not defending their ethos. On the other hand, once you start dismissing elements, where do you stop?

In this regard, is it worth comparing the way that many media and cultural leaders treat artists of National Socialist Germany with their treatment of the artists of Soviet Russia. Whereas Furtwängler and other artists who performed in Germany during the Hitler era are castigated for their cooperation with the regime, Soviet-era musicians, such as composers Aram Khachaturian and Sergei Prokofiev, and conductors Evgeny Svetlanov and Evgeny Mravinsky – all of whom toadied to the Communist regime in varying degrees – are rarely, if ever, chastised for their “collaboration.” The double standard that is clearly at work here is, of course, a reflection of our society’s obligatory concern for Jewish sensitivities.

The artist and his work occupy a unique place in society and history. Although great art can never be entirely divorced from its political or social environment, it must be considered apart from that. In short, art transcends politics.

No reasonable person would denigrate the artists and sculptors of ancient Greece because they glorified a society that, by today’s standards, was hardly democratic. Similarly, no one belittles the builders of medieval Europe’s great cathedrals on the grounds that the social order of the Middle Ages was dogmatic and hierarchical. No cultured person would disparage William Shakespeare because he flourished during England’s fervently nationalistic and anti-Jewish Elizabethan age. Nor does anyone chastise the magnificent composers of Russia’s Tsarist era because they prospered under an autocratic regime. In truth, mankind’s greatest cultural achievements have most often been the products not of liberal or egalitarian societies, but rather of quite un-democratic ones.

A close look at the life and career of Wilhelm Furtwängler reveals “politically incorrect” facts about the role of art and artists in Third Reich Germany, and reminds us that great artistic creativity and achievement are by no means the exclusive products of democratic societies.


Gillis, Daniel. Furtwängler and America. Palo Alto: Rampart Press, 1970

Kater, Michael H. The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997

Levi, Erik. Music in the Third Reich. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994

Prieberg, Fred K. Trial of Strength: Wilhelm Furtwängler in the Third Reich. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994

Shirakawa, Sam H. The Devil’s Music Master: The Controversial Life and Career of Wilhelm Furtwängler. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992

A Note on Wartime Recordings

Among the most historically fascinating and sought-after recordings of Wilhelm Furtwängler performances are his live wartime concerts with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras. Many were recorded by the Reich Broadcasting Company on magnetophonic tape with comparatively good sound quality. Music & Arts (Berkeley, California) and Tahra (France) have specialized in releasing good quality CD recordings of these performances. Among the most noteworthy are:

Beethoven, Third “Eroica” Symphony (1944) – Tahra 1031 or Music & Arts CD 814

Beethoven, Fifth Symphony (1943) – Tahra set 1032/33, which also includes Furtwängler’s performances of this same symphony from 1937 and 1954.

Beethoven, Ninth “Choral” Symphony (1942) – Music & Arts CD 653 or Tahra 1004/7.

Brahms, Four Symphonies – Music & Arts set CD 941 (includes two January 1945 performances, Furtwängler’s last during the war).

Bruckner, Fifth Symphony (1942) – Music & Arts CD 538

Bruckner, Ninth Symphony (1944) – Music & Arts CD 730 (also available in Europe on Deutsche Gramophon CD, and in the USA as an import item).

  1. Strauss, “Don Juan” (1942), and Four Songs, with Peter Anders (1942), etc. – Music & Arts CD 829.

Wagner, “Die Meistersinger:” Act I, Prelude (1943), and “Tristan und Isolde:” Prelude and Liebestod (1942), etc. – Music & Arts CD 794.

Wagner, “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” excerpts from “Die Walküre” and “Gotterdämmerung” – Music & Arts set CD 1035 (although not from the war years, these 1937 Covent Garden performances are legendary)

“Great Conductors of the Third Reich: Art in the Service of Evil” is a worthwhile 53-minute VHS videocassette produced by the Bel Canto Society (New York). Released in 1997, it is distributed by Allegro (Portland, Oregon). It features footage of Furtwängler conducting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for Hitler’s birthday celebration in April 1942. He is also shown conducting at Bayreuth, and leading a concert for wounded soldiers and workers at an AEG factory during the war. Although the notes are highly tendentious, the rare film footage is fascinating.

Knowledge and Power

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both.”

—James Madison