When music and politics collide.

Vienna Philharmonic

Music is one of my biggest passions, it has helped mte through many tragedies in my life and it still plays a very important part in my life.

Something that worries me is when music is used for political reasons or when musicians make political statements. They are of course entitled to have political views but they have to remember that they are on a platform, where they can reach many of their fans. They have to be very careful in relation to what political ideology they subscribe. Mostly they mean well and want to use the influence they have to get a message across, but it can backfire on them and it may actually damage their careers. They could even be accused of hypocrisy . I remember a few years ago a well known rock star decided not to have a concert in a city in the US because they could not provide all facilities requested by the LGBT community. However this same rock star had no difficulties touring in countries where gay men were executed for having sexual relations with other men.

Throughout history there have been cases where politics were used to influence music and vice versa with devastating effect.

On 23 March 1938, the violinist Viktor Robitsek received a notification from the management of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra, telling him he was fired. viktorThis was not because he was a bad violinist, in fact he was one of the best in Austria, he was fired for being Jewish. He had served 35 years with the Orchestra devoting his life to his art and the orchestra.

He had Joined the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic on November 11, 1902. On Mar 23, 1938 he was told that his services were no longer required. Discarded as a disposable piece of material.

Robitsek was Deported on October 28, 1941 together with his wife, Elsa Robitsek), from Vienna to Litzmannstadt, where he was murdered on June 1942.

On March 12,1938 11 days before Robitsek was sacked from the orchestra er Hitler’s troops  had  marched in to Austria and were  met with no resistance, The Anschluss was welcomed by most Austrians.

anschluss

Many already had become members of the Nazi party, among them a few dozen musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Viktor Rubinek was not the only Jewish musician to be fired, most of the  Jewish musicians were sacked from the orchestra.

A total of seven members of the Philharmonic were killed,

Murdered after Deportation:

1. Moriz Glattauer (Violin I)
2. Viktor Robitsek (Violin II)
3. Max Starkmann (Violin I, Viola)
4. Julius Stwertka (Concertmaster, Violin I)
5. Armin Tyroler (Oboe II)

Philharmonic Members who died in Vienna:
6. Anton Weiss (Violin I, section leader)
7. Paul Fischer (Violin I)

In 1938, thirteen active musicians were expelled from the Association of the Vienna
Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. Three additional retired members of the Philharmonic also fell victim to the Holocaust.

The violinist Moriz Glattauer was deported together with his wife, Anna, to Theresienstadt on July 14, 1942. He died there on February 2, 1943. His wife Anna Glattauer was transferred to Auschwitz on May 15, 1944 although it is not entirely clear how she died, she more then llikely was killed in the Gas chambers.

None of the fellow musicians did anything to safe their colleagues, some whom they had performed with for decades,instead they signed up to the Nazi political ideology. They had allowed their music to collide with politics, Not only had this evil infiltrated this evil their lives it alsi tainted their art forever.

 

The Vienna Philharmonic orchestra is just one example but there were many other orchestras and musical institutions across the world  who treated their Jewish colleagues in a similar way

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Sources

https://www.wienerphilharmoniker.at/orchestra/history/national-socialism

The Guardian

 

Hermine Santruschitz aka Miep Gies

Miep

The name Hermine Santruschitz will mean very little to most, however the name Miep Gies is a well known name, a name which would forever be linked to a teenage diarist called Anne Frank.

Miep Gies born  Hermine Santruschitz would have celebrated her 110th birthday today, she did not get that old but she still reached the age of 100.

She was born in Vienna on February 15,1909.Her parents Mathias and Genofeva (née Jakuschitz) Santruschitz sent her to Leiden in the Netherlands in 1920. Austria was stil suffering the consequences of World War 1, there were a lot of shortages including food.

The Netherlands had remained neutral during WWI and was reasonably affluent. Hermine was sent to The Nieuwenburg family, consisting of 2 parents and 5 children. The The Nieuwenburg family initially agreed to take Hermine in foster care for 6 months, but due to bad health this was extended to one year. In that time Hermine got very attached to the family and the decision was made for Hermine to remain with the family. They called her by the shortened version of her name Miep.

In 1922 Miep moved with her foster family to Amsterdam.Miep was a bright student and after  graduating high school she got a job as an accountant.

In 1933, Otto Frank had been appointed Managing Director of Opekta, a German company which had expanded into the Netherlands.

Jam

In need of a secretary the Dutch branch, headed by Otto Frank hired Miep in 1933.

In 1933 Miep gad also met Jan Gies but due the fact that Jan had to go into the Dutch Social Services, the couple didn’t meet socially again until 1936.

