Records labelled "Führerhauptquartier" and "Berghof"

Discussions on the music in the Third Reich. Hosted by Ivan Ž.
Gianni Lepri
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Records labelled "Führerhauptquartier" and "Berghof"

Post by Gianni Lepri » 07 Aug 2007 15:02

[Topic entitled "Hitler's record collection shows up in Russia" renamed by the host, Ivan Ž.]

One wonders how much more is buried over there.... ... 211203.ece
Adolf Hitler, the most notorious champion of Richard Wagner and “racially pure” German music, banished Jewish and Russian musicians from the concert halls of the Third Reich — but apparently listened secretly to their work.

New light has been shed on the Nazi leader’s musical tastes by the discovery of what are said to be a hundred of his gramophone records found in the attic of a former Soviet intelligence officer, Lev Besymenski.

“There were classical recordings, performed by the best orchestras of Europe and Germany with the best soloists of the age,” Mr Besymenski said in a document explaining how the records came into his possession.

The 86-year-old, who helped to interrogate captured Nazi generals, died this summer. The document and the record collection have now been made available to Der Spiegel magazine.

“I was astonished that Russian musicians were among the collection,” Mr Besymenski wrote. Hitler dismissed Russians as ‘Untermenschen’, sub-humans, and was contemptuous of their contribution to world culture. Yet the records included works by Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Rachmaninov — scratched from frequent playing and all clearly labelled ‘Führerhauptquartier’, the Führer’s headquarters.”

The Soviet intelligence officer had found them in Hitler’s Chancellery in Berlin in May 1945, still packed in crates. Hitler’s staff were counting on an evacuation to the Nazi leader’s Alpine hideaway on the Obersalzberg and it was known that he could only relax with his music.

Mr Besymenski, then a captain in military intelligence, kept quiet about the records during his lifetime for fear that he would be accused of looting.

The most astonishing fact about the records — essentially Hitler’s “Best of . . .” collections — is the presence of Jewish performers. Among the recordings is a Tchaikovsky concerto performed by the virtuoso Polish Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman. Hitler would have been aware, while listening to Huberman’s playing, that he had founded the Palestine Orchestra in 1936 (which went on to be the foundation of today’s Israel Philharmonic Orchestra) and that he was living in enforced exile. The Austrian Jewish pianist Artur Schnabel, whose mother was killed by the Nazis, also had his work included in Hitler’s personal collection. It is not known which records in the collection were listened to most frequently, nor have they been formally catalogued.

“I’m not terribly surprised by Hitler’s record choices,” said James Kennaway, of Stanford University. “Nazi music policy was pretty incoherent. Stravinsky was played in the Third Reich because he was known to have right-wing views, Bartok because Hungary was a German ally.” Dr Kennaway, a leading musicologist who specialises in the Nazi period, added: “The only real point of consistency in Nazi policy was antiSemitism, so the Schnabel and Huberman recordings do stand out.”

Hitler had spelt out his view of Jewish culture in Mein Kampf. “There was never a Jewish art and there is none today,” he wrote, adding that the “two queens of the arts, architecture and music, gained nothing original from the Jews”.

Roger Moorhouse, a historian and the author of Killing Hitler, said that the record collection, if authentic, suggested a contradiction between the Führer’s aesthetic and political values. He said: “It is interesting that being Russian or Jewish did not disqualify a musician from a place in Hitler’s record collection. There was probably a separation in his world view between the political and the artistic.”

Although Hitler took piano lessons as a child, he displayed no personal musical talent. His surgeon, Hanskarl von Hasselbach, noted that “Hitler always whistled out of tune”.

His former radio operator, Rochus Misch, the last survivor of Hitler’s bunker, recently recalled how he had summoned his manservant to put on a record after a row with army commanders. “He just sat there, completely sunk in the music. The Führer needed distraction.”

