During the festive season, you will no doubt hear plenty of people singing the popular Christmas carol ‘Silent Night’. First written some 203 years ago by Joseph Mohr, it has been recorded by an abundance of singers across a variety of genres. Bing Crosby’s version, released in 1935, has sold more than 10 million copies — although his biggest hit White Christmas has sold more than 50 million copies.
Silent Night was first performed as Stille Nacht on Christmas Eve in 1818 at the St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a small village in modern-day Austria.
The English translation that is most frequently sung today was published in 1859 by Episcopal priest John Freeman Young, then serving at the Trinity Church in New York.
To date, the carol has been translated into 140 languages.
One bizarre version of the song was created by Adolf Hitler, who had the words rewritten as a tribute to him, in a desperate attempt to hog the festive limelight.
The Führer had a Nazi songwriter compose a new version as part of his attempts to apply Nazi ideology to Christmas.
Throughout the Thirties and Forties, the Nazis attempted to transform Christmas traditions.
They used Nazi ideology and propaganda machines to align Christmas with their anti-Semitic views.
Christmas posed a major issue for Nazi Germany, since Jesus was a Jew.
Eradicating Jews and Jewishness stood at the very heart of Nazi ideology.
Judith Breuer, organiser of a 2009 exhibition in Cologne that offered an insight into Nazi attempts to take the Christ out of Christmas, told the Independent at the time: “The baby Jesus was Jewish.
“This was both a problem and provocation for the Nazis. The most popular Christian festival of the year did not fit in with their racist ideology.
“They had to react and they did so by trying to make it less Christian.”