Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Keeping our spirits up

Following the piece I wrote last week about Struwwelhitler, a friend has emailed to remind me of other jokes about the Nazis that were going round in the 1940s, most of which were either very feeble or excessively optimistic: we never actually did Hang Out the Washing On the Siegfried Line.

On TV in the seventies Private Pike repeated one of the childish wartime chants (“…Hitler’s barmy, so’s his army...”) in the presence of a captured U-boat commander, who angrily demanded to know his name so that retribution could be exacted after the war (“Don’t tell him, Pike!”).

Perhaps the most effective slander on the Nazi leaders was the one that was said to have been based on confidential information supplied by Unity Mitford, who knew them well; it went to the tune of Colonel Bogey:
Hitler…..has only got one ball
Goering…..has two, but rather small
Himmler…..has something simmler
And poor old Goebbels has noebbels at all.


PerfectlyVocal said...

Now that jogs my memory - we used to chant "Hitler has only got one ball, the other is in the Albert Hall" I can't remember the rest, but wonder where on earth it came from?

Tony said...

What? By the time you were into chanting Hitler had been dead for thirty years. No wonder the words had got corrupted.

The Continental Op said...

The version we sang in the playgrounds of my youth--about 25 years after Hitler's demise--identified Hess, rather than Goebbels, as the eunuch. I've long presumed that the aspersion on Hess's manhood stemmed from his flight to Britain during the war. But the Goebbels version makes more sense, at least because the rhyme nicely compliments the preceding Himmler/simmlar couplet.

Anyway, thanks for the memories!

Tony said...

Wikipedia has an exhaustive version of the origin of this song and gives no less than twelve variations of it.