William Herschel-11 January 1787

Many people think that space exploration only started in the 20th century, but in fact it started centuries before.

The first telescope was said to be invented in 1608 in the Netherlands by an eyeglass maker named Hans Lippershey..

Ever since that time there have been many scientists who made it their life’s work to investigate what is out there in that vast universe. William Herschel was one of those scientists. Herschel was a a German-born British[3] astronomer and composer.

I won’t be going to deep into his work in this blog, because I will do a follow up soon. However since today is the 234th anniversary of his discovery of 2 of Uranus’s moons. Six years after he had first discovered Uranus.

Titania

Oberon , also designated Uranus IV

As I mentioned earlier he was also a composer..

This is William Herschel’s Symphony No.17, in C major. Played by London Mozart Players.

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Source NASA

The Pianist who spoke his mind and was killed for it.

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Regardless how talented you were, or how much value you could add to the German culture, if you didn’t comply to the Nazi ideology or dared to criticize it, you stood a good chance of getting executed.

Karlrobert Kreiten born 26 June 1916,  in Bonn, Germany) was a Dutch-German pianist,  holding Dutch citizenship his short life because of his Dutch father. He was a promising pianist, described by conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler as the most talented young pianist in Germany.

concert announcement

He made his debut at the age of eleven with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major in a live broadcast. His father was a Dutch composer and pianist, and his mother was a classical singer who performed under the stage name Emmy Kreiten-Barido. Karlrobert studied with the Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau in Berlin, and at the Music Academy.

son & mother

In early 1943 Kreiten moved to Berlin and began practising for his upcoming concerts at the house of his mother’s friend Ellen Ott-Monecke, who had offered her salon and piano until he would  find suitable accommodation.

Ellen Ott-Monecke who was a fanatic Nazi supporter,unbeknownst to Kreiten, one day he relayed his views on Hitler to Ott-Monecke. He had told her that Hitler was ‘brutal, sick and insane,’ and was responsible for starting the war. He also continued saying  that there would be a revolution in which Hitler, Goering and Goebbels would be ‘made a head shorter.’

Ellen Ott-Monecke reported this to the Gestapo He was indicted at the Volksgerichtshof (the ‘People’s Court’) for being a ‘threat to victory,’ and sentenced to death.

Volksgerichtshof, Reinecke, Freisler, Lautz

Roland Freisler,, presided over the trial and stated that Kreiten’s crime was ‘public’ and he could therefore face the death sentence. Freisler wanted to make an example of Kreiten at the trial, commenting  that, “whoever acts as Kreiten did, is doing precisely as our enemies wish. He becomes the henchman in their war of nerves against the steadfastness of our people”

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Friends and family desperately tried to save his life, but alas to no avail. The Kreiten family  only accidentally learned, via an anonymous phone call.  that Karlrobert had been executed by hanging, with 185 other inmates, at Plötzensee prison, om September 7 1943.

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Press coverage of the trial painted the pianist as a traitor, including articles written by Nazi propagandist Werner Höfer.  When the false articles by Werner Höfer  about Kreiten became known to a wider public  in 1987 he had to retire.

in convert

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

holocaustmusic.ort.org

 

 

 

 

 

Richard Strauss-Nazi collaborator or victim of circumstance?

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For people who don’t know classical music the name Richard Strauss will mean very little, but for music and movie fans they know the music of the man. His composition “Also Sprach Zarathustra” was made famous by the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”

 

 

In the early 1930s, Strauss did not join the Nazi party. For reasons of expediency, however, he initially cooperated with the early Nazi regime in the hope that it would promote German art and culture. Much of Strauss’s motivation in his conduct during the Third Reich was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren from persecution. Strauss used his considerable influence to prevent them from being sent to concentration camps.

In 1933, Strauss wrote in his private notebook:

I consider the Streicher-Goebbels Jew-baiting as a disgrace to German honour, as evidence of incompetence—the basest weapon of untalented, lazy mediocrity against a higher intelligence and greater talent.

Strauss privately criticized Goebbels and called him “a pipsqueak”. But, in 1933 he dedicated a composition, “Das Bächlein” (“The Little Brook”), to Goebbels, in order to gain Goebbels’s aid in extending German music copyright laws from 30 years to 50 years.

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Strauss defied Nazi bans on performances of works byMendelssohn. Debussy and Mahler.He also continued to work on a comic opera, Die schweigsame Frau, with his Jewish friend and librettist Stefan Zweig. When the opera was premiered in Dresden in 1935, Strauss demanded that Zweig’s name would appear on the theater billing, much to the ire of the Nazi regime. Hitler and Goebbels avoided attending the opera,  it was stopped after 3 performances and subsequently banned by the Nazi regime.

On 17 June 1935, Strauss wrote a letter to Stefan Zweig, in which he stated:

“Do you believe I am ever, in any of my actions, guided by the thought that I am ‘German’? Do you suppose Mozart was consciously ‘Aryan’ when he composed? I recognise only two types of people: those who have talent and those who have none”

This letter to Zweig was intercepted by the Gestapo and forwarded to Adolf Hitler. Richard Strauss was subsequently fired from his post as Reich Music Chamber president in 1935. The 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics however still used Strauss’s Olympische Hymne composed by Strauss in 1934.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-G00372,_Berlin,_XI._Olympiade,_Eröffnung

Much of Strauss’s motivation in dealing with the Nazi regime was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice and his Jewish grandchildren from persecution. Both of his grandsons were bullied at school, but Strauss used his considerable influence to avoid his grandsons and daughter in law being sent to concentration camps.

In 1942, Strauss moved with his family back to Vienna, where Alice and her children could be protected by Baldur von Schirach, the Gauleiter of Vienna, he had been an admirer of Strauss.

Although Alice and her sons survived the war, members of Alice’s immediate family were deported to Terezín in what is now the Czech Republic, and when Strauss’ letters begging for their release fell on deaf ears the composer personally drove to the camp in an attempt to use his influence to get them released. It was futile: not a single one escaped the Nazi concentration camp alive.

I believe he was a victim of circumstances, in order to protect his family and his art he had to sometimes ally himself with the Nazi regime.

Richard Strauss died on 8 September 1949, absolved of any Nazi affiliations.

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Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

RichardStrauss.at

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