Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Performance: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Suite in G Major, HWV 350, ‘Water Music’
V. Andante espressivo
VI. Allegro deciso
– German Night Fighters Engage British Bombers;
– Rommel and His Tanks in Salonika;
– Heavy Fighting in Sicily;
– German Troops Evacuate Orel
Munich, December 6, 1938
Let me take up the topic of just one single project: the blueprint for a new opera house in Munich. For many years, it was worked upon, and it is now that its outlines are taking shape and form. Yet it still will take a long time for this work to reach its final completion. And the same applies to the great buildings in Berlin and the enormous building projects all over the Reich.
Let us never forget: we are not building for our time, we are building for the future! That is why the structures must be grand, solid, and durable, and thereby they will become beautiful and worthy. May every man commissioning a work, every architect who finds himself enchanted with some latest fad that he thinks remarkable or interesting, may he think again and ask if his project will be able to stand up to the criticism of the centuries. Because this is what counts! That is easily said. But we have countless examples for works, works where evidently someone was not thinking, works which evidently were not built with a purpose in mind and hence do not do justice to this purpose, either in size or in the long run.
Let me just cite one of these examples. In Germany there are about forty million Protestants. The Confessional Church537 built for itself a cathedral in Berlin which serves as the central church for the three and a half million Protestants living in the capital of the German Reich. The cathedral holds 2,450 seats, each of which is numbered in order to accommodate the more prominent Protestant families in the Reich.
My Volksgenossen! Something like this is happening in an age of so-called democratic evolution. Here the churches ought to lead by example being the most democratic since after all they deal with souls and not with professions or even social classes. Now it is somewhat difficult to follow how this church of 2,450 seats can possibly do justice to the spiritual needs of three and a half million faithful. The dimensions of the building structure are not the result of technical necessities but rather they are the net result of a narrowminded and thoughtless building process. Actually this cathedral ought to accommodate 100,000 persons.
You might ask me: “Do you believe that 100,000 persons will actually go there?” It is not my business to answer this question, a question that would have to be answered by the Church! But you will now understand that we, as a true Volk movement, must keep the needs of our Volk in sight as we carry out our building projects. Hence we must build halls into which 150,000 or even 200,000 persons will actually fit. That means: we must build them as big as the technical possibilities of our day permit, and we must build for eternity! Another example can be found in the realm of theater buildings. Around 1800, a small town of 15,000 to 20,000 inhabitants built for itself a theater with 1,200 seats. Now in the course of the years, commissioners from building inspection authorities and fire protection agencies come along and begin to limit the number of theatergoers for security reasons. In this same time period, the small town grows; 100,000 or 150,000 people live there now. In other words, while the number of seats in the theater declines, the number of inhabitants of the city increases continuously. It becomes necessary to build a new theater.
And now the city of 150,000 people begins to build yet another theater holding 1,000 or 1,200 seats, as many seats as the old theater already held a hundred years ago.
Well, it seems that one has forgotten the fact that the orchestra has swollen to sixty musicians today instead of the sixteen musicians of the past. This is largely due to our new composers-I need only name Richard Wagner. Both supernumeraries and choir also have an increasing membership, and overall technical requirements today demand the participation of far more people.
Today this same theater needs to accommodate 450 or 500 stage hands, members of the choir, soloists, dancers, that is 450 or 500 members and an audience of one thousand. That means every member of the audience must support two members of the crew. That is possible perhaps in a capitalist age. For us, this is impossible, for we must finance our theaters through contributions from the Volk.
Because this alone necessitates that the masses of our Volk go to our theaters, these theaters must have a certain size.
Now we are asked: “What? You want to build an opera with three thousand seats here?” Yes, indeed, we would like to increase that number even more because we want thousands of our Volk to partake of the fruits of German art.
Another objection might be: do we have to build so much just now? Yes, we do! We must build more now than ever before, because before us, they built either nothing or pitiful miserable structures.
And secondly: we just happen to find ourselves today in an epoch of great rejuvenation for the German Volk! He who has not realized this yet, he must nonetheless believe it! That is a fact! Posterity will have greater appreciation of the years 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, and 1938 than certain of our contemporaries who seem to live behind the times! Posterity will see this epoch of the greatest resurrection of the German Volk ever in the context of the foundation of an enormous, great and mighty Reich.
These years will one day be seen as corresponding to the ascent of a movement to which we owe that the German Volk emerged from the confusion of party politics, segregated classes, and various confessions and melted into one entity of great spiritual strength and willpower. Such an epoch has not only the right to leave its mark upon eternity in the form of great monuments, it has a duty to do so! If someone says to me, “Why do you build more than earlier?” all I can reply is: “We build more because we are more than we were earlier.” Today’s Reich is different from that of yesterday. It is not just a passing fancy since it is supported not by merely a few individuals or certain interest groups. For the first time in its history, the German Reich has its foundation in the willpower and consciousness of the German Volk. Hence it well deserves that monuments now built will one day testify to its greatness even when its people have long been silent.
