From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fritz Löhner-Beda (June 24, 1883 – December 4, 1942), born Friedrich Löwy, was an Austrian librettist, lyricist and writer.
He was born in Wildenschwert, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic).
In the 1920s he became one of the most sought-after librettists and lyricists of Vienna. Together with Franz Lehár as composer, Ludwig Herzer as co-author and Richard Tauber as singer he produced the operettas Friederike (Frederica) (1928), Das Land des Lächelns (The Land of Smiles) (1929) and, with Paul Knepler as co-author, Giuditta (1934). Together with his friend Alfred Grünwald as co-author and Paul Abraham as composer, he produced Viktoria und ihr Husar (Victoria and Her Hussar) (1930), Die Blume von Hawaii (The Flower of Hawaii) (1931) and Ball im Savoy (Ball at the Savoy) (1932).
In mid-March 1938 Fritz Löhner-Beda was arrested and deported to the Dachau concentration camp on April 1, 1938. On September 23, 1938 he was displaced to the Buchenwald concentration camp. There he composed, together with his fellow prisoner Hermann Leopoldi, in the end of 1938 the famous anthem of the concentration camp, Das Buchenwaldlied ("The Buchenwald Song"):
- O Buchenwald, ich kann dich nicht vergessen,
- weil du mein Schicksal bist.
- Wer dich verließ, der kann es erst ermessen,
- wie wundervoll die Freiheit ist!
- O Buchenwald, wir jammern nicht und klagen,
- und was auch unser Schicksal sei,
- wir wollen trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen,
- denn einmal kommt der Tag, dann sind wir frei!
- O Buchenwald, I can’t forget about you,
- because you are my fate.
- Who leaves you, only he can appreciate
- how wonderful freedom is!
- O Buchenwald, we don’t cry and complain
- and whatever may be our destiny,
- even so we shall say "yes" to life
- for once the day shall come when we shall be free!
His initial hope for an intercession by Franz Lehár was deceptive. On October 17, 1942 he was deported to the Monowitz concentration camp near Auschwitz. The circumstances of his death have been described by Raul Hilberg in The Destruction of the European Jews: After an inspection by directors of the syndicate IG Farben at which the already diseased Löhner-Beda was denounced as working not hard enough he was beaten to death on December 4, 1942.
Among the most famous songs for which he wrote the lyrics are:
- In der Bar zum Krokodil ("In the crocodile bar"), music by Willy Engel-Berger
- Du schwarzer Zigeuner ("You black gypsy"), tango, an adaptation of Cikánka by Karel Vacek
- Drunt' in der Lobau ("Down there in the Lobau"), music by Heinrich Strecker
- Ausgerechnet Bananen ("Of all things bananas"), an adaptation of "Yes! We Have No Bananas"
- Ich hab’ mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren ("I’ve lost my heart in Heidelberg"), music by Fred Raymond
- Oh, Donna Clara, Tango by Jerzy Petersburski
- Wo sind deine Haare, August? ("Where is your hair, August?"), foxtrot by Richard Fall
- Was machst du mit dem Knie, lieber Hans? ("What are you doing with the knee, dear Hans?"), pasodoble by Richard Fall
- Dein ist mein ganzes Herz ("Yours is my heart alone") from The Land of Smiles
- Freunde, das Leben ist lebenswert ("Friends, life is worth living") from Giuditta
- Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß ("My lips, they kiss so hotly") from Giuditta
- Günther Schwarberg: Dein ist mein ganzes Herz. Die Geschichte von Fritz Löhner-Beda, der die schönsten Lieder der Welt schrieb, und warum Hitler ihn ermorden ließ, Steidl, Göttingen, 2000 (German), ISBN 978-3882437157 (hardback) ISBN 978-3882438925 (paperback)
- Barbara Denscher, Helmut Peschina: Kein Land des Lächelns. Fritz Löhner-Beda 1883–1942, Residenz, Salzburg, 2002 (German), ISBN 978-3701713028