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Daily Mail

Monday, August 6, 2007

Adolf Hitler kept a vast record collection of 'forbidden' music by Jewish composers, it was revealed yesterday.

Hitler's lost music collection reveals 'forbidden' Jewish and Russian composers

Recordings by Mendelssohn and Offenbach were hidden in sealed boxes - but scratchmarks suggest they were among his favourites.

Russian composers were also banned under the Third Reich. But in private Hitler repeatedly played Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky and hundreds more works he publiclly labelled "sub-human music".

The secrets of what the Nazi dictator really liked to listen to were revealed by the family of a Russian officer who stole the music from his bunker in 1945.

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A foretaste from David Irving's draft memoirs:

AMONG the people who helped me with documents was a slightly mysterious Russian, Lev Bezymenski; Lev Bezymenskihis behaviour and willingness to assist made sense only if one assumed that he was a high-ranking KGB officer, which I did.

I then found it easy to accept his assistance, while being careful to do nothing that would compromise my own country's interests. He provided for me very early on some extraordinary documents from Russian archives, to which he evidently had ready access.

He had the diary that had been found on the body of Martin Bormann, and it was quite obviously genuine, as crosschecks with my famous card index proved. He had some hand-written papers, evidently looted from the Potsdam Military Archives, of Colonel General Werner von Fritsch, the Commander-in-Chief of the German Army who had been dismissed in a homosexual scandal, wholly unjustly, in February 1938, and who had then deliberately walked into a field of fire of Polish machine guns, accompanying his regiment into battle when the war began.

Von Fritsch had written a diary of the whole ugly episode in 1938, and the drafts of several letters were also in the file, including a letter challenging Heinrich Himmler to a duel for his outrageous actions which, Fritsch believed, had led to his dismissal. The hand-written notes showed that Von Fritsch had not been able to find any German General willing to act as his second, or to deliver the letter to Himmler, as was required.

Lev Bezymenski was this Russian who provided the documents to me. Of course I at once gave good copies of them to the German Federal Archives.

Bezymenski, a Jew, had also written a definitive account of the death of Adolf Hitler. He had been attached at that time as an interpreter to the Red Army unit concerned in Berlin. As an Appendix to his book he published the autopsy report, and it struck me as odd that while it contains such prurient details as that the body had only one testicle, which may well be true, it concealed the fact that Hitler had shot himself; if Bezymenski was to be believed, Hitler had just swallowed poison. There were psychological and propaganda reasons for asserting this.

YEARS later, Bezymenski came clean and admitted that he had been ordered by the Soviet Authorities to doctor the autopsy to conceal the fact that Hitler's skull clearly showed the bullet's entry and exit wounds, and he published a revised edition of his work.

This again just goes to show how careful one has to be before accepting any documents from governments which have political axes to grind. To which I must add that in all the years in which I have worked in Western Archives I have never personally found any forgeries. There are, however, very many such documents floating around private hands, fabricated for one reason or another.

Lew Besymenski

Lew Besymenski, geb. 1920, war während des Zweiten Weltkrieges Dolmetscher und Aufklärungsoffizier in den Stäben der Sowjetmarschälle Rokossowski und Shukow. In dieser Funktion nahm er an den Schlachten um Stalingrad, Orel, Kursk, Bobruisk, Warschau und Berlin sowie an Vernehmungen von Generalfeldmarschall Paulus, Großadmiral Dönitz, Generalfeldmarschall Keitel, Generaloberst Jodl und General Warlimont teil. Nach dem Krieg wurde er Historiker und Journalist. Er arbeitet bis heute für die Moskauer Zeitschrift "Nowoje Wremja". Besymenski schrieb mehrere Bücher über den Zweiten Weltkrieg und den Faschismus sowie über Raoul Wallenberg. Seit 1985 gehört er dem Beirat des Zentrums für Studien zur Deutschen Geschichte in Moskau an, 1999 erhielt er eine Professur für Militärgeschichte an der Akademie für Militärwissenschaften.  

Captain Lew Besymenski, who was Jewish, was ordered with other Red Army troops to make an inventory of artefacts in the bunker after Berlin fell. He found the huge collection in sealed crates and sent it back home to Moscow on a train.

According to his daughter Alexandra, he kept the records as souvenirs and first showed them to her at the family dacha outside Moscow in 1991.

He was ashamed of having stolen them and played them only for himself and a small clique of trusted friends.

Besymenski died two months ago aged 86. Now his daughter is trying to decide what to do with the collection of 78 rpm shellac recordings, which also contains works by Hitler's German favourites, mainly Wagner and Beethoven.

"I think my father found it astonishing that millions of Jews and Russians had to die because of the ideology of Hitler yet here he was all the time enjoying their art," she said yesterday.

©2007 Associated New Media

Hitler listened to music by Jews

Jewish Telegraph Agency

A NEWLY discovered box of Hitler's records included music by Jewish composers or played by Jewish musicians.

Kept in a box for 62 years in the attic of a dacha near Moscow, the collection of gramophone discs had been been taken from Hitler's Wilhelmstrasse bunker in Berlin by a Red Army reconnaissance officer, Capt. Lev Besymenski. Besymenski, who died this summer at the age of 86, was Jewish. After his death, his daughter Alexandra brought the box of some 100 LPs to Germany's Spiegel magazine.

Hitler's collection included works by the Russian composers Borodin, Rachmaninov and Mussorgski. In one of Hitler's albums, the famous Polish Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman played works by Tschaikovsky. This has surprised historians, since Huberman, who fled Vienna in 1937, a year before the Anschluss, had been declared an enemy of the Third Reich. Hitler write in Mein Kampf that Jewish art "never existed."

Alexandra Besymenski said her father had told her that in May 1945 he and his comrades had been dispatched to take an inventory of objects in Hitler's bunker and the chancellery, which lay in ruins. While others collected silverware engraved with the initials "AH," he took albums from Hitler's collection, which he found in numbered boxes, packed for delivery to the Eagle's Nest headquarters in Berchtesgaden.

Besymenski said her father had explained that while he had played some of the records for friends in the early years after the war, he later decided to stow them away because he did not want to be considered a looter.



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