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Russian music among records taken from Hitler's headquarters

The strains of Tchaikovsky played by a Polish Jew may once have wafted through Adolf Hitler's headquarters, according to a German magazine report.

The weekly Der Spiegel said the daughter of a World War II Soviet military intelligence officer showed it a collection of about 100 records her father took from the Reich chancellery in Berlin when the city fell in 1945.

Alongside predictable recordings such as the overture to "The Flying Dutchman" by Hitler favorite Richard Wagner, the collection included works by composers from Russia, whose people were regarded as subhuman by Nazi ideologues, according to the report.

Among the works reportedly taken by Lev Bezymenski were an aria from Mussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" and an album of Tchaikovsky works featuring star violinist Bronislaw Huberman - a Polish Jew - as a soloist.

"I find this grotesque," Der Spiegel quoted Bezymenski's daughter, Alexandra Beyzmenskaya, as saying. "Millions of Slavs and Jews had to die as a result of the Nazis' racial ideology."

It was not clear exactly whom the records belonged to, whether Hitler himself actually listened to them, or exactly where in the chancellery they were found.

Der Spiegel published a photograph of one record with a blue label reading "Fuehrer headquarters" and carrying an inventory number.

According to the report, Bezymenskaya only stumbled on the records, which were kept in the attic of the family dacha outside Moscow, in 1991. Three years ago, it added, she persuaded her father to write about the collection.

"These were recordings of classical music performed by the best orchestras of Europe and Germany with the best soloists of that time," Bezymenski wrote. "It surprised me that Russian music also was there."

Bezymenski, who after the war became a historian and a professor at Moscow's military academy, died in June at age 86, according to Der Spiegel. His daughter, it reported, has yet to decide what to do with the collection.

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