Allied forces were eager to “clean up” the reputation of musicians whose talents they valued, and even assist some in gliding through the decolonization process. On July 4, 1945, soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was asked to fill out Fregebogen as she was on the Salzburg Register of National Socialists in Austria. Had the form been deemed acceptable, the US military would have approved his return to the stage.
But while American intelligence officers were overseeing his case, Otto von Passetti, realizing he had lied on the form, destroyed it. The next day, he was asked to fill in another. Although this was no longer accurate, Passetti accepted it because Schwarzkopf’s status as a celebrity diva had convinced her that “no other suitable singer” was available for major opera performances. Soon after, she boarded a jeep driven by an American officer, Lieutenant Albert van Arden, and drove 250 kilometers to Graz, Austria, to sing Konstanz in Mozart’s “Die Entführung aus dem Seerel”.
These claims of hardship easily turned into narratives of suffering. Concert halls and opera houses formerly bombed in Nazi areas were strong symbols of the need for destruction and reconstruction, but were also able to focus attention on German suffering from Nazi atrocities. At the opening of the reconstructed Vienna State Opera on November 5, 1955, a few months after Williams’ debut in “Butterfly”, conductor Karl Böhm—who had led concerts celebrating Hitler’s capture of Austria in 1938 – Were on stage for the celebration. , No Jewish survivors were invited to participate.
Performances amidst the rubble reignited a sense of community and attempted to rehabilitate classical music as inherently humanistic, universal and uplifting, following the “corruption” used by propaganda during the Nazi era. . In “The German Catastrophe” (1946), historian Friedrich Meinke developed the power of German music as a restorative force: “What is more personal and German than the great German music from Bach to Brahms?” For Meenke, country music was liberating, expressing national sentiment while having a “universal Western influence”.
Some composers encouraged by the Allies promoted the idea that modernist musical techniques were particularly anti-fascist because they were banned by the Nazis – an exaggeration of both the stylistic understanding of the Nazi authorities and their level of control over the art. Winfried Zillig, a German who composed in the 12-tone style, had several career successes from 1933 to 1945, including major opera premieres and a position in occupied Poland, given as a reward for the political values of his operas. had gone.