SWING GEGEN DIE NAZIS
By Kees Wouters & Arnold Vogel
Hamburg, 1938. A group of young people, among them Gunther Lust, is wandering the city in strange attire. They have light raincoats, long hair, some have hats on and their shoes have crepe soles. One of them has a portable gramophone and Gunther has several shellac records. They gather by the watertower, where they are joined by girls. Suddenly swing music can be heard from the gramophone and they start dancing.
British and American music was the focus in the lives of many young people in the large German cities in 1938-1945. Their idols were Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Artie Shaw and Louis Armstrong. They set the trend for a completely new lifestyle: chic stylish clothing, ecstatic dance and much fun for all.
The film Swing gegen die Nazis shows that some young people - despite their compulsory membership of the Hitlerjugend and the increasing repression and the persecution of nonconformists - aspired to and enjoyed a cheerful and carefree youth. In a certain sense they were the precursors of what we now call the post-war youth.
The film puts into perspective the apparent total domination of the Hitlerjugend and National Socialism on daily life in Germany in the pre-war years and shows that for some there was `freiraum'. However the punitive call-up of many `swingers' when war broke out brought the swing era to an abrupt end...
Broadcast by NOS television.