HC Deb 21 May 1946 vol 423 cc190-2
49. Mr. Vane

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what are the rules governing the public performance of Wagner's operas in the British zone of Germany and Austria: and whether the same rules apply in the other zones.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. John Hynd)

We do not allow any music primarily associated with Nazism of militarism, but this does not mean that there is a general ban on operas by Wagner or any other composer. The banning of works by particular composers was a notorious feature of Nazi rule which we have no desire to imitate. So far as I am aware, the practice of the other occupying Powers is similar to our own.

Mr. Quintin Hogg

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, if he wants to revive Nazism in Germany, the best way to do it is by arousing the deepest resentment of the Germans by defiling the monuments to their dead and by making ourselves ridiculous by banning their works of music?

Mr. Hynd

The question of monuments is not raised in this Question. If the hon. Member will read the answer I have given, he will see that we do not ban the works of any particular composer, but that we do prevent the playing of Nazi music and other militaristic music in Germany. I might add that I am quite surprised to find this enthusiasm for reviving militaristic and other practices in Germany at the present time.

Mr. Hogg

On a point of Order. Is the hon. Gentleman entitled, Mr. Speaker, to charge an hon. Member of this House with seeking to revive the military power of a defeated enemy?

Mr. Speaker

I see no reason to interfere and I suggest to the hon. Member that he himself was to blame for raising a point which really had little to do with the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Vane

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is widely understood in Vienna that his Department has banned public performances of Wagner's operas and that, in consequence, his administration is regarded in the same light as that of Dr. Goebbels?

Mr. Hynd

The fact is that a Wagner opera has taken place in Berlin but that, up to date, no application has been made for the performance of an opera by Wagner in Vienna.

Lieut.-Colonel Thorp

May I ask what form of music has been banned in Germany and Austria?

Mr. Hynd

No opera by any particular composer, nor of composers generally, his been banned as such, but there are certain pieces of music which it is not desirable that the Germans should play in public at the present time. We have no intention of alloWing such pieces as the "Horst Wessel "To be played.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

We have been long enough on this Question.