Furthermore, this art of building also spawns other arts, such as sculpture and painting. How true this is you can see by looking at the two wonderful sculptures exhibited here. They represent Party and Wehrmacht and no doubt they belong to the most beautiful art ever created in Germany. [-] We are incapable of assessing what countless German artists have created with truly painstaking diligence and zealous dedication. As the speaker for the German Volk, I wish to express its gratitude to those involved since it cannot possibly thank each artist individually.
Naturally, the true recompense lies within the work itself! Through it, the artist makes his way into eternity. I have the honor of declaring this exhibition open to the public, an exhibition that will prove to you that there are indeed many artists making their way here in our country, finding it, and continuing upon it.
Published in „Siegrunen“ Magazine – Volume 6, Number 1, Whole Number 31, July – September 1983
SS-Regiment 3 “Der Führer”
SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 4 “Der Führer”
A few days after the return of Obersturmbannführer Keppler’s I. Btl./SS “Deutschland” to Munich from Austria at the end of March 1938, Keppler was given the assignment of forming the third regiment of the SS-Verfugüngstruppe using a large dose of new Austrian volunteers. The new regimental unit garrison were established as follows:
Regimental Staff and I.Btl.: Vienna
II. Btl.: Graz
III. Btl.: Klangenfurt
Austrian recruits were quickly sent to each of the above locations. Over the course of the next year, each city would build new barracks facilities for their assigned portions of SS-“Der Führer.” I./“DF” was formed using personnel from II./ “Deutschland,” and its first commander was that battalion’s old commander, Sturmbannführer Wilhelm Bittrich. II./“DF” received some personnel from the “LSSAH” and its commander was Stubaf. Fritz von Scholz, who had formerly been in charge of the 8th Machine Gun Co. of II./SS-“D.” III./“DF” was formed around a nucleus of veterans from the “Germania” Rgt., and its commander was Ostubaf. Wäckerle, who had previously commanded I./SS “G.”
Both II. and III./“DF” were largely filled out with Austrian recruits. Regimental formation got underway in earnest in early May 1938, when the now Oberführer Georg Keppler assembled his cadre personnel in Klangenfurt. In a very short time a sense of inseparable comradeship developed between the SS men from the old Reich and the young volunteers from Tyrol, Steiermark, Kärnten, Vienna, Salzburg, Upper Austria and the Burgenland.
There were so many volunteers for the new SS regiment that a very rigid selection process had to be implemented. Only the absolute best of those who presented themselves could be taken in. All over Austria the SS soldiers were greeted with open arms by the civilians, who (contrary to “Allied” propaganda), were deliriously happy to be part of the Greater German Reich.
After the basics of training, the regimental commander placed great emphasis on military drilling, so the men of SS-“DF” saw no shortages of such activities. For Oberführer Keppler, the great psychological bonding between the German and Austrian soldiers took place at the Nuremberg Party Day celebrations in September 1938. At these festivities, the regiment formally became part of the SS. It received the title “Der Führer” and the regimental and battalion colors were presented. Afterwards, the Austrian SS regiment marched through the streets of Nuremberg to the strains of the “Prinz Eugen” March and the cheers of large throngs of spectators.
After returning to their garrisons, the men of “DF” undertook an accelerated program of strenuous day and night training. Late in September, the Army commander in Vienna, Gen. Kienitz, alerted the “DF” Rgt. to stand by for possible service during the forthcoming Sudetenland occupation. Since the regiment still was not fully operational, a special combat battalion composed of three reinforced companies was formed, drawing its manpower from all of the “DF” units. This battalion was assigned to serve as part of an ad hoc regiment with Gen. Schubert’s “Vienna” Div., which was supposed to occupy the Sudeten territory around Znaim.
The “Vienna” Div. began its march into Czechoslovakia on 1 October 1938, and the resulting occupation went off smoothly. The men of SS-Kampfgruppe “DF” found themselves warmly greeted by the local inhabitants. Following this diversion, the battalion returned to the main regiment and its men went back to their old units.
During the winter of 1938/1939, training for the “Der Fuehrer” Rgt. continued at a rapid pace, and the unit was transformed from a horse-drawn formation to a fully motorized one. By early March 1935, “DF” was considered to be operationally fit, except for a lack of experience in the utilization of motor vehicles. At this time, the regiment was placed in the Army’s mobilization plans for the total occupation of Bohemia and Moravia. “DF” was given the mission of occupying Pressburg (Bratislava) in southern Slovakia. Actually no long-term occupation of Slovakia was planned; the idea was to liberate this territory from Czech influence and then allow the long-suffering Slovak patriots to take over.
