Swing Heil was an actual greeting used by German Swing fans in the 30´s and 40´s to mock the Nazis Sieg Heil. Only after the war was it possible to make the saying into the title of  a song. The song itself is a pretty nice cover version of  Sy Oliver´s up-tempo classic Swing High.

Du hast ja keine Ahnung (You have no idea) sung by Rita Paul is more interesting musically. It´s a swinging tune that has Rita doing some scat-style singing in German, really cool.

Rita Paul (born in Berlin December 28, 1928) was very successful in the 50´s, often appearing together with Bully Buhlan:

She played in some films and was a member of the Insulaner, a political Cabaret group. By the end of the 50´s her career was stagnating. She married a scientist and moved to the US. although she mostly resigned to being a mother and housewife she managed to appear in three US films and even recorded during that time. After returning to Germany she was unable to match her former success but continued to perform in nostalgic TV programs into the 70´s.  She still lives in Berlin.

Du hast ja keine Ahnung also appeared on the East-German, i.e. East-Berlin  Amiga label as did many of  Rita Paul´s early recordings. In the late 40´s and early 50´s the iron curtain seems to have been considerably softer.


RITA PAUL,  Du hast ja keine Ahnung, 1949


4 Comments on “TANZORCHESTER KURT HENKELS, Swing Heil, 1949”

  1. Troy McClure says:

    This is fascinating. I didn’t know such jazz records existed in Germany. I had heard, while doing research on Hamburg after the war, that DURING the war there were young people in that city who tried to meet in secret and listen to swing music, the boys growing their hair a bit long (shades of things to come with the ‘Exis’ in 1960?) and they were called ‘Swing Kids’. Ulf Kruger, who was interviewed on a DVD at a Hamburg exhibition on The Beatles and the Hamburg Sound, said that if you were caught listening to swing music (which was forbidden in the Third Reich) you could be sent to a concentration camp! I could not believe it. I can only imagine how some people in Germany must have felt so free after the war to listen to swing and jazz music finally without fear of being killed for it.

    I wonder if you had heard about this underground jazz organization in Germany during the war, Andreas?

    Thank you for the post.

  2. mischalke04 says:

    Last night I took my 78 rpm records to a small pizza place to dj. The owner is a swing fan and a friend and most of the people were also puzzled by this record. They thought it was a Nazi-Swing record. Of course, how could it be, because like you said, swing music was prohibited in Nazi Germany.

    I thought the Swing Kids were common knowledge, but apparently not so.

    From wikipedia:

    “The Swing Kids were defining a counter-culture, shown by their clothing and music. Their behavior, described by many Nazis as “effete,” ran counter to the spartan militarism that the regime was trying to inculcate in its youth. They organized dance festivals and contests, and invited jazz bands. These events were occasions to mock the Nazis, the military and the Hitlerjugend — hence the famous “Swing heil!”, mocking the infamous “Sieg Heil!”. Swing kids wore long hair and hats, carried umbrellas and met in cafés and clubs. They developed a jargon mostly made of Anglicisms.”


    Swing Kids or “Swing-Jugend” were the forerunners of everything cool in German popular youth culture of the last 60 years and this was their music. So: Swing Heil!

  3. Just like the majority, I’ve learnt about Swing Kids from the prominent American movie, that I rank among my favourites.
    But beyond this great film, is really exceptional hearing to that music, that comes straight from that era and is played by a German band. Gives the illusion of approaching more original, the legend of the story.
    Innumerable thanks, dear Andreas!
    And that goes equally for all of your posts! (I guess that it’s almost trivial to say, how loyally I follow your blog… even in a “commentless” way, lately).

    Beste Athener Gruesse!

  4. Gabriel Gallo says:

    I’m mexican (from Mexico City), and when I was a kid each sunday night my father and I used to hear the radio. Ocasionally, we heard a german swing sang by a female. The first word of lyrics is “Halló” and a suppose that the lyrics are about a lady who wants to know who is knocking on her door. She asks and the orchestra members answer “Nein, nein, nein” If someone knows the title of the song or the name of the singer, please let me knou in ggallo@ipn.mx I will be very happy and grateful

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