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Germany's favorite 105-year-old singer sues over SS claims

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Germany's favorite 105-year-old singer sues over SS claims
Singing - but not for the SS. Photo: DPA
14:49 CEST+02:00
Germany's favorite oldest living cabaret entertainer Johannes Heesters is suing an author who alleges he sang for the SS at Dachau concentration camp.

The Dutch actor and singer, who will turn 105 in December, says the allegations made by writer Volker Kühn that he was invited to the death camp by the SS and sang for them there, are wrong and scurrilous.

Heesters has never denied having visited the camp in 1941 as a member of the Munich Gärtnerplatz Theatre Ensemble, but says they were effectively ordered to go – and says he never sang.

Berlin's District Court will hear oral presentations from both sides on November 25, confirmed Gunter Fette, Heesters' lawyer.

He said Heesters would contest the idea that the ensemble had been ‘invited' to the concentration camp. “That is malicious,” he said. “That was obviously not the kind of invitation where you could decide to go or not.”

Heesters had never denied the visit, and Fette said it had been documented in the 2006 Berliner Akademie der Künste exhibition.

The SS had forced the group to go to the camp, but there had been no special performance.

“I am ashamed, and I have not stopped until today to be ashamed, that the Nazis were able to lure us there,” Heesters has often said.

“Had I not done it I would probably have run into great difficulties. And I can only repeat myself – I did not sing in Dachau.”

Kühn has based his publication on eye witness statements of a Heesters performance for the SS, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Heesters will be calling on the court to make Kühn withdraw his allegations and promise not to make them again.

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