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...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!