A mistake by the United States Tennis Association sparked a diplomatic row with Germany on Saturday, when an archaic version of the German national anthem, one associated with the Nazi regime of the 1930s and 1940s, was performed at the opening of an American-German match.
The match, hosted by the US Tennis Association on the Hawaiian island of Maui, featured, as is custom, the signing of the national anthems of both countries.
But due to a clerical error by the USTA, an extended version of Germany’s national anthem was sung – one which includes verses dropped from the form used by the Federal Republic of Germany.
During Saturday’s match, the soloist charged with performing Germany’s anthem sang the opening lines of the original version, which reads in part:
“Germany, Germany, over all others, above all else in the world.”
While originally written in the 19th century, the first two stanzas of the anthem have been excluded since the end of the Nazi regime in 1945.
Members of the German team say they were appalled by the mistake.
“It was the worst experience that has ever happened to me - horrifying and shocking,” Andrea Petkovic told Bild.
“This is the year 2017,” she continued, “that something like this happens in America – it can’t happen. It’s embarrassing and speaks of ignorance.”
A spokesperson for the US Tennis Association said the use of the wrong version of the anthem was a “mistake” and that the correct version was performed later in the match.
“We extend our sincerest apologies to the German Fed Cup team and all of its fans for the performance of an outdated National Anthem prior to today's Fed Cup competition.”
“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.”