Egypt Revamps Museum Devoted To Rommel


An old field telephone from the 1940s, a Nazi flag and a map of Tobruk greet visitors to the newly reopened Rommel Cave Museum in Marsa Matrouh, one of Egypt’s lesser known tourist destinations. The items belonged to Erwin Rommel, one of the most celebrated generals of National Socialist Germany.

Rommel was known to the Germans as “the people’s marshal” and to the outside world as the “Desert Fox” for his surprise attacks and unbroken string of successful campaigns. He defeated the British at Gazala in May 1942, followed by his taking of Tobruk and promotion to field marshal. When the German troops entered El-Alamein, a town in the northern Matrouh governorate and 106 kilometers (66 miles) west of Alexandria, Rommel selected a site in the area’s cliffs as his headquarters, where he plotted military operations against the British forces. The two battles of El-Alamein would end with a German defeat on Nov. 4, after which Rommel dispatched his troops to Tunisia.

Rommel remained a highly regarded figure in the eyes of the Matrouh residents because he respected the customs and traditions of the Bedouins and did not violate the sanctity of their homes, keeping his troops at least 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from their houses at all times. He also refused to poison the wells against Allied forces on the grounds that doing so would harm the local population. The people of Matrouh honored him by naming a nearby beach after him.

On Aug. 25, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities and the Matrouh governorate reopened the Rommel Cave Museum after seven years of closure, following a restoration that cost 2.5 million Egyptian pounds (about $142,000).

In 1977, Egypt and Germany agreed to open a museum that would pay tribute to Rommel and display historical items such as clothing, personal photos, war plans and files on soldiers. Rommel’s son, Manfred, who served as the mayor of Stuttgart from 1974 until 1996, donated some of Rommel’s personal belongings as well as weapons and military equipment to the museum. It opened in 1988 and was enriched with new donations in 1991. It was closed in 2010 for extensive renovations.

Ismail Saeed, a restoration specialist with the Supreme Council of Antiquities, who worked on the restoration, said that most of the cracks inside the cave had been fixed. He told Al-Monitor that the cave’s historical importance dates back much further than Rommel’s time. In the Roman era, it was used to store grain waiting to be loaded onto ships in an ancient Mediterranean seaport nearby.

Matrouh is a destination for many Egyptians and foreign residents who enjoy summer holidays on its soft white sand beaches and clear blue water. Saeed said the museum’s reopening will enrich beach vacationers’ experiences with history.

The museum’s director Mohamed el-Sharkawy told Al-Monitor, “The museum will boost tourism and create archaeological awareness among Matrouh residents.” Matrouh includes other sites such as ruins of the ancient Coptic chapel, but it is far less popular than other Egyptian Mediterranean towns.

Sharkawy said that every October, many Germans and Italians come to visit Matrouh to commemorate the battle of El-Alamein and lay bouquets of roses on their relatives’ tombs. He added that the reopening of the museum this year is expected to stir more interest than usual.

The ministry and the local residents hope that the reopening will help boost both domestic and international tourism in Matrouh. At the opening ceremony, Minister of Antiquities Khaled el-Anani lauded plans to develop many of Egypt’s other archaeological areas in Egypt and enhance their role in the tourism industry.

But challenges include the many land mines from two world wars that continue to litter the area, including near the Rommel museum.

With an estimated 23 million land mines clustered in very high concentrations, Egypt is one of the world’s most mine-riddled countries. “Unfortunately, the land mines impede the development efforts in this area,” Sharkawy said. “So we have to take advantage of any chance to provide income to Matrouh.”

