Much is documented — if little remembered — about Goebbels’s gift on Feb. 22, 1943. But the origins of the violin itself remain a mystery. Was it confiscated property, one of thousands of musical instruments plundered by the Nazis, or otherwise obtained under duress from those persecuted during the Nazi era?
Goebbels’s Speech at the Sportpalast in Berlin (February 18, 1943) On February 18, 1943, Joseph Goebbels delivered the most famous speech of his career at the Berlin Sportpalast. The speech came shortly after the German capitulation at Stalingrad. In it, he praised the German dead of Stalingrad as heroes and emphasized that their sacrifice had not been made in vain. (He had nothing to say, however, about the tens of thousands who had been captured.) Goebbels urged Germans to commit anew to an all-out war effort – or what he described as “total war.” The members of Goebbels’s carefully chosen audience responded to the speech with fanatical enthusiasm. This photograph shows the interior of the Sportpalast during Goebbels’s speech. The banner in the background reads: “Total War – Shortest War” (“Totaler Krieg – Kürzester Krieg”).
Adolf Hitler’s appointment as Reich Chancellor on January 30, 1933 put an end to the German republic. With political power moving into the hands of the National Socialists and propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels installed as the “patron of German film,” the pressure on Jews in Ufa’s staff increased. In the spring of 1933, unresisting, the company fired its Jewish employees ”due to the national revolution”. Erich Pommer was fired as well and emigrated to Paris in May. Ufa productions such as the patriotic submarine film Morgenrot (Dawn, 1932/33) became a symbol of the “new times” touted by the Nazi regime. In 1933, before open propaganda was increasingly replaced by sheer entertainment with ideological overtones, Goebbels celebrated the Ufa propaganda film Hitlerjunge Quex (Hitler Youth Quex) as a milestone: “The Ufa and all those who worked on this film have done a great service not only to the development of German film, but also to the artistic implementation of National Socialist ideology.” At the same time, however, Ufa also produced extraordinary works of film such as the comedies and melodramas of Reinhold Schünzel and Detlef Sierck, before the two were forced to flee to the USA in 1937/38 to escape racial and political persecution. They, too, were an example of the huge toll taken on German film by the Nazis’ policies of expulsion and destruction. Those who had not already fled in 1933, like Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, and Peter Lorre, emigrated later, or else they were murdered by the Nazis, like Otto Wallburg, Kurt Gerron, and many others.
"City Children to the Countryside" (June 1936) - The National Socialist People’s Welfare organization [Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt or NSV] started the "Children to the Countryside" program [Kinderlandverschickung or KLV] in 1934. Each year, tens of thousands of city children were brought to the countryside for stays of several weeks. The idea was to offer them a temporary escape from the health-related and social dangers of the urban environment. The "Extended Children to the Countryside” program, an initiative organized by the Hitler Youth [Hitler-Jugend], placed children ages 11 to 14 in KLV camps, often for several months at time. Removed from the influence of their parents, the children who participated in these programs were totally exposed to National Socialist indoctrination and education. By the end of the war, over two million children had taken part in them.
In 1937 the Nazi government intensified its activities with regard to the covert nationalization of the film industry. The goal was secretly to buy up shares of the companies in question and become controlling partners without claiming a seat on the supervisory or executive board. In the course of this policy, Hugenberg was “bought out” of Ufa, while Klitzsch remained president and later became chair of the supervisory board. Finally, by merging the four largest production companies - Ufa, Terra, Tobis, and Bavaria - the Nazis established a state-controlled super-enterprise: the Ufa Film GmbH, known as UFI.The companies merged under UFI were intentionally left with a certain degree of autonomy, but there was hardly any way for them to develop profiles of their own. All the companies produced anti-Semitic, militaristic, and hate films. At Ufa, director Karl Ritter excelled at filming Nazi material non-stop, films like ”Verräter” (The Traitor, 1936), ”Patrioten” (Patriots, 1937), ”Über alles in der Welt” (Above All in the World, 1940/41), and ”Stukas” (1941). But even after World War Two began in 1939, these blatant propaganda films did not predominate. The cinemas showed mainly comedies, melodramas, and revue films featuring stars like Marika Rökk in ”Tanz mit dem Kaiser” (Dance with the Kaiser).
Freikorps (English: Free Corps) are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during the period of the Weimar Germany. Freikorps units fought both for and against the German state. They formed the vanguard of the Nazi movement.