On the night of 14/15 March 1939, SS Rgt. “DF” assembled for its task near the bridge over the Leitha River on the Czech frontier. The forward elements were quickly placed into combat readiness positions. Back in Vienna, reports were received that “strong resistance” from the Czech Army could be expected in the “DF” sector, and this caused Gen. Kienitz to issue orders postponing the “DF” advance into Slovakia. But he was too late; the “DF” Rgt. went into motion just before dawn on 15 March, before the new orders were received.
To the east of Gänserndorf (northeast of Vienna), the regiment the Czech frontier and marched through the Little Carpathians to Boesing (Peczinok), without the slightest opposition from the “other side.” From there, “DF” prepared to secure the Waag Valley from Pressburg in the south to Jablionca in the north. A battalion was detached to link-up with an Army division to the north.
The bridge to the east of Gänserndorf was set aside for use by the regiment’s “heavy vehicle” convoy. Just as this column was getting underway, snow began to fall, and this combined with ice build effectively shut down the roads leading into the Little Carpathians. As a result, the entire heavy vehicle column had to be sent back to Gänserndorf to await improved weather conditions. In the meantime, I./”DF” managed to make contact with an Army division to the north and Oberführer Keppler established his command post in Bösing. During the course of the morning, Keppler learned that the bulk of the regimental vehicles probably would not be coming through to join the rest of the unit; news which caused more than a little consternation at the command post.
However, at about mid-day the snow stopped and the commander of the “DF” heavy vehicle convoy decided to proceed. What followed for the young, inexperienced truck drivers was a hair-raising journey along winding ice- and snow-covered mountain roads, but by evening they had caught up with the rest of the regiment without incident. By day’s end, SS Rgt. “Der Fuehrer” had fulfilled its original mission.
On 17 March, the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Generaloberst von Brauchitsch radioed the “DF” command post that he wished to visit the regiment. Oberführer Keppler informed him that the route through the Little Carpathians was a difficult and dangerous one, but this did not discourage von Brauchitsch. After arriving in Bösing the Generaloberst personally inspected the regimental units and spoke with individual soldiers. He praised the regiment for its successful actions and then proceeded on to the positions of I./“DF” farther to the north. For the men of SS Rgt. “DF” the occupation-march proved to be a valuable training exercise.
In May 1939, the regiment traveled in a motorized convoy to the Grossborn Training Grounds in Pomerania. It was quite an experience for many of the “DF” troopers who had never been out of their native Alpine valleys. At Grossborn, SS-“DF” underwent its most extensive military training to date, both as an entire unit and in detached elements. Emphasis was placed on marksmanship and sharpshooting along with coordinated heavy weapons supported exercises. It has been said that the Grossborn experience was the building block for Rgt. “DF’s” later successes during the war.
In June 1939, “Der Fuehrer” was named the “Guard Regiment” of Reichsprotektor von Neurath in Bohemia-Moravia, and was sent on to Prague for garrison duty. The outbreak of WWII on 1 September 1939, found “DF” still in place in the Czech capital. When France and Britain declared war on Germany, the decision was made to send SS-“DF” to the “West Wall” fortifications facing the French border. At the same time, the senior SS regiments were going into action in Poland.
By mid-September 1939, “Der Fuehrer” had reached Waldkirch, Schwarzwald, after a long march from the “Protectorate.” It was then made the motorized reserve for Gen. Dollman’s Army in the south Schwarzwald. In early October 1939, SS Rgt. “DF” was sent to the old Czech military training camp at Brdy- Wald, east of Pilsen, were it was combined with the other units of the SS-VT (except the LSSAH) to be formed into the new SS-“V”-Division under SS-Gruppenführer Paul Hausser.
Otto Gebühr: Friedrich II., King of Prussia
Hilde Körber: Wilhelmine – his sister
Lil Dagover: Marquise de Pompadour
Agnes Straub: Czarina Elisabeth
Käthe Haack: Maria Theresia
Bernhard Minetti: Count Wallis, alias Marquis DuVal
Paul Klinger: von Bonin
Carola Höhn: Louise – his wife
Paul Dahlke: Field Marshal General von Dessau
Lucie Höflich: Mrs. Büttner
Wilhelm König: Hans – her son – student
Will Dohm: Baron Warkotsch
Paul Westermeier: Musketeer Mampe
Heinrich Schroth: Capt. von Droste
Alfred Gerasch: Field Marshal General Daun
Ernst Schiffner: Austrian Staff-Officer
Fridericus is a 1937 German historical film directed by Johannes Meyer and starring Otto Gebühr, Hilde Körber and Lil Dagover. It is based on the life of Frederick II of Prussia. It was part of the popular cycle of Prussian films.
The film’s sets were designed by the art directors Otto Erdmann and Hans Sohnle. It was shot at the Halensee Studios in Berlin and on location in Brandenburg.