Published in: on September 17, 2017 at 4:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Music in the Third Reich-Part 2- GOEBBELS INTERVENES


Doubtless, Hindemith’s music would have been heard, the old Reds would have had their last hurrah (better yet, the Stormtroopers would have beaten the be’jesus out of them all) and the controversy passed as a footnote in the history of the Third Reich. Instead America’s and England’s Jew-dominated newspapers turned the premiere into a cause celebre of international proportions. With that, Dr. Josef Goebbels, as Reich Cultural Minister, decided to act. He addressed a long, polite letter to Furtwängler. The situation, he explained, had gotten out of hand. so much so that the enemies of National Socialism, to whom music was only as good as it was politically expedient, were using the impending performance for obvious, non-artistic purposes; namely, to incite hatred and violence against the new regime. Dr. Goebbels added that Hindemith belonged to a by-gone era when national greatness had been despised. The German people, after fourteen long years of difficult struggle, had overcome that shame Now was the time for art to extol the folk-genius of our Race, not down-grade it. He asked that the troublesome opera be shelved for the sake of present peace and future cultural development. But, if the conductor considered its music worthwhile, performance of an orchestral suite from Matthias the Painter could take place.

To the great disappointment of all, save the general opera-going public, Furtwängler responded with his own public letter, in which he heartily subscribed to each of Dr. Goebbels’ objections, including his own observation, “There are moments when even art must make room for the good of something greater.” Coming from such a fanatic musician, it was a deeply generous statement. With the cancellation of Hindemith’s first and last chance at fame, the defunct Reds were disappointed because their own last chance for a big political demonstration evaporated, and the Stormtroopers were disappointed because they missed their chance to whup Germany’s last Communists. 

In all the hateful hullaballoo turned up by the Jews ever since, and whenever Hindemith’s name is mentioned today, conveniently forgotten was the concert performance of Matthias the Painter, which did indeed take place in 1934, as Dr. Goebbels promised. The piece was even recorded in a Third Reich sound studio under Furtwängler’s direction in 1934! That this concert version of musical highlights was not much performed thereafter only means that it failed to generate any lasting hold on concert-goers’ imaginations, a failure which persists to this day, since it is not often heard, even though it is still touted as some kind of anti-Nazi masterpiece. Indeed, the opera which was supposed to have been too wonderful for the Nazis to appreciate or tolerate, was a huge flop when ostentatiously performed in New York. Since then, it has never again seen the light of day.

It turns out that Hindemith was not such an interesting composer after all, and the controversy surrounding his name had more to do with his obnoxious politics than his own music. Overlooked, too, is the fact that, despite his Red identity, he was allowed to compose, perform and even record in the Third Reich, hardly the tyrannical system the Jews would lead us to believe existed. Hindemith grabbed the U.S. Jews’ offer of cash and fled with sheaves of his useless scores. Apparently, New York’s kosher environment was less inspiring than that of evil old Nazi Germany, and his artificial reputation withered away into virtual oblivion. Happily, he lived long enough to see his life’s work savaged by Jew critics in the 1950’s, when they ridiculed him as ‘hopelessly obsolete.’ True to character, his one-time kosher benefactors eventually turned on their ‘righteous Gentile.’

Only the newspaper Jews overseas manipulated by the Matthias the Painter situation to their advantage, portraying it to gullible goy readers as proof positive that great music was being suppressed by the Nazis, to whom Furtwängler had weakly capitulated. However, they, too, were soon disappointed when, sure he would defect following the Hindemith affair, they offered him (as they had offered Richard Strauss) large performance fees with the New York Philharmonic.

He turned them down and, after war came, was personally active in donating a great deal of concert time to soldiers and factory workers. Audiophiles for decades considered his greatest recorded achievement to have been a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the Choral, given in the presence of Adolf Hitler on the occasion of the Führer’s 55th birthday, April 20th, 1944. Until the very end, Furtwängler was still giving public concerts in Berlin. His last Reich recording (the Cesar Franck Symphony in D minor) is the best performance ever made of that work. It took place in the cataclysmic days of January, 1945.

