Das „Archiv Prieberg“

Die deutsche Version des Textes finden Sie hier.

When dealing with research on music of the „Third Reich“, one will sooner or later come across the name Fred Prieberg. The German music journalist became well known as an expert on this issue throughout the recent decades. In 1982 he published the book “Musik im NS-Staat”, but did not hesitate to work on the theme. In 2004 the „Handbuch Deutsche Musiker 1933-1945“ was published, which represents a state of the art but is by no means completed yet. Due to its enormous size it was impossible to find a publisher for its print so it is available on CD-ROM.

Until his death on March 28, 2010, Prieberg was busy on his work to complete the biographies of about 5500 musicians of the time of the „Third Reich”, which would, if printed, comprehend about 10000 pages. The research of Prieberg who was born in Berlin in 1928 dates back four decades. He, who himself in his childhood was member of the Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth) was already in his young years interested in modern composers such as Paul Hindemith or Boris Blacher. He was at that time also encouraged by his farther to study at that time ostracised composers like Mendelssohn. After the end of World War 2 he studied music science a.o., but without ever finishing it. His foremost interest was to find out why modern music was forbidden during the 12 years of the “Third Reich” and how the Nazis harmed culture thus. He questioned contemporary witnesses such as leaders of the so-called Reichsmusikkammer (RMK). But as he doubted their statements he started his own research on the still existing two to three million documents of the RMK. Up to now he has dealt with about 250.000 of them, which was the basis for further research in many archives in Europe.

In his work he was supported by about 4000 helpers. At the start of the 1960s Prieberg realised that a profound refurbishment would take at least about a lifetime. To be able to work most efficiently, he reduced his own desires and since earned his money solely by the honorarium of his publications and support of friends. For best concentration, he drew back onto a small farm in the Vogesen. Prieberg meanwhile was in possession of a large archive with thousands of documents, records and books. As it was impossible to store it properly at his home, most of the archive in 2005 was handed over to the Institute of Musical Science at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel which had cooperated with Prieberg already in a project called “Sachinventar der Archivbestände zum Thema Deutsche Musik 1933-1945”, sponsored by the Volkswagen-Foundation.

The archive comprises:

  1. a library with about 1000 books and hundreds of journals, among them several Russian imports.
  2. notes from Germany and East-Europe (scores and songbooks mainly from the 20th century)
  3. a large collection of records (among them 800 discs with music from Sweden, Poland, Hungaria, Finland, the former USSR and Yugoslavia as well as tapes from the German Radio Archive with music from the “Third Reich”.
  4. more than 100 files with copies of documents from several archives in and outside Germany, newspaper cuttings, biographical material and letter correspondence regarding musicians and characters such as Theodor W. Adorno, Carl Orff, Werner Egk, Norbert Schultze a.o.

For research purposes the whole material first has been inventoried in a catalogue which may be used in the institute. The archive is not only the basis for the „Handbuch Deutsche Musiker 1933-1945“ but also gives insight in the research approach of Fred Prieberg which one day may help to do research also on Prieberg himself.

→ see catalogue

Contact: Tim Schwabedissen, Tel. (0431) 880-2203 (Mo-Fr., 9-13 Uhr)