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Fritz Löhner-Beda

1883 - 1942

The writer and songwriter Fritz Löhner-Beda was born as Friedrich Löwy in Wildenschwert, Böhmen and belonged to the most important songwriters of the 20's and 30's. 

First he learnt the profession of jurisprudence and was also busy for a lawyer office for a certain time. But his attention was soon dominated by his literary abilities and he launched an impressive career as a writer of humorous and catchy poems and lyrics. At this time he has created the pseudonym Beda which later became Fritz Löhner-Beda. 

He already published his first book of poems called "Getaufte oder Baldgetaufte" in 1908. It followed settings of his plays, among others "Die Dollarprinzessin" by Leo Fall. 

He experienced the height of his career in the 20's and managed his breakthrough in 1922 with his songtext to Hermann Leopoldi's song "Das Lied von der sterbenden Märchenstadt Wien" and became one of the most popular librettists.  He was regarded as the most successful artistic union of that time together with Ludwig Herzer, Franz Lehar and Richard Tauber. This group realised among others the operettas "Friederike" (28), "Das Land des Lächelns" (29) and "Giuditta" (34). Other operettas are "Viktoria und ihr Husar" (30) and "Die Blume von Hawaii" (31). 

Fritz Löhner-Beda came already in contact with the medium film in 1917 and he wrote several scripts, among them for the silent movies "Der rote Prinz" (17), "Lasset die Kleinen zu mir kommen" (20), "Eva, die Sünde" (20), "Eine Million Dollar" (21) and "Sechs Mädchen suchen Nachtquartier" (28). 

In the sound film era of the 30's were his scripts "Das Land des Lächelns" (30), "Fra Diavolo" (31), "Friederike" (32),"Der Dienstmann" (32), "Ball im Savoy" (35 and "Das Glück wohn nebenan" (39) successfully filmed. 

But his artistic way up came to an abrupt end with the seizure of power by the National Socialists. As a jew he was in the focus of the politic which he himself didn't see at the beginning because his music was very popular among the rulers.
But Fritz Löhner-Beda misjudged the situation and was arrested in 1938 because of his Jewish extraction. He was deported via KZ Dachau to the KZ Buchenwald. In spite of inhuman circumstances he found there he did not loose his artistic engergy and wrote the text for the song "Das Buchenwaldlied", composed by Hermann Leopoldi who was also arrested in buchenwald. 
The song became a camp hymn and gave strength to the prisoners.
The refrain of the song reads as follows:

"O Buchenwald, ich kann dich nicht vergessen,
weil du mein Schicksal bist.
Wer dich verließ, der kann es erst ermessen,
wie wundervoll die Freiheit ist!
O Buchenwald, wir jammern nicht und klagen,
und was auch unser Schicksal sei,
wir wollen trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen,
denn einmal kommt der Tag, dann sind wir frei!"

An other good fried in the KZ was the actor fritz Grünbaum. Fritz Löhner-Beda had to witness his death in January 1941.
Fritz Löhner-Beda hoped for the intercession of his fellow Franz Lehar during his imprisonment, but this failed to come. In 1942 followed the transport to Auschwitz and he was killed because he was no longer able to comply with the demanded efficiency. His wife and their two daughters did not survive the persecution too.

His words for "Das Land des Lächelns" were still sung at that time but his name was deleted in the cast list. 
His words live on after his tragic death in numerous songs, among others "Ich hab mein Herz in Heidelberg verloren", "Ausgerechnet Bananen", which was also interpreted by Josephine Baker, "Was machst du mit dem Knie, lieber Hans?" and especially "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz" sung by Richard Tauber. 

Other movies from Fritz Löhner-Beda (Screenwriter): 
Der Dieb im Frack (19) Grossstadtgift (20) Anita (20) Freut Euch des Lebens (20) Sein Lebenslicht (20) Grossstadtgift (20) Der Leiermann (20) Olga Frohgemut (22) Er und sein Diener (31) Ein angenehmer Patient (32) Die Blume von Hawaii (33) The Student's Romance (35) 

Other filmings: 
Viktoria und ihr Husar (54) Schön ist die Welt (57) Bal in Savoy (64) Viktoria und ihr Husar (65) Giuditta – Freunde das Leben ist lebenswert (70) Die Blume von Hawaii (71) Das Land des Lächelns (74)  Victoria und ihr Husar (82) 

Filmsong textes: 
Melodie des Herzens (29) Ich glaub' nie mehr an eine Frau (30) Zwei Welten (30) Das Land des Lächelns (30) Die schwebende Jungfrau (31) Die Blume von Hawaii (31) Der Hexer (32) Das Glück wohn nebenan (39)