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Comedian Harmonists - In der Bar zum Krokodil

The Comedian Harmonists were a vocal sextet from Berlin, who were very popular in the final years of the Weimar Republic. Their precise singing and cheeky lyrics perfectly hit the taste of the time. Many of their songs still enjoy a certain popularity such as “Mein kleiner, grüner Kaktus” (“My little green cactus”), and some of the lines have become standing expressions, for instance “Veronika, der Lenz ist da” (”Veronica, spring is here").

After the Nazis took power, the group was allowed to continue performing due to their great success although three of the members were Jewish. In 1934, however, they were banned from performing in Germany. They went on a world tour and enjoyed success in the USA, where they performed on an aircraft carrier in New York, had 30 appearances in radio shows, and joined with Paul Whiteman and the Boswell Singers. Other stations were Denmark, Norway, and Italy.

Upon their return in February 1935, the three Jewish members of the group were prohibited to perform and record together with the “Aryan” members, essentially splitting the ensemble. The non-Jewish members continued with three more singers in Germany as the Meistersextett. The Jewish members went into exile and formed the Comedy Harmonists in Vienna. Both groups never achieved the quality of the original, never enjoyed comparable popularity, and split in 1941.

After the war, a new Comedian Harmonists was founded by former Jewish members in the USA, but split after a few unsuccessful years. Likewise, a Comedian Quartett did not flourish in West Germany. The singers, who all survived the war, never performed together again. All that remains are their recordings and their legendary reputation.