Die goldene Zeit der UFA

“I know that one day a miracle will happen, and then a thousand fairy tales will come true.

The Ufa film and music industry and its dazzling stars have shaped an epoch. A cheerful and state-sponsored art, but one that developed in a dark time, as finely as nastily orchestrated by Joseph Goebbels, the so-called Reichsminister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda. He was aware that the people needed rest from the daily war-mongering and leader indoctrination, and that non-political entertainment was suitable for that purpose. Music, operetta and revue films therefore experienced a pronounced boom in the thirties and forties. Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch, Marika Rökk and Johannes Heesters, Hans Albers, IlseWerner and Zarah Leander offered the audience glamour and glamour. They let them forget their world falling into ruins for a few hours. But how does that fit together? Can real music and art be created under censorship?

Some artists, such as Zarah Leander, knew how to balance the scales: At a party she met the Nazi propaganda boss Joseph Goebbels. He asked her dangerously ironic: “Zarah … Is that not a Jewish name?” “Oh, maybe,” said the actress, “but what about Josef?” “Hmmm… yes, yes, a good answer,” Goebbels replied. But even an abuse, no matter what kind, motivation or system, can neither rob art of its character nor spoil its innermost core in his sense. And it is clear that the film music of the UFA and its songs are real art: They have lost none of their shine and remain very popular. We offer a charming and nostalgic musical revue of the Ufa era and draw a portrait of an ambivalent epoch … Welcome to the salon of Zarah Leander…