The Jews castigated Germany’s ‘Nazi dictatorship’ for censorship, a lie, as cited above, when Hindemith was allowed to perform. But immediately after the war, German artists were prevented by the occupation forces from working. Only those who could suck up to the Allies by loudly proclaiming their anti-Nazi sentiments stood a chance of employing their craft. The very censorship the Jewized Allies falsely condemned in National Socialism they practised themselves when the chance came along. Among the proscribed was Wilhelm Furtwängler, even though he never held any post in the Reich government He was not a Party member, and had never even voted for a National Socialist candidate.

The occupation authorities promised he could resume his conducting career if he agreed to sign a public statement begging them for forgiveness for his past participation “in the criminal Hitler regime.” He refused, declaring his life then, as always, had been entirely musical, not political, and he objected to the accusation that he had ever been part of anything ‘criminal.’ The ban against him was upheld and he had to subsist on the charity of friends.

The Jews and their Gentile dupes in uniform tried to show the Germans that their culture was better off under Allied occupation than with their own, elected, National Socialist government. Trouble was, with all the country’s real artists dead, jailed or censored, there wasn’t much culture to go around. Desperate to maintain their facade of democratic civilisation, they returned to Furtwängler with a watered-down version of the statement presented for his endorsement two years earlier. This time it read something to the effect that he publicly condemned ‘totalitarianism’ in all its forms, without mentioning National Socialism. He unhesitatingly signed the document and was allowed to resume his musical duties.

Although Furtwängler’s return to the podium was greeted with universal acclaim, his performances mostly lacked the greatness of his wartime and pre-war conducting. Many concerts he held were surprisingly disappointing. The old fire seemed to have died out in him. Only occasionally was it seen to flare to life. While a few appearances, such as his performance of the Choral Symphony, at the re-opening of the Bayreuth Festival, exemplified the full scope of his genius, more typical were his lacklustre renditions of Beethoven’s and Bruckner’s works, his long-time favourites. He had been a Wagner specialist, too, but his post-war recordings of Tristan and The Ring are indistinguishable from any average interpretations. Clearly, the man was not inspired by post-war democracy. Yet, he was no different than artists of all kinds who reached heights of their greatness from 1933 to 1945. Immediately thereafter, Germany and the West fell into their steep decline toward cultural sterility and extinction from which they still have not pulled out.

Artists depend for their supreme achievement on high inspiration. The Third Reich was the most inspiring epoch in all of history, and its artists thereby felt their talents lifted by the greatness of the times. In the dismal, hypocritical world of the Allies sham ‘victory,’ there was only despair, not inspiration. This is no idle speculation. Proof may be found in the very audio legacy left by Furtwängler himself. His Third Reich recordings are today widely prized for their universal excellence. It is well-known among collectors that any Furtwängler performance dated before 1946 will be guaranteed for its high value, even if the technical quality is inferior by later standards, while his post-war recordings are largely shunned for their reputation as mediocre. Recording companies make sure that the date of a Furtwängler appearance is displayed prominently on the disc cover — if the performance occurred during the Reich. The dates of his post-war performances are virtually never printed, a sure sign to knowledgeable collectors that the concert was made under a democracy and consequently of relatively slight artistic merit.

Wilhelm Furtwängler.jpg

Wilhelm Furtwängler

Furtwängler’s death in 1954 was followed by decades of commonplace conductors who consistently rendered the great music of the past in uniformly colourless renditions. Almost by chance, after decades of middling music directors, audiophiles rediscovered Furtwängler’s old recordings almost by chance. For a generation oblivious to his art, his preserved performances came as nothing less than a revelation. Sharply contrasting the commonplace output of Leonard Bernstein, Seji Ozawa, Dean Dixon and other non-White non-entities from the 1960’s to the present, his concerts were regarded as by far the best interpretations of great music on record. The international Furtwängler resurgence which began some twenty years ago not only continues today, but has broadened and intensified, Whenever another lost recording of his is discovered, it instantly shoots to die top of the best-seller lists.


Published in: on September 17, 2017 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment