The minister in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Ina Scharrenbach (CDU) has distanced herself from a record containing German folk songs.
Scharrenbach was given a copy of the record by popular singer Heino. The album “The most beautiful German Heimat- and Vaterlandslieder” was released in 1981.
Heino had been recruited by Scharrenbach as a “home ambassador” and had been invited to a home conference in Münster. On Wednesday, the CDU politician had a spokesman announce that the gift brought by Heino was “not checked at the time of the transfer in terms of political correctness”.
The Minister also “did not take note of the record’s songs” before accepting the gift. There had been no opportunity to do so on the sidelines of the press conference at the congress where a photo was taken of Scharrenbach, Heino and the ill-fated folksong record.
Scharrenbach also pointed out that the content of the photo can not be construed as being close to the titles on the Heino album. She rejected “being associated in any way with the National Socialist ideology”.
The Westdeutsche Zeitung had first reported that the album contains, inter alia, the song “When all become unfaithful”. The piece written by Max von Schenkendorf in 1814 was later instrumentalized by the SS as a “Treuelied”.
For his version, however, Heino used a different tune from what the SS had used, namely the Dutch national anthem.
He himself does not find the gift as disreputable as the mainstream media. Heino thought it was a good idea to give the minister his old record and feels unfairly treated.
“If you look for it, you will always find a song that has been abused,” he told German tabloid Bild. His wife Hannelore had the record specially brought out of the basement.
“I was looking for a true rarity below as a gift for the minister. What is happening now is unfair,” Heino said.
The SPD claims on the old record with 24 songs, at least five are found in the SS song book, which appeared in the 1930s and 1940s from the Munich Central Publishing of the NSDAP. But the songs are all older that the party.
The ministry says that the couple Kramm, Heino and Hannelore, had brought two records and four CDs to the congress.
The SPD says the photo of Heino and the minister together on the website “still has not been removed”.
The Socialist deputies wanted to know how the state government assesses the textual content of the record in terms of its definition of “home”.
However, the SPD does not require that the ministry withdraw Heino as one of its 47 Heimatbotschafter. And when asked what the ministry should do with the record handed over by Heino, SPD spokesman Sven Wolf responded: “Anyway, she should not play it to us in the committee.”