There is nothing more painful for an indoctrinated old-style communist than this subject. Indeed, such communist will vastly prefer that you stick a fork in his/her eye...
It is a long post, so for the impatient here comes a clip that will give you a brief overview of the subject: the unthinkable (for some folks, mentioned above) affinity between Nazi and Soviet songs of the 1920-1940 period. The clip voice-over is German, but it is not necessary to listen to the words - it is mandatory, however, to listen to the melodies and watch... enjoy.
Vladimir Frumkin, who appears in the clip speaking Russian, is a musicologist and radio journalist, ex-Soviet citizen who touched a raw nerve in two countries by his research into common roots of several Soviet and Nazi songs, most popular during the period and, it should be mentioned, way beyond the period. Unfortunately, his groundbreaking work wasn't translated into English - at least not to the best of my knowledge. So, excerpts* from the linked article, translated (poorly) by me and Google, follow. But even if you don't read Russian, it will be worth your while to browse through the illustrations in the original article that show the same affinity of Nazi and Soviet visual art.
Overthrow the yoke of tyrants, Torturing you forever. Raise a banner with a swastika Above the country of the working people.Despite the occurrence of an alien detail — a black swastika on a banner (whose color, however, remained red), these new lines are even closer to the Radin's verse, than rather approximate translation by Scherchen: they (intentionally or coincidentally?) almost literally reproduce the last stanza of the Russian original:
Let's overthrow by mighty hand The fatal oppression forever And erect above the Earth The red banner of work.A Nazi composer Hans Bayer tells how songs migrated from one ideological camp to another (this process continued until 1933) :
"Skirmish in a pub or fight in the street between SА and Mаrxists, who frequently enjoyed numeric superiority, quite often was followed the next day by sturmfuhrer visited by beaten Marxists requesting acceptance by SA. At first they were drawn by respect for people who were braver and were able to fight better. However the ideas of national socialism soon began to inspire them in the same way as they inspired other comrades from Sturm. Horst Wessel was masterful in attracting the best guys from Marxist groups to his command, to spite their former party comrades. Clearly, these people brought with them the songs created in the red camp. After several amendments to the text they were sung in SА. A song 'Brothers, to the sun, to freedom!' has taken roots in СА without any text changes."... ... to better stress the separation from the "Reds", in a finishing stanza of one of the Nazi variants of the song, the Brownshirts — with a magnificent spontaneity — bellow:
Earlier we were Marxists, Rot Front and social democrats. Today — national socialists, NSDAP fighters!...
Of all our comrades Nobody was so lovely and so kind, As our famous small trumpeter, Our cheerful red soldier …After the murder (presumably by communists) of sturmfuhrer Horst Wessel in February 1930, a Nazi variant was born:
Of all our comrades Nobody was so lovely and so kind, As our sturmfuhrer Horst Wessel, Our cheerful swastika-carrier…During the same time, Soviet pioneers have started singing a Russian version (the free translation by M. Svetlov, musical arrangement by A.Davidenko) where the small trumpeter has turned to the small drummer ("We went under a roar of a cannonade, / We faced the death"). For several ears this lyric-heroic march was widely sung in both countries in all three versions. In 1933 the German Communist variant went silent, in May of 1945 — the national socialist one quit. Another common Nazi-Communist song appeared to be for some time the sacred for Marxists "Internationale". In the beginning of the thirties brownshirts in Berlin often went to the streets singing … "Hitlernationale"... One more "migrating bird": a Tyrolean patriotic song of 1844 "Zu Mantua in Banden". Nazis sang it in the original version, German communists — in a variant ("Dem Morgenrot entgegen"), and the Soviet people — in the same variant translated by A.Bezimensky: "forward toward the dawn, / comrades in struggle" ("Young guards", 1922). Have other Soviet songs got into the Nazi repertoire?