Führer’s favourites

Five discs that Hitler wanted to take with him

1 Piano sonatas, Opus 78 and 90, Beethoven

2 Wagner’s overture to The Flying Dutchman by the Bayreuth Orchestra, conducted by Heinz Tietjen

3 Russian arias, including the death in Boris Godunov, by Mussorgsky, sung by the Russian bass Fyodor Shalyapin

4 Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, soloist Bronislaw Huberman

5 Mozart Piano Sonata No 8 in A minor with Artur Schnabel

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Post by Reader3000 » 07 Aug 2007 18:00

This story also was in "Der Spiegel" this week: ... f/52485425

FHQ label.jpg
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Voice of Truth
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Post by Voice of Truth » 07 Aug 2007 18:54

I'm not in the least surprised. Contrary to what the media says, Hitler did not consider all Russians to be 'subhuman' - and certainly not Tchaikovsky! The 'subhuman' label was applied to motivate German soldiers in what was a war of hate and ideological difference. Hitler's view was that Russians were basically Aryans, though racially 'contaminated' through contact with Mongols, Jews, Turks and other 'Asiatics'. The Russian intelligentsia, to which the greatest Russian composers belonged, were a pure Aryan elite or aristocracy at the top of a racially mixed population. Nazi intentions with the Slavs was to Germanise this racial elite and reduce the rest to a much smaller rump by murder, famine and mass sterilisation. As for Hitler's musical tastes, they were basically romantic, hence his love of Wagner and other composers of the same period such as Strauss, Brahms and - Tchaikovsky.

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Post by Marcus » 07 Aug 2007 19:36

More at,214 ... 72,00.html
Adolf Hitler's music collection included some surprise choices: Russian and Jewish musicians considered "subhuman" by the Nazis. A woman found the music in her family's summer home near Moscow.

It's no surprise that music from Hitler favorite composers such as Richard Wagner and Ludwig van Beethoven would turn up in the Nazi leader's personal record collection.

Yet a Moscow attic has yielded a more complex picture of the Führer's musical taste. Nearly 100 records suggest Hitler also listened to Russian and Jewish musicians declared "subhuman" by the Nazis, according to an article in the current issue of Der Spiegel magazine.

A surprising find

In 1945, Lew Besymenski, a captain in Russia's military intelligence unit, went with two other officers to the recently captured Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The headquarters of the Nazi party were located near the secret underground bunker where Hitler committed suicide at the end of World War II.

Besymenski's comrades took silverware engraved with Hitler's initials home with them as souvenirs. Besymenski, a music lover, made an unexpected find. Behind several large steel doors that had been closed with special locks were boxes filled with personal belongings.

"It presented us with an odd sight: In each of the rooms there were numerous rows of sturdy wooden boxes all of them numbered," Besymenski wrote in a memoir years later, Der Spiegel reported.

The boxes were awaiting transfer to Hitler's mountain fortress in southern Germany and were filled with plates and various household goods, including Hitler's records.

Records kept in an attic

Besymenski 's daughter, Alexandra Besymenskaja, who is now 53, accidentally came across the box in 1991 when she was at the family summer home near Moscow.

She had been sent to the attic to look for a badminton racket. Her shin hit something hard and she saw that she'd run into a stack of records labeled Führerhauptquartier, as the Reich Chancellery is called in German.

She asked her 70-year-old father about the records, but he didn't want to talk about them, saying that he had only listened for years to CDs.

Besymenski didn't want to be seen as a marauder who had ransacked the enemy's personal belongings. He had taken them because music was his personal passion, his daughter said. When he died in June at the age of 86, his daughter decided to talk publicly about her father's record collection.

Of the 100 discs, some are scratched, others are warped or broken, but many remain in relatively good condition. The records include Beethoven's piano sonatas and Wagner's famous opera "The Flying Dutchman."

Hitler loved music, attending the opera almost daily during the time he lived in Vienna.

Hitler's hypocrisy

Surprisingly, Hitler's collection also included Russian composers labeled by the Nazis as "subhuman" such as Peter Tchaikovsky, Alexander Borodin and Sergei Rachmaninoff, Der Spiegel reported.

One of the Tchaikovsky records featured the star violinist Bronislaw Huberman, a Polish Jew forced to flee Europe when the Nazis took over.

Hitler didn't care who had made the music he listened to in his bunker, despite in his book "Mein Kampf" stating that Jewish art had never existed.

Besymenski, who was a Jew himself, was surprised that so many famous Russian composers were included in Hitler's record collection, according to the memoir he wrote after being pressured by his daughter to record how he had had ended up with the collection.

"I feel that is complete mockery," Besymenskaja told the magazine. "Millions of Slavs and Jews had to die because of the racist Nazi ideology."

