Mysterious Zaragoza nights

Between-wars texts about Zaragoza by Germans who appear never to have visited the place.

Die Nacht von Saragossa is a tango from the early 1930s by Herman Frey and Karl Wilczynski, an anodyne ditty of love and roses which could, as Daniel Hübner pointed out a while back, have been situated just about anywhere:

So, as Mariano García asks in the Heraldo de Aragón piece, why Zaragoza? I wonder if this song is either an echo of, or part of the same thematic cloud as, Der Stern von Saragossa (The star of Zaragoza), published in or before 1927 by the successful popular writer Rudolf Presber. I haven’t read it, but since it is subtitled “a Berlin novel”, and since Presber doesn’t seem to have travelled to, or shown any wider interest in, Spain, I suspect that its connection with the city is also sketchy. I suppose it is possible that Presber–who supported Hitler in the 30s–found in Zaragoza’s heroic resistance to the French a lesson for German opponents of Versailles and French revanchism, and that others fed off the meme. But I haven’t read the book, and I know nothing more about Frey, so I’d better shut up now.

Mr García says that the song is not a tango, but a tango waltz. Don’t dance with him, ladies.

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