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Page last updated at 14:55 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 15:55 UK

Swiss TV in German anthem blunder

German supporters in Vienna, Austria, for the Euro 2008 Germany v Austria match
German supporters at the match sang the official version of the anthem

Swiss television has made an embarrassing error during live coverage of the European Championship football match between Germany and Austria.

The national channel SRG ran subtitles to Germany's national anthem including the obsolete first verse - ignored since the fall of the Third Reich.

"Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" or "Germany, Germany above everything", was popular under the Nazis' rule.

The third verse, on its own, became the anthem following unification in 1990.

'Inexcusable'

The third verse, which begins "unity and justice and liberty for the German fatherland", was sung by Germans in the west of the country after World War II.

And that verse alone became the official anthem after East and West Germany unified.

The error was described as "inexcusable" by a spokesman for Swiss Text, a subsidiary of SRG, responsible for subtitling services.

According to an interview in the Swiss newspaper Blick, the spokesman said two young sports editors were at fault, and that the mistake was a result of poor research.

The anthem was written by poet Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841.


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