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State

Hitler speech transmitted over Chicago police radios

An unauthorized audio transmission over Chicago police radio frequencies Wednesday night seems to be a partial rebroadcast of an Adolf Hitler speech from a 1935 Nazi propaganda film, an expert said.

Based on numerous key words in the fragmented transmission, the audio seems to be from a Hitler speech in Leni Riefenstahl’s film, “Triumph of the Will,” said Imke Meyer, a professor of Germanic studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“Numerous key words were audible, among them ‘Deutschland’ (Germany), ‘Partei’ (party), ‘Volk’ (the people – the German people would be referenced in this context), ‘Jahrtausende’ (millennia – a reference to the idea that the Third Reich would endure for thousands of years to come), ‘Reich’ and ‘Fuhrung’ (leadership),” Meyer, who is also director of the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics at UIC, said in an email.

The audio interrupted police radio frequencies for about 4 minutes Wednesday evening.

Melissa Stratton, spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, has said the city is investigating. She said it was a “rogue radio transmission,” a general term for unauthorized transmissions, and not a city user accidentally broadcasting his or her own audio.

Stratton said she couldn’t confirm anything about the content of the audio.

Meyer said the movie is a “pseudo-documentay of the German National Socialist Party’s 1934 convention in Nuremberg.” The audio transmission that interrupted police frequencies seems to be from “the part of the film that presents Hitler’s closing speech at the convention.”

At one point during the rogue transmission, a radio dispatcher told police units to switch to a different channel if they had any emergencies.

“We have a rogue radio,” the dispatcher said.

As the interruption continued, the same dispatcher later said, “A little bit of an officer safety hazard on the zone at the moment, so anybody with any emergency please switch over to a citywide.”

Rogue transmissions occur “periodically,” Stratton said, “but we have worked with the police and federal authorities to investigate when it has occurred.”

Speaking generally, she said police dispatchers will switch radio zones if there’s a “substantial issue” with a channel.

gpratt@chicagotribune.com

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