Music: Peripatetic Polka

Germans insisted it was an old Bavarian drinking song. Americans and British thought it was one of their own. Anyhow, they all sang it. The Beer Barrel Polka became the Tipperary of World War II, rivaled in popularity only by Lili Marlene, which had more homesick appeal, but less oompah.

The unknown little man who actually wrote Polka turned up in the news last week. He is a village orchestra leader named Jaromir Vejvoda, from the tiny Prague suburb of Vrane. In 1930, when he was 28, Vejvoda scribbled down Modran-ska Polka (his first...

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