Lili Marleen, History of a Hit Song

• May 3 2003 - November 16, 2004

Lili Marleen - 'the biggest hit of the Second World War'- is more than just any German soldier's song about farewell, separation and an uncertain return home. On both sides of the front Lili Marleen became the most popular song during the Second World War but its influence continued long after. With Lili Marleen the Dutch Resistance Museum will bring back to life a dramatic part of contemporary history.

In the world of music Lili Marleen is considered one of the most successful German songs of the 20th century. Although it is closely connected with the name of Lale Anderson, many other celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Anne Shelton and Suzy Solidor also performed the song. Lili Marleen deeply touches our feelings and characterizes the spirit of times: separation from one's loved ones, a feeling of homesickness and a longing for home, loneliness, a fear of death. The song has been translated into numerous languages. The myth of Lili Marleen has become the subject of theatrical performances and cabaret, of documentaries and films. But also in post-war conflicts in Korea, Algeria, Vietnam or Kosovo, Lili Marleen has never left the stage.

The exhibition of the Haus der Geschichte of the Federal Republic of Germany shows the song's origin, its reception and its success. Sheet music, records, music magazines, letters from soldiers, film and theatre posters as well as costumes of the war and the post-war period bear witness to the myth of Lili Marleen. Audio-visual media show the impressive influence of the song and its world-wide success. Many of the objects, either part of a personal estate of or belonging to Lale Anderson, Marlene Dietrich, Hans Leip and the composer Norbert Schultze are shown in public for the first time. The exhibition 'Lili Marleen' is a production of the Haus der Geschichte in Bonn.