The Waffen-SS Music School was established in Braunschweig on 1 July 1941 with the assistance of the SS Officer’s School in the same town.
There were 60 students in the first training class and the first school director was Hstuf. Edgar Siedentopf. Most of the individual training group instructors were drawn from the NCOs attached to the band of SS Rgt. „Germania“/Division „Wiking.“ The students would frequently receive instrumental training from members of the Braunschweig City-Theatre Orchestra, but at all times their activities were supervised either by the school commander or an SS instructor.
Tight supervision was necessary since most of the students were young teenagers who enrolled in the school at age 14, with parental permission, for a four-year term. After completing their studies at the Music School, the students were then obligated to serve for 12 years in the Waffen-SS. Structurally the school consisted of one main building which housed the staff, a large examination hall, numerous practice rooms and supply and maintenance shops for clothing dispersal, tailoring, shoe repair, etc. There was a barracks (actually a boarding house), for the pupils, with quarters, wash rooms and a kitchen along with a band chamber. Lastly there was a training barracks that contained a gym for physical education and a number of sound-proof practice rooms.
The school provided the students with a full range of musical instruments, including about 40 large and small pianos, which all pupils were required to play. The study program at the school ran as follows:
- Instruction in a main instrument, such as a trombone.
- Instruction in a secondary instrument, such as a cello.
- Obligatory piano training.
- Instruction in music theory, harmony, history, instrument construction and operation, etc.
- Training in orchestral and chamber music playing.
- Basic musical exercises (up through the second year at the school).
- General instruction in German, Math, Geography and History.
- Physical education and sports.
The aptitude and progress of the students was tested and monitored throughout the year. The training methods at the school proved very successful and within a year, students were able to give public concerts which proved quite popular to both participants and spectators alike.
In 1942 the school severed its logistics connections to the SS-Junkerschule „Braunschweig“ and became a totally independent facility. By 1944 the number of students had grown to 220 and Hstuf. Eberhardt had succeeded Edgar Siedentopf (who had been promoted to Stubaf. and transferred elsewhere) as commander of the school. During the same year the town of Braunschweig became more and more the target of vicious enemy air attacks, which endangered the Music School, its young pupils and of course, its inventory of many valuable instruments. A decision was therefore made by the Musical Inspectorate of the Waffen-SS under Stubaf. Leander Hauck (later KIA), to relocate the school to the safety of the small town of Bad Saarow in Brandenburg.
In January 1945, Bad Sarrow itself became endangered by the advancing Red Army and the Music School of the Waffen-SS had to be dissolved. The pupils were sent home where possible, and the staff members were assigned to the newly authorized 32nd SS Grenadier Division „30 Januar,“ where they were used in the formation of the divisional reconnaissance detachment.
During the school’s existence, the pupils wore the standard field gray uniform of the Waffen-SS with twin black collar patches bearing silver lyres. A metal lyre emblem was also worn on the shoulder straps. A Waffen-SS sleeve title bearing the wording „Musikschule Braunschweig“ was worn, but the somewhat ambiguous status of the youthful students was emphasized by the wearing of Hitler Youth belts and armbands at the same time.
Published in “Siegrunen” Magazine – Vol. 8, No. 2, Number 44, 1987