Well, that was awkward


Just before the Federation Cup tennis match played between the US and Germany in Hawaii, the version of the German national anthem associated with the Nazis was sung, instead of the current version.

A male soloist at the match on the Hawaiian island of Maui sang the verse beginning with the lines “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der Welt”, which translates as “Germany, Germany, above all, above all in the world”.

Although the words were written long before the Nazis ruled Germany, they became closely identified with Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich in the period before and during the second world war.

The offending verse, which traditionally began the anthem, is now considered anachronistic.

The third verse of the 19th century Deutschlandlied, the words of which were written in 1841, is the only one performed in modern-day Germany and is officially classed as the national anthem.

German players and fans present at the occasion quickly realized the blunder and responded by trying to sing the correct version but of course could not drown out the amplified Nazi-associated version. Here’s video of the event.

The German team member Andrea Petkovic was disturbed by Saturday’s performance, saying on the German federation’s website: “It was the worst experience that has ever happened to me – horrifying and shocking.”

She added, according to Bild: “This is the year 2017 – that something like this happens in America, it can’t happen. It’s embarrassing and speaks of ignorance.”

Welcome to America, Andrea. I am sorry that you were discomfited but you have to remember that ignorance of history, not to mention lack of sensitivity to the people of other nations, is kind of our thing.

Comments

  1. says

    I will not play that video, I will not give that verse any airtime.
    Does anybody believe that this was an accident? You need to look that shit up in order to learn the text. Wondering why didn’t continue with the second verse where women are listed among the nice things Germans have…

  2. says

    Giliell:

    You need to look that shit up in order to learn the text.

    I assume that’s what someone did, without bothering to take in the context of the lyrics. I’d say this is a prime example of American idiocy and incompetence. Then again, it could have been someone’s idea of a “joke”, thinking it would be a fun prank or something. Either way, malice or stupidity, it’s beyond disgraceful. It’s not like we have a president who would understand the enormity of this fuck up and apologize nicely, either.

  3. OverlappingMagisteria says

    Malice is possible… but when I Googled “german national anthem lyrics” my results were:

    1. Wikipedia article that after scrolling down past the historical info, has all the verses, but with a note that only the 3rd verse is official and only the 3rd verse in bold. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutschlandlied)

    2. Metrolyrics.com page that has all 3 verses with no indication that you should skip to the 3rd. This page has actually been updated today to include only the 3rd verse
    (page as it is now: http://www.metrolyrics.com/germany-anthem-lyrics-national-anthem.html)
    (Google cache page from earlier today – hopefully link does not expire: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:lmBuMF9psu0J:www.metrolyrics.com/germany-anthem-lyrics-national-anthem.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us)

    3. YouTube video which has all 3 verses with no indication to skip the first two. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhQwLeMcbRY )

    So my money is on a mistake. It seems plausible that someone Googled, skipped the Wikipedia article (ni which the lyrics and info was a bit buried) and when with the other two sources. It also seems that the fact that onyl the third verse isn’t sung might not be common knowledge.

  4. anat says

    If deliberate – what was the intended message? Hey, remember the good old days? We can out-Nazi you?

  5. Mano Singham says

    The singer was introduced as a teacher. If he was a teacher of German language or a native German speaker he would likely have known this was the wrong anthem. So he may have been a music teacher or someone with a good voice who was given the sheet of music and told to just focus on getting the pronunciation of the German words correct.

  6. says

    @Mano #7

    The latter must be the case.

    I just listened to it. The singer definitely does not regularly speak German. E.g. he does not know that the ‘r’ letters are to be pronounced. This goes beyond the typical American accent when speaking German.

  7. jrkrideau says

    This sort of thing is to be expected. Some years ago a Canadian team was playing in the world series and the US marines at one game managed to raise the Canadian flag upside down.

    I don’t remember if the Canadians were in that much distress. I believe the US president called our Prime Minister to apologize.

  8. Silentbob says

    A male soloist at the match on the Hawaiian island of Maui sang the verse beginning with the lines “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles, uber alles in der Welt”, which translates as “Germany, Germany, above all, above all in the world”.

    According to Wiki:

    German grammar distinguishes between über alles i.e. above all else [for me], and über allen, meaning “above everyone else.” However, the latter misleading translation was chosen by the Allies during both World Wars for propaganda purposes.

    In other words, if I comprehend, it doesn’t mean “Germany is superior”, which has Nazi connotations, it means the singer loves Germany best.

    I’m not arguing that makes it okay, I just thought that was an interesting thing to note for those of us not fluent in German.

  9. blf says

    Mistakes do happen. Two recent examples, Borat anthem stuns Kazakh gold medallist in Kuwait (2012), and Wrong anthem played for Uruguay before Copa America match (2016); also, although I cannot now find a reference, the nazi-era anthem for Italy(? Austria?) was mistakenly played within the last few years. At the London olympics, despite supposedly having a vetting process specifically to avoid these sorts of mistakes, a S.Korean something was used for N.Korea at one of the very first events. And on and on…

    In the absence of any evidence one way or another, Occam’s Razor suggests “mistake”: The effort (or lack of) involved is less, mistakes have prior history, &tc. Claiming “it must be deliberate” without that pesky thing called evidence is what hair furor’s dalekocracy does, emphasizing the dubiousness and undesirably of the tactic.

  10. says

    Silentbob

    In other words, if I comprehend, it doesn’t mean “Germany is superior”, which has Nazi connotations, it means the singer loves Germany best.

    In other words, you’re wrong.
    The verse is “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, über alles in der Welt”. It’S right there in the text. Of course, we can talk about the historical situation in which it was written (i.e. when Germany didn’t actually exist as a nation state), but that doesn’t change the fact that the Nazis did and do intentionally use it to indicate German superiority.
    Please, don’t debate actual Germans on this.

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