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?


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 Jul 18 '19 at 9:05
  • @emrys57: Correct, I didn't catch the comment further down the first time. – DevSolar Jul 18 '19 at 9:16
  • I wonder how we can be sure if it was indeed Mr. Löwenthal. – Wottensprels Jul 18 '19 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 Jul 18 '19 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. – Wottensprels Jul 18 '19 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 Jul 2 '19 at 15:39
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    @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. – Wottensprels Jul 2 '19 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 Jul 3 '19 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 Jul 3 '19 at 8:03
  • For the record: all three stanzas of the "Deutschlandlied" are officially the national anthem of Germany, but the first two stanzas is not normally performed in public. – fdb Jul 18 '19 at 15:43

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