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Post by Voice of Truth » 07 Aug 2007 23:10

I recall an entry in Goebbels' diary from late in the war, mentioning a particularly moving performance of Tchaikovsky's 'Pathetique' Symphony no.6, proving that Russian music WAS played in the Third Reich during the war. The statement on DW about Russian composers being considered 'subhumans' is a lie. Quite a serious lie, as well.

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Records from the Reich chancellery

Post by colt45 » 08 Aug 2007 14:32

[Split from "Recommended reading on Third Reich music"]
The weekly Der Spiegel said the daughter of a World War II Soviet military intelligence officer showed the magazine a collection of about 100 records her father took from the Reich chancellery in Berlin when the city fell to the Red Army in 1945.

Alongside predictable recordings, such as the overture to "The Flying Dutchman" by Hitler favorite Richard Wagner, the collection included works by composers from Russia, whose people were regarded as subhuman by Nazi ideologues, according to the report.

Among the works reportedly taken by Lev Bezymenski were an aria from Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov," performed by Russian bass Fyodor Shalyapin, and an album of Tchaikovsky works featuring star violinist Bronislaw Huberman _ a Polish Jew _ as a soloist. Works by Rachmaninov and Borodin were also featured in the collection.

"I find this grotesque," Der Spiegel quoted Bezymenski's daughter, Alexandra Bezymenskaya, as saying. "Millions of Slavs and Jews had to die as a result of the Nazis' racial ideology."

Artur Schnabel, a Jewish pianist from the Nazi leader's native Austria, also is among the performers in the collection, Der Spiegel said. The Schnabel family left Germany when Hitler rose to power and became U.S. citizens in 1944.

It was not clear exactly whom the records belonged to, whether Hitler himself actually listened to them, or where in the chancellery they were found.

Der Spiegel published a photograph of one record with a blue label reading "Fuehrer headquarters" and carrying an inventory number.

According to the report, Bezymenskaya only stumbled on the records, which were kept in the attic of the family dacha outside Moscow, in 1991. Three years ago, it added, she persuaded her father to write about the collection.

"These were recordings of classical music performed by the best orchestras of Europe and Germany with the best soloists of that time," Bezymenski wrote. "It surprised me that Russian music also was there."

Bezymenski, who himself was Jewish, listened to the records _ some of them now scratched and broken but mostly well-preserved _ and wrote that he occasionally lent them to musicians, Der Spiegel reported.

Bezymenski, who after the war became a historian and a professor at Moscow's military academy, died in June at 86, according to the report. His daughter has yet to decide what to do with the collection, it reported.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Re: Records labelled "Führerhauptquartier" and "Berghof"

Post by Ivan Ž. » 06 Nov 2020 17:59

Some additions to this old topic and (so-called) news. First of all, the fact that the records were labelled "Führerhauptquartier" doesn't mean that they were collected, selected nor actually listened to by Hitler (they could have been, of course). The "Führerhauptquartier" was a place (places actually), not a person. As can be seen by the (numbered) example published by Der Spiegel, there were hundreds of records in the FHQ collection (a small part of which the Soviet officer took from the Reich Chancellery).

There was also a record collection labelled "Berghof", which also consisted of hundreds of records. One of Hitler's bodyguards, Rochus Misch, recalled the collection in his memoirs (Hitler's Last Witness, London, 2014, p. 64): "An enormous cupboard about five metres long and three metres high stored Hitler's record collection and other private possessions." Hitler's secretary Traudl Junge also recalled the Berghof collection in her memoirs (Until the Final Hour, New York, 2004, p. 80): "A thick book listed all the records that the Führer owned. There must have been hundreds of them. The wooden panelling of the wall turned out to be a cupboard holding records, with a built-in gramophone that was invisible till the cupboard doors were opened. The black discs stood in long rows, labelled with numbers."

Junge additionally wrote that Hitler's music repertoire (in the 1940s, when she worked for him) was almost always the same: Lehár's operettas, songs by Richard Strauss, Hugo Wolf and Richard Wagner (all Germans and Austrians). The only Schlager record that he played (at the time) was the "Donkey Serenade", which usually concluded the music session (see pp. 80-81 of her memoirs). So, again, even if all of the aforementioned hundreds of records did belong to Hitler personally, it doesn't mean that he actually listened to them.


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