Stationary of the Third Reich

In March, 2010, my friend and professor Peter Berggren asked me to do some minor research for a documentary he was making on music in Berlin during World War II. Wilhelm Furtwangler and Rudolph Dunbar were the two men I was to investigate.

Furtwangler conducted the Berlin Philharmonic before and during World War II. This was controversial, naturally, because it seemed to be accepting Nazi rule. However, he was tried and found not guilty of anything significant. I was looking for footage of his trial, which was filmed.

Rudolph Dunbar was a foreign correspondent to London for the Associated Negro Press, which the Chicago Defender newspaper used frequently. This made his private correspondence with Claude A. Barnett, head of the ANP, Chicago's property! Basically. I rode down to the Chicago History Museum, paid for a year's access to their Research Center ($15), and read through two folders of letters, telegrams, clippings, and wires between Barnett and Dunbar.

Dunbar was an accomplished symphony conductor as well as a journalist, and he conducted the London Philharmonic multiple times while stationed there. Interestingly, he conducted the Berlin Philharmonic after the war ended as a kind of double-jab at the Nazis: a black man could not only meet them on the battlefield, but he could conduct their derrieres, too. I was looking for any description of the nightlife and music scene in Berlin during the war, because Dunbar marched on Berlin with the U.S. forces.

At some point he came upon a large stash of Adolf Hitler's stationary, which he sent a letter to Barnett on!

Unfortunately, Barnett and Dunbar spoke almost exclusively about bills and pay checks.