Over the weekend, the U.S. hosted Germany in the national team-based women’s tennis tournament, the Fed Cup. Before American Alison Riske took on Germany’s Andrea Petkovic in a singles match in Hawaii, both national anthems were played. And that’s where things went wrong. A live soloist belted out not just the wrong version of the German anthem, but the Nazi-era version, which includes the line “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles” (“Germany, Germany above all else”) that was used in propaganda by the Third Reich.
“I thought it was the epitome of ignorance, and I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup,” Germany’s Andrea Petkovic said after the match. “We were left shocked and did not know how to react.” In the background, you can hear what appears to be the German players and fans trying to drown out the anthem singer by singing the correct lyrics. “The fact that in the year 2017 a wrong anthem can be played that is associated with the horror of the past was for players and staff and the officials present both shocking and disturbing,” German tennis federation chief Ulrich Klaus said in a statement.
“The song, the Deutschlandlied, became the official German anthem under the democratic Weimar Republic in the 1920s,” according to the BBC. “But after World War Two, the first, contentious verse was dropped and the Federal Republic adopted only the third verse beginning ‘Unity and justice and freedom.’ ”