The first ever performance took place on New Year’s Eve 1939, raising money for the Winterhilfswerk, an annual fundraising drive masterminded by the National Socialist Party to buy fuel for the needy in the coldest months of the year.
When the Strausses were alive, the Vienna Philharmonic was a little sniffy about their music. Why would such an advanced and adventurous orchestra want to play popular tunes?
They started taking it more seriously in the late 1920s – but the idea of a seasonal Strauss gala really gained traction when the Nazi party’s cultural commissars hit upon the idea of a unifying event that could be broadcast live across the Third Reich. The concert moved to New Year’s Day in 1941.
As it became obvious the war was not going to be over quickly, the Blue Danube Waltz and Fledermaus overture were seen as a helpful way of shoring up flagging morale.
When it emerged that Strauss had some Jewish ancestry, the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels himself ensured the news was hushed up.
When the war ended, not a beat was missed – the concerts simply continued, their awkward history quietly forgotten.
Great! It’s a wonderful tradition, despite its origins; why should they cease doing it? 🙂
On a farm deep in the countryside 100 miles (160km) west from Sao Paulo, a football team has lined up for a commemorative photograph. What makes the image extraordinary is the symbol on the team’s flag – a swastika.
The picture probably dates from some time in the 1930s, after the Nazi Party’s rise to power in Germany – but this was on the other side of the world.
“Nothing explained the presence of a swastika here,” says Jose Ricardo Rosa Maciel, former rancher at the remote Cruzeiro do Sul farm near Campina do Monte Alegre, who stumbled across the photograph one day.
But this was actually his second puzzling discovery. The first occurred in the pigsty.
“One day the pigs broke a wall and escaped into the field,” he says. “I noticed the bricks that had fallen. I thought I was hallucinating.”
The underside of each brick was stamped with the swastika.
German scientists at Dachau concentration camp researched the possible use of malaria-infected mosquitoes as weapons during World War Two, a researcher has claimed.
Dr Klaus Reinhardt of Tuebingen University examined the archives of the Entomological Institute at Dachau.
He found that biologists had looked at which mosquitoes might best be able to survive outside their natural habitat.
He speculates that such insects could have been dropped over enemy territory.
Exist / have existed:
(Of course, there were gay Nazis, too:
and it is said:
So no surprise to find the same among their ideological descendents.)
Must be filled with self-loathing!