Nazi-Germany Anthem used at European Football championship

link to original handwritten manuscript of the German AnthemOne event currently has, during evenings, swept almost half of Europe’s population off the streets (the other half is most likely watching it in so called public viewing zones) – the European Football championship.

Now this Monday, Swiss TV who together with Austrian TV for the two hosting nations Austria and Switzerland is transmitting the TV footage from the games, had a bit of a problem staying up to date with changes in neighboring Germany during the last 60 years. To be more precise it turned back time to the 1940s of Nazi Germany.

When the two teams at the beginning of the match between Germany and Austria were singing their National Anthems, Swiss TV used the verse for the German Anthem in its sub titles that was sung until the fall of the Third Reich.

The TV station mentioned in their apology, that it all happened by mistake. Officially the incident was blamed on two junior members of the TV team that have “copied the wrong text from the Internet“. And while these sub titles are not always shown automatically – normally they are for the hearing impaired – many of the public viewing areas, bars and restaurants have them turned on due to noise levels during the matches.

A bit of background on the German Anthem:

The German National Anthem (Lied der Deutschen) was written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841 to a melody composed by Joseph Haydn who had originally created it for the Austrian Emperor.

While the original lyrics by Hoffmann were an appeal to create one united Germany over the dozens of small kingdoms, principalities and other small states existing at that time on German territory, later – much after the formation of an unified German state and the revolution of 1848 – is was used by Imperial and Nazi Germany to express the greatness and the superiority of Germany over other nations. It should be noted that August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben due to the text not only lost his job as Professor he was also – to phrase it in today’s commonly used new-speak – hunted as a terrorist throughout Germany.

After the end of WW2 the new West-Germany removed the first two verses from the National Anthem and in 1991 (after the reunification of East and West Germany) the 3rd verse became the official Anthem. To our knowledge it is now actually illegal to sing the first verse in Germany (the one that was show on Swiss TV).

Now – ahem – for foreigners this might all seems pretty confusing and hard to keep up with.

Austria at the time the lyrics were written was considered part of Germany (it became part of Nazi Germany in the 1930s again), and the other areas referred to in the verse played on Swiss TV this Monday (“…von der Maas bis an die Memel, von der Etsch bis an den Belt…“) refer to areas that are now part of France, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Austria, Italy and Denmark. In short this could now – in the sense of August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben – be merely an European appeal than a German Anthem (with some adaptions and if it wouldn’t have been for the Nazis that abused the lyrics so much).




Side Note 1: We are not aware if Swiss TV also used that version of the German Anthem before the game against Poland last week. Anyway, the Polish National team lost against the German equipe at that day with or without being part of the Deutsche Reich. (no offense – just kidding). The winning goals were shot by a player of Polish descent who plays for Germany.

Side note 2: When the German Anthem was sung and within the sub titles the part “Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles – Germany, Germany above everything, above everything in the world!” was displayed, the Swiss TV broadcast had just switched to the camera showing German Canceler Angela Merkel together with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier singing the anthem in the football stadium. Luckily the most sensitive part of the anthem with references to the areas (see above) was just over at that very moment. It might have otherwise got the German Foreign minister into a rather uneasy situation after the game.

Our suggestions: As the story is just making its way around the globe from Australia to the USA: Stop thinking in National states – think horizontally – think about Europe and its people. But this will require the politicians and the European people to do something about it – the bureaucrats will for sure not change their approach (26 states = 27 times the administrative overhead and many, many more posts for the bureaucrats.)

And to the Swiss – don’t worry – we believe the most important was the actual football game and not some glitches with your sub title system however these happened.



More information:

The Swiss daily newspaper Blick has a story and image of the incident (in German)

Related Posts:


  1. Sports: Underwater Ice Hockey World Championship
  2. link to article
    The first ever World Cup in the new extreme sport of underwater ice hockey has been staged at Weissensee in Southern Austria. Eight teams from Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia were competing for the world cup. The game is played with teams of two men in a rink 6 meters wide and 8 meters long, under 30 centimeters of ice. Playing without oxygen tanks, the players are chasing a Styrofoam puck with a hockey stick into goals fastened to the ice cover upside down. They have to surface for air approximately every 30 seconds through holes…

    Continue reading…


  3. Germany: Rent a Demonstrator for your Political Protest
  4. link to article
    If your shouting days are through – Fred Kasulzke shouts for you! That’s how German/French songwriter and singer “Reinhard Mey” was singing in the 70s about the business idea of renting people for demonstrations and riots. Seemingly these days “claqueurs” are getting popular again in Germany particularly with the bureaucrats and stakeholders in the state backed German health system…

    Continue reading…


  5. Europe: European Innovation Scoreboard 2006 published
  6. link to article
    The European Innovation Scoreboard measures the innovation performance of a country’s economy based on a wide range of 25 indicators, from education to expenditure in Information and Communication Technologies, investment in R&D or number of patents. Countries with a more homogeneous behavior in all aspects of innovation tend to achieve higher overall scores.

    “…For the fourth consecutive year, the innovation gap between the US and the EU has decreased. The Nordic countries and Switzerland continue to be the innovation leaders worldwide, while many of the new Member States are steadily catching up with the EU average. These are some of the main findings of the European Innovation Scoreboard 2006, published today. The report presents a comparative analysis of the innovation performance of European countries, the US and Japan…

    Continue reading…


  7. Music: The German Band Blumfeld
  8. link to article
    As you might have realized we recently tried to demonstrate the variety of the European Music scene(s) by pointing to some artist from completely different areas and countries.

    Today we continue with a (very) brief introduction of the German band Blumfeld that unfortunately is currently performing their good-bye tour after more than 17 years of playing together.

    Blumfeld started off in 1990 and with their second album “L´Etat Et Moi” that was published worldwide they even made their way into US charts and success in other countries outside Germany.

    It’s good to see that almost all the concerts on their current tour are already sold out and they have to do additional performances in many cities. If you’re interested in learning more about this band have a look at…
    continue reading…

(1) Comment »

One Response to “Nazi-Germany Anthem used at European Football championship”

  1. elizabet kienker Says:

    not surprising hitler was austrian