Swastika Tube
August 28, 2008 11:43 PM   Subscribe

Spiegel TV has tracked down rare Nazi TV footage, complete with everything from bizarre cabaret acts to interviews with people like Albert Speer. Pop culture done by Nazis, the banality of showbiz evil.

found here alternate link
posted by hortense (29 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
When the voiceover said "Volks TV" I heard "Fox TV" at first.
posted by longsleeves at 12:26 AM on August 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


Wow, fascinating videos hortense. That guy in your second link, the TV host guy, whoa, he's an Aryan Snidely Whiplash with a Dudley Do-Right mask on. Such a caricature of Nazi malevolence, I expected him any minute to get hypno eyes with little swastika pinwheels.

And that psycho Bavarian woman in the same vid, between :30 and :46 doing the "Strength through joy" skit, yikes, some demonic sharky thing going down there. Never thought joy could look so much like a nightmare.

The author of that documentary is Michael Kloft. He directed another intriguing documentary, a comparison of the parallel lives of Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, called The Tramp and the Dictator.
posted by nickyskye at 12:53 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Great link, really fascinating stuff. Fast forward to 21:00 for some extreme creepiness. The last 5-10 minutes or so are also totally bizarre, as it documents the programming made after all televisions in the Reich were installed in military hospitals toward the end of the war to entertain the wounded and crippled. There's a documentary clip showing single-legged amputees hopping through an obstacle course so they can be rehabilitated enough to rejoin Goebbels' Total War, and a double amputee who pretty clearly wishes he were dead struggling to dance with a woman and talking about how wonderful life is. Totally surreal.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:53 AM on August 29, 2008


Good link. Maybe you should have mentioned Paul Nipkow, the guy the TV facility commemorated.
posted by CCBC at 1:00 AM on August 29, 2008


That guy in your second link, the TV host guy, whoa, he's an Aryan Snidely Whiplash with a Dudley Do-Right mask on.

Yeah, that's the extreme creepiness I mentioned, I hadn't watched the second video. The terrifyingly smarmy Aryan talking about "a different beat" and alluding to concentration camps. He's at about 1:00 into the shorter YouTube video if you don't want to watch the whole documentary, although you should if you've got an hour to spare. You don't want to miss out on such thrilling programs as "The Joy Of Home Gardening" and Nazi cooking shows showing the Frauleins how to feed a hungry master race.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:01 AM on August 29, 2008


This is fascinating. Great post.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:19 AM on August 29, 2008


Sounds like it is narrated by the wonderful Paul Vaughn too
posted by A189Nut at 1:30 AM on August 29, 2008


I'm hereby copyrighting "You know who else liked pop culture?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:32 AM on August 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


What? No Sexy Sport Clips?

More entertaining than modern German television.
posted by chillmost at 2:08 AM on August 29, 2008


Fascinating. Cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:28 AM on August 29, 2008


Amazing, frightening post. Sometimes it is hard to understand how people could have gotten sucked in to this, because drained of historical context and knowledge of menace a lot of fascist things seem a bit comedic. All jokes aside though, the sound and vision of evil is razor filled cheese and banality. I remember reading an article in the Observer about Serbian 'Turbo-folk' which was in essence the sound of genocide. Arkan et al rocked out to this brand of pop while committing unspeakable atrocities. I was curious to hear what it sounded like and hunted some down. Sure enough, it sounded a lot like Abba - vapid, over processed helium vocals, simple, dancable melodies etc. Fascist entertainment is more likely to be more like Mamma Mia! than Triumph of the Will. Bread and circuses etc etc.
posted by The Salaryman at 4:13 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Following the idea of Pop culture by the Nazis, only with propaganda purposes, here is a link to Charlie and His Orchestra, Joseph Goebbels Swing band. Good post, thanks!
posted by micayetoca at 5:39 AM on August 29, 2008


That second link was hair-raising.

But it was also a nice example of how the camps weren't some deep secret that only a small group of high-ranking people knew about — they were something that people could joke about on television.

Salaryman, thanks for the mention of turbo-folk. I'd heard it in movies, but didn't know it had a name. The Wikipedia page has a nice overview; there is lots on youtube (example). Right now I have a Ceca song playing in the background that sounds like a cross between a James Bond theme song and Turkish folk music.
posted by Forktine at 6:05 AM on August 29, 2008


Cheers, Forktine! I forgot to mention that the irony of the Turkish inflections given the Ottomanite connections of their victims. Ceca is one spooky lady...
posted by The Salaryman at 6:14 AM on August 29, 2008


Mein Kamcorder.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:56 AM on August 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is really a great post...I had no idea the nazis were broadcasting TV.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:27 AM on August 29, 2008


This is my morning dose of surrealism. I thought I knew a thing or two about Nazi Germany (research for writing projects) but, like bonobothegreat, I didn't know the bastards were into video. What a great, great post. Thanks!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:31 AM on August 29, 2008


Superb post, many thanks for sharing it.

That second link was hair-raising.


The second link is just a few snippets from the first, which should be watched in its entirety. I had no intention of watching a 54-minute documentary, but by the end I wished it were longer. Mesmerizing stuff.
posted by languagehat at 8:07 AM on August 29, 2008


From the "pop culture" link: "Take those so called 'foreign-exchange musicians'. We don't beat about the bush with them, do we? They're sent to 'concert camps' for their further education, where they're taught to sing for their supper."

Joking about sending people to 'concert camps' on TV kind of detracts from the whole 'we didn't know what was going on' defence of the German citizenry.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:04 AM on August 29, 2008


So how long until the full 254 reels are placed online somewhere? That would give me an excuse to learn German.
posted by crapmatic at 12:02 PM on August 29, 2008


Joking about sending people to 'concert camps' on TV kind of detracts from the whole 'we didn't know what was going on' defence of the German citizenry.

The opening of Dachau was widely reported in German newspapers.
posted by WPW at 2:02 PM on August 29, 2008


Joking about sending people to 'concert camps' on TV kind of detracts from the whole 'we didn't know what was going on' defence of the German citizenry.

Yeah, their "defense" was not that they didn't know concentration camps existed, but that they didn't know that genocide was happening in them. There were in fact no extermination camps in Germany itself, but even the lowest-level average moron must have at least heard rumors. The "lebensraum" emigrants living within smelling distance of death camps in Poland are just full of shit, though.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:01 PM on August 29, 2008


Fantastic stuff. Truly the best of the web. Thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 7:23 PM on August 29, 2008


Wandering around the web just now I came across this site, a prop and costume company with Nazi uniforms for sale and it reminded me of the OP.
posted by nickyskye at 8:12 PM on August 29, 2008


I can't believe they actually made a program called "Aristocracy of Labor" (3:50). Was it a joke?
posted by stammer at 9:15 PM on August 29, 2008


maybe that's where Arnold got his buckle nicky.
posted by hortense at 9:15 PM on August 29, 2008


/derail
Honestly hortense, I'm shocked seeing Arnold in that Naziesque skull buckle. yikes. What is he thinking?
posted by nickyskye at 3:46 PM on August 30, 2008


Who knows what he was thinking but he has a history.
posted by hortense at 6:08 PM on August 30, 2008


Berlin Reichshauptstadt 1936 short color film, excellent soundtrack
posted by hortense at 11:36 PM on September 26, 2008


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