Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was uncertain of his legacy. He used to say: "I've done nothing but sing." But he recognised the change in himself from his earliest years and the difficulties he had surmounted in adolescence during the Hitler years. He told Die Welt in an interview to mark his 75th birthday: "I was shy, obedient, timid, not sporty. School was made easier for me because of my father [a headteacher]. Apart from that, I just managed to get through. I had a dreadful aversion for the Nazis, even the young ones. I withdrew into myself and lowered my head." Service in the Wehrmacht in Russia and Italy, and then imprisonment by the Americans as an enemy soldier cannot have been ideal circumstances for the study of singing. And yet these experiences helped him understand the transience of life, and make him a greater artist.
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