Wehrmacht stable boy on the Russian front, P.O.W. entertainer, baritone, most-recorded singer, transcendentalist.

The German character, which has been under scrutiny since Luther advised his princes to “smite, slay, and stab” a peasant insurrection because the Devil was in the lower classes, has several threads. Fischer-Dieskau, the foremost interpreter of German lieder, who memorized Morgenstern’s poems on the Russian front, took his homeless mother to the opera after she was bombed out, and interposed art to every calamity, represents what is immortal in the German character. The idealism.

The recording of Fischer-Dieskau singing Schubert’s lieder is the one I sent to a dying friend, who had been born in Germany. Hopefully, it took him to heaven.