A recent post on Boing Boing discussed the newly discovered “rules for jazz performers during the Nazi occupation.” Jewish and Black people — two groups targeted by the Nazis — were also the primary innovators of jazz music. But Germans loved jazz! How to handle such a contradiction? Rules for playing jazz music: no “Jewishy gloomy lyrics,” no “Negroid excesses in tempo,” and no “hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races.”
It’s well worth a look, as is this post from 2010 explaining how many groups vilified by Nazis survived the Holocaust by playing jazz for Nazi soldiers…
I have a favorite historical musician: Django Reinhardt.
Reinhardt was a Roma jazz musician. During World War II both Roma and jazz musicians were targeted by the Nazi regime. Over a million Roma were exterminated for presumed racial inferiority and jazz was believed to combine the worst of Blacks and Jews (i.e., “musical race defilement”). Just listening to a jazz record could get you sent to a concentration camp.
Reinhardt, however, enjoyed the most lucrative period of his career during the war, while living and playing openly among Nazi soldiers.