Christmas Music Box or Trojan Horse?

A Joyous Advent and Merry Christmas to all of you!

Last year I posted on some Christmas items from East German times that I have in my collection (see Year end figures with wings we have heard on high . . .) . As one might expect, this popular holiday’s religious connotations posed some challenges to the Communist leadership and every effort was made to direct the celebrations towards the secular version of things.

And Christmas wasn’t all bad for the regime as the seasonal wooden folk art from the country’s Ore Mountain region enjoyed popularity throughout Germany. Recognizing this, the government set up Expertic, a marketing office charged with overseeing the export of Ore Mountain handicrafts to Western countries in return for, you guessed it, hard currency.

In this video blog, I present several such items including the region’s much loved Räuchermännchen (Smoking Men) and an Expertic® music box I recently acquired at a flea market in Bonn. It’s a beautiful piece, but closer examination suggests it may not be as innocuous as first glance suggests . . .

NOTE: One of my German readers has pointed out that the red-coated figure on the music box is clearly the secular “Santa Claus/Father Christmas” and not “Nikolaus”, the Christian saint who is still plays a role in the German Christmas celebrations on Dec. 6th he gives children gifts in a shoe that they leave out for him the night before. Thanks for that correction, Olaf! Much obliged!

  1. Your Swedish friend said:

    Man. This is great. You gotta post this on youtube. LOVE IT! Laughing my head off. Merry Christmas to you all.

  2. Heather Kleiner said:

    I had fun watching the video produced by the family.

    Love, Mum


  3. Tim Dutcher-Walls said:

    And the melody, John Paul, is Luther’s “Vom Himmel hoch”, orginally written for his own family’s Christmas Eve celebration. The hymn, relating the Christmas story and its spiritual import, goes on for 14 stanzas, on and on. Just as it does when the angel, Father Christmas and the animals go round and round. (Does it have the same chord structure as the Internationale?! . . .)

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