Jan and Miep became close friends yo the Frank family. Shortly after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Miep was urged to  to join a Nazi women’s group. But she refused to do so, because of this threatened with deportation back to Vienna. Jan and Miep decided to get married, this would secure Miep’s residence in the Netherlands. They got married  in Amsterdam on 16 July 1941, The Frank family was in attendance at the wedding.

Frank

Less than a year later the lives of both the Frank and the Gies family would change forever. All of them faced death , the Frank’s simply because they were Jewish, Miep en Jan Gies for helping the Frank , the Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer , hide.

The fate of all those hiding in that little secret annex in an office in Amsterdam is well documented

Miep died on January 11,2010 aged 100.

An unassuming, immigrant foster child who became an icon for heroism.

 

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Freud’s sisters.

freud

When you think of psychiatry one of the names you think of first is Sigmund Freud. A controversial but a successful Austrian Jewish neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, who created an entirely new approach to the understanding of the human personality.

Although his work will have saved many from mental health issues, he was not able to save some of his own family. Some of them were plagued by mental health.

Sigmund Freud died on September 23,1939 he had been able to escape the claws of the Nazi regime, 4 of his sisters were not so lucky.

Regina Debora aka Rosa

Rosa had  married a lawyer, Heinrich Graf . They had one  son, Hermann  who was killed in the First World War; their only daughter, Cacilie , committed suicide in 1922 after an unhappy love affair. Rosa was killed in Treblinka in 1943.

Marie aka Mitzi

Mitzi married her cousin Moritz Freud . They had three daughters: Margarethe (, Lily , Martha and one son, Theodor  who died in a drowning accident. Martha, took er own life after her husband committed suicide.Mitzi was killed in Treblinka in 1942

Esther Adolfine  aka Dolfi

Dolfi never married  and stayed in the family home to care for her parents. She died in Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943.

Pauline Regine aka Pauli

Pauli married Valentine Winternitz  and emigrated to the United States where their daughter Rose Beatrice (1896–1969) was born. After the death of her husband she and her daughter returned to Europe. Pauli was killed in Treblinka in 1942

Anna

Anna was the only sister who survived the Holocaust

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Postcard from Dachau

Postcard

Receiving a post card is always a nice event. Be it for your birthday, or a card from someone on their holiday, or a seasons greeting , or just someone keeping in touch.

It is like getting a present which has emotional rather then a monetary value. And often  you want to repay this act of kindness, by also sending something back, maybe a parcel or a magazine or just another card.

But what if the card comes from one of the most desperate places on earth, and what if there are a whole set of rule to take in consideration before you can send anything. What if the card was received from Dachau?

I can’t read the name of the sender clearly but I believe the sender was Joh. Messinger Ludwig in Block 20 and the addressee was Ignaz Messinger from Vienna.

It may look like an ordinary card but there is so much more to this simple piece of thick paper. To the addressee it is a sign of life of the person who sent it to him. It is also an indication that the life in Dachau was in total control of those who ran the camp.

On the left side of the card is a set of rules for correspondence to inmates in the camp.

  1. Every inmate can only receive or send 2 letters or cards per month to relatives. The letter send to the inmates must be clearly legible and should be written in ink and can only be 15 lines or less.Allowed is only one letterhead of normal size.Envelopes have to be unlined.A letter can only be stamped with 5 stamps of 12 pfennig.Everything else is forbidden and will be subjected to confiscation. Postcards can only have 10 lines, photographs are not permitted to be used as postcards.
  2. Sending money is allowed
  3. Newspapers are allowed but can only be ordered via the post office of the Concentration Camp Dachau.
  4. Parcels are not allowed. Inmates are able to but everything they need in the camp.
  5. Requests to the camp management  for inmates to be released are futile.
  6. Permission to speak and visits from prisoners of the Concentration camp is fundamentally forbidden.

All post which does not adhere to these rules will be destroyed.

 

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The Buchenwald Song and the brutal murder of the man who wrote it.

Song

Fritz Löhner-Beda was  an  Austrian born Jewish librettist, lyricist and writer. Born Wildenschwert, Bohemia but he grew up in one of Europe’s most cultural cities,Vienna. Alas Vienna’s culture was to become tainted to a degree.

In the 1920s, Löhner-Beda became one of the most popular and  sought-after librettists and lyricists in Vienna. This popularity though meant nothing on April 1,1938, less then 3 weeks after the Anschluss, (annexation of Austria by the Nazis).

AH ANSCHLUSS

On April 1, 1938 Löhner-Beda was arrested and deported to Dachau concentration camp.His Viennese neighbors and fan base did very little to help him.Just over 5 months later on September 23 1938 he was deported to Buchenwald.

While in Buchenwald, at the end of 1938, he wrote Das Buchenwald lied(the Buchenwald song) together with Hermann Leopoldi an