Record Collection, Apparently Hitler's, Discovered in Moscow

Classic Arts News   Record Collection, Apparently Hitler's, Discovered in Moscow
 
A collection of nearly 100 shellac records apparently belonging to Adolf Hitler has been discovered in the Moscow dacha of Lev Besymenski, a former Soviet intelligence officer, reports Der Spiegel.

The daughter of the former official, Alexandra Besymenski, actually found the collection in August 1991, but spoke about it just last week with the German magazine.

The collection, several albums each containing records numbered with serrated labels, has stunned historians and the media with its inclusion of Russian and Jewish artists.

There are, in addition to recordings of Beethoven, Liszt, Mozart, Schumann and Wagner, those of Russian composers Borodin, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky, whom the Nazis deemed "subhuman."

An all-Tchaikovsky album, for example, features Polish Jewish violinist Bronislav Huberman; another record is of pianist Artur Schnabel, an Austrian Jew.

Also mentioned in the report is a recording on the Electrola label of Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin performing an aria from Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov.

Besymenski, who was an interpreter during the arrest of Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus in 1943 and who eventually became a noted historian and professor, took the collection from the Reich Chancellery during an inspection two days after Berlin fell to the Red Army in May 1945. Lest he be accused of plundering — not uncommon among the war's victors — the officer stayed quiet, occasionally playing the records for close friends and even lending them to eminent musicians like Emil Gilels, Kirill Kondrashin and Jakow Sak.

"They were recordings of classical music, performed by the best orchestras in Europe and Germany, with the best solo performers of the time," the magazine reported Besymenski as having written three years ago, when his daughter convinced him to leave a testimony surrounding the collection.

Besymenski passed away in June at age 86.

His daughter is undecided on what do with the records, whose ownership by Hitler has yet to be verified. The record's serrated labels, however, are similar to those from a record collection U.S. troops found in a cavern of Hitler's mountainside home, the Berghof, in 1945.

Today’s Most Popular News: