Wehrmacht / Waffen-SS Marching Song in ‘The Odessa File’…

Over the Christmas break the ever enthralling ‘The Odessa File’, the 1974 Ronald Neame-directed  movie based on Frederick Forsythe’s stunning 1972 best-selling novel of the same name got another welcome airing on our television screens and, as we expected, the telephone started ringing soon after its transmission as we received a number of welcome calls asking if we could identify one particular Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS soldier song brilliantly featured & performed in the first half of the movie..?

The essence of the film, based on Forsythe’s original manuscript and set in 1963, involves a young Hamburg-based freelance newspaper reporter, Peter Mueller (Jon Voight), who  after reading the diary of a Solomon Tauber, an old Jewish man who had survived the horrors of Riga’s Nazi Concentration Camp only to then commit suicide at the beginning of this story, realises just why Mr Tauber ended his life so tragically 3 weeks previously….because he had actually caught sight of the former (and thought long-dead), camp Kommandant apparently alive & well in the city… and that sighting proved just too much for the old man to take…

Finally finishing the long, hand-written diary which he had read from cover-to-cover in a single sitting, Mueller is determined to discover the whereabouts of, (and then publicly unmask), this former SS Camp Kommandant: Eduard Roschmann, (played by Maximilian Schell), a character, it is believed, to have actually been based on the real life of the infamous “Butcher of Riga” who survived the war having fled to South America only to completely disappear off the radar of those searching for him…

As you’d expect from the pen of such a superb thriller writer as Mr Forsythe, this movie is a somewhat tense and pretty gripping narrative at times with many unexpected twists & turns and a wonderful final sting in the tale.. however the particular ‘musical scene’ in question is where Voight’s reporter character locates and then infiltrates an Alte Kameraden gathering, (somewhat vaguely, though I have no doubt intentionally, alluded to in the movie as being a gathering of former Waffen-SS soldiers), during which the assembled gathering of old soldiers burst into a very stirring acappella version of the favourite Wehrmacht & Waffen-SS, traditional marching song ‘Schwarzbraun is die Haselnuss…’

….and ‘yes’ in answer to those many & varied customer queries, Tomahawk also has an equally stirring version of this wonderful song in our WW-II German Archive which, as well as being one of the very engaging civilian performances featured on our 2-CD set Wunschkonzert fuer die Wehrmacht , can also be found commercially on both on the sound-track of our DVD ‘The Combat Newsreels of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reichand also as the very stirring military marching-song rendition on our recently released, (and much requested), sound-track CD to the DVD entitled, perhaps not surprisingly: ‘Adolf Hitler’s Combat Newsreels…The Music Soundtrack..!

Copyright @ Brian Matthews 2012

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