Germany responded with outrage after the United States Tennis Association made the embarrassing gaffe of playing the Nazi-era version of Germany’s national anthem during a Federation Cup tie in Hawaii, Reuters reported. The version played included the first stanza, beginning “Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles,” which was used as Nazi propaganda. Germany’s Andrea Petkovic described it as “the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”
The offensive first stanza has been banned in Germany since the end of the Second World War, but was inexplicably sung during the opening ceremony of the quarter final match on Saturday between Alison Riske of the US and Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.
“I’ve never felt more disrespected in my whole life, let alone in Fed Cup, and I’ve played Fed Cup for 13 years now and it is the worst thing that has ever happened to me,” Germany’s Andrea Petkovic said, adding “it’s 2017 – something like this simply should not happen in the United States.”
She also said that “we were left shocked and did not know how to react” saying she considered walking off court before the singles match against Alison Riske. Riske subsequently beat Petkovic.
Petkovic’s teammates and traveling fans attempted to drown out the outdated tune by singing the correct “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit” (Unity and justice and freedom) verse over the amplified Nazi anthem.
Germany’s coach, Barbara Ritter, was distraught saying: “This is an absolute scandal, a disrespectful incident and inexcusable, I could have sobbed. Hearing the national anthem at the Fed cup is a holy moment.”
Shortly after the gaffe, the USTA tweeted its apologies, saying it extended “its sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated national anthem.” “In no way did we mean any disrespect. This mistake will not occur again, and the correct anthem will be performed for the remainder of this first-round tie,” it said in a statement. German tennis federation chief Ulrich Klaus confirmed that his American counterpart had apologised for the mistake.
“Our American hosts at the Fed Cup opening in Hawaii made a mistake that should not happen,” Klaus said in a statement. “The fact that in the year 2017 a wrong anthem can be played that is associated with the horror of the past was for players and staff and the officials present both shocking and disturbing.”
“The USTA through its president Katrina Adams has apologised officially in writing and in person and deeply regrets the blunder.”