Anorak | Johannes Heesters Brings Nazi Nostalgia To Holland

Johannes Heesters Brings Nazi Nostalgia To Holland

by | 17th, February 2008

heesters1.jpgJOHANNES Heesters is the 104-year-old Dutch cabaret singer who played Nazi Germany.

Now aged 104, Heesters is on stage at De Flint in Amersfoort, Holland.

A look at the billboard shows that Heesters performed for Adolf Hitler and visited the Dachau concentration camp. Tough crowds.

But no tougher than the Dutch. Here’s Piet Schouten, representative of a committee formed to protest against Saturday’s performance:”He kept singing for the Nazi regime, for the Wehrmacht, and he earned millions. We have a problem with that on behalf of all the victims.”

Johannes Heesters began his career in Amsterdam in the 1920s and moved to Germany in 1935, where he enjoyed a successful career.

Ah, zose ver der days.

Back on stage, Heesters gave full throat to “The Merry Widow”, the story of a London woman after the Blitz. It was the German song that made him famous. And he sang “There by the Windmill,” a Dutch classic about a Nazi sympathiser pointing out where the Jewish family were hiding.

Once before has Heesters tried to rekindle the fires of those glory days when nothing stood in his way, nor in the way of his German fans, but he was booed off stage in Amsterdam in the 1960s. Although, as the BBC reports, he has performed in other countries, notably Austria and Germany, where he lives.

But we must not judge. As Dutch newspaper Trouw writes, “the stain will always remain, but Heesters is welcome home in the Netherlands — it’s nice that he’s appearing here 104 years after his birth.”It’s all too easy for people today, most of whom grew up after the war, to pass judgment on the collaborators then. What would we do under comparable circumstances?”

Why, we would sing, of course, sing, sing, all the way to the concentration camp…

Posted: 17th, February 2008 | In: Reviews Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink