The Holocaust was and still is the biggest crime ever committed in the history of mankind.Additionally it also killed music by killing the talent that produced and created music.
Some of the composers and musicians in this blog were killed only because they were Jewish.or because they defied the Nazi rule, for as musicians they were creatures of emotion and they knew what they witnessed was wrong because that is how they felt it, and they decided to do something about it.
Samuel Schuijer was born in The Hague on September 9, 1873, son of Roosje van Kam and Abraham Schuijer. The family had a jewelry store on the Heerengracht 18. Five of the nine Schuijer children became professional musicians. Sam studied violin, cello, bassoon and music theory at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Shortly after graduating, he worked primarily as the principal bassoonist in various Dutch orchestras and also made a European tour with the Eduard Strauss orchestra as principal solo bassoonist. In 1894, he married Elizabeth Alter, an opera singer and actress. They had three sons: Abraham (pianist), Marinus, who died in infancy and Louis (cellist).
On December 11, 1942, Samuel Schuijer was murdered in Auschwitz. His home and music school had been plundered by the Nazis. With the loss of his life and destruction of his belongings, all traces of this significant Dutch musician seemed to be erased. But a group of children in The Hague found a box containing music manuscripts, waiting for the garbage truck. They took their treasure home and it became the first step in rediscovering a lost fragment of Dutch music history.
The pianist Mischa Hillesum was an extremely musical, sensitive but also mentally unstable personality. Conservatory teachers acknowledged his stunning talents and audiences were thrilled by his performances. Music was his primary necessity, his way of dealing with daily realities. He was hospitalized several times in a mental institution. In 1943, the Hillesum family arrived in Westerbork. Mischa eventually died while detained as a forced laborer in Warsaw. Only a few of his compositions are known.
Simon (Sim) Gokkes (21 March 1897, Amsterdam – 5 February 1943, Auschwitz) was a Dutch-Jewish composer.
As a child, Gokkes took his first singing lessons with Ben Geysel, an opera singer who ran the Rembrandt Theatre of Amsterdam. Gokkes was also a pupil of Victor Schlesinger, cantor of the Rapenburg Synagogue in Amsterdam. In 1912, Gokkes wrote his first compositions, “Ngolinu Leshabiag” and “Yigdal”. He studied composition with Sem Dresden and also piano and flute at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam, finishing in 1919. He then worked as an assistant director of the Netherlands Opera.
Throughout his life, Gokkes directed several choirs. In 1921, he founded the School Choir of Amsterdam. For years he was director of the Santo Serviçio, the choir of the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam. Gokkes is known as an innovator of synagogue music. His compositions relate primarily to religious themes.
In 1923, Gokkes married pianist Rebecca Winnik. Along with his wife and his two children, David and Rachel, he was murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp on 5 February 1943.
Only some of his works are preserved in the Netherlands Music Institute.
Jan van Gilse
Jan van Gilse received his musical education in Germany. His music developed into a synthesis of French impressionism and German romanticism. He became a popular conductor and one of the founders of the Society of Dutch composers (GeNeCo) and also the copyright organization BUMA. During the war, this socially engaged human being was fiercely anti-German. He had to pay a heavy price for his fighting spirit.
van Gilse (Rotterdam, 11 May 1881 – Oegstgeest, 8 September 1944) was a Dutch composer and conductor. Among his works are five symphonies and the Dutch-language opera Thijl.
Coming from a family of theologians, Jan van Gilse showed an early aptitude for piano playing and composing. From 1897 onwards, he studied at the Cologne conservatory. After his teacher, Franz Wüllner, died in 1902, he continued his studies with Engelbert Humperdinck in Berlin. From 1909 to 1911, he studied in Italy. In 1901, van Gilse received the Beethoven-Haus Prize in Bonn for his (First) Symphony in F major; In 1906, the Michael Beer Prize was awarded to him for his Third Symphony, ‘Erhebung’ (‘Elevation’; for soprano solo and orchestra).
In addition to composing, van Gilse soon developed an interest in conducting. He started out with the Bremen opera, a post which was followed by appointments in Munich and Amsterdam.
During World War II, van Gilse became actively involved with the resistance movement against the German occupation of the Netherlands. Both his sons, who were also resistance fighters, were killed by the occupiers before van Gilse himself succumbed (probably to pneumonia) in the autumn of 1944. To protect his shelter, he was buried in an unmarked grave outside the village of Oegstgeest.
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