Brexit party members today turned their backs during the playing of the EU anthem at the opening of the EU parliament. This was commented on in the newspapers. A below-the-line commenter there, thelastnumber wrote

The brexit party aren't the first to protest an anthem by turning their backs.

The nazis did it first.

Was there a noted occasion when nazis turned their backs on a national anthem in contempt?

  • Not to start a polemic but two elements: the european anthem is not a national anthem, and turning back is often used as mean of contestation (policemen did that to a president in France) Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 9:11

2 Answers 2


They did turn their backs, not on an anthem, but on Fritz Löwenthal, a speaker for the Communist party in the Reichstag in 1930.

Twitter link with Alamy stock picture.

  • Thanks! But isn't the actual date 1930?
    – emrys57
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 9:05
  • @emrys57: Correct, I didn't catch the comment further down the first time.
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 9:16
  • I wonder how we can be sure if it was indeed Mr. Löwenthal. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 16:24
  • @Sprottenwels Why do you doubt that? (And what difference does it make, i.e. would it be relevant if it had been a different speaker?)
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 16:25
  • @DevSolar I doubt it because the speaker is not in the picture. And I think any such assumptions in a historical context ought to be avoided. The fact that the NSDAP members turned their back on anyone in the Reichstag is of course important and sheds light on the behaviour of its members. But I don't like to see unproven claims in this context. Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 16:55

Prior to 1922, there was no official hymn. In 1922, "Das Lied der Deutschen" became the national anthem, thanks to president Ebert (it's third verse remains to be the German national anthem to this day).

The NSDAP bore no contempt towards this anthem. In fact, it was, at least in part, played during such occasions as the Sportpalast speech by Joseph Goebbels. The NS regime kept the Deutschlandlied but also established the Horst-Wessel-Lied as a co-anthem.

Therefore, I do not see why any Nazi should have turned their back on the German anthem. I can't say for sure, though, that this was never the case with any anthem at all.

  • 1
    Thanks! I thought that too, but I still wonder if someone will come up with a counterexample. I seem to remember that everyone was respectful of anthems at the 1936 Olympics, even if reluctantly.
    – emrys57
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 15:39
  • 1
    @emrys57 I only now realize that you were asking about anthems in general, not only the German anthem. This renders my answer more or less pointless, of course. Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 15:50
  • Not at all pointless! But it is predictable, and depressing, that a piece of fake news like the original comment gets dozens of upvotes in the time it takes to find that it is false. Thanks for your help!
    – emrys57
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 6:40
  • The original below-the-line comment, its 31 upvotes and two supportive response comments, can be seen at theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/jul/02/…
    – emrys57
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 8:03
  • 1
    @fdb that is not correct. As of 1991, only the third stanza is the anthem. See gesetze-im-internet.de/nhbrfbek/index.html Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 16:16

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