Lili Marlene

In the early 1940's, when German-controlled Radio Belgrade began playing the song "Lili Marlene" every night just before signing off, the result was a spontaneous and shared experience. The station's signal could be received throughout Europe and around the Mediterranean Sea. One can imagine that young men so far from home felt comforted knowing their families -- and their enemies -- were all listening to the same song at the same time. They might have also realized that hearing the song meant that they had survived another day. Certainly the traumatic experience of war must have heightened the song's meaning. But writers Liel Leibovitz and Matthew Miller found that the melody itself had staying power. On the website for Lili Marlene: The Soldier's Song of World War II, Leibovitz and Miller have collected several version of "Lili Marlene," some of them recorded very recently. Click here to listen.

- Geoffrey