Charlie and his Orchestra
Tuesday, 9 January 2007
I bought a CD with 22 tracks of Charlie and his Orchestra in the early 90’s and I just did a Google search to find out if this CD is still available. It is, on Harlequin. I didn’t know that Harlequin is a sub label of Interstate, and neither that they had such a large and interesting catalogue. But I also found that the complete recordings of Charlie & his Orchestra are released as an mp3 CD on Old Time Radio Catalogue.
There is a little piece of information on this page of the site of OTRCAT.com and when I wanted to copy it, it told me that ?? All text on OTRCAT.com are ©2006 OTRCAT INC - All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.??It really is a mystery to me why people do that. This is the text:
“Charlie (Karl Schwedler) and his Orchestra was a Nazi Propaganda jazz group (The Templin Orchestra) which specifically aimed to demoralizing the British and American Allied Forces during World War II. As many know, Jazz music was opposed by the Nazi tyrannical control of freedoms due to its African-American roots making this collection a curious historical anomaly.
With a powerful broadcast signal, songs were heard clear across the English Channel. Heinrich Goebbel’s brainchild Charlie and his Orchestra sought to create copies of popular American jazz songs in English with pro-Nazi lyrics.
Some believe that the intent of these songs was to create a divide between the American and the British forces due to their anti-British remarks. It cannot be known if this Nazi propaganda was ever an effective tool against American or British troops, but we know the historical results of the war - the defeat of the Nazi war machine.”
In the sleeve of the Harlequin CD Rainer E. Lotz writes that Germans have made about 250 propaganda records during the war, all 78’s. The print run per copy was probably not more than 50-100.
“They were never available commercially and only distributed to radio stations and prisoner of war camps. Some of the copies still in existence in 1945 were deliberately destroyed as rumour had it that anyone found in possession of such could be shot on the spot.”
The records were so rare that the were a myth; hardly anybody had ever heard one. To hear 22 of them on the Harlequin CD was quite a shock to me. The whole concept of war is a puzzle to me, but this weird propaganda comes from dark corners of the human mind that I find even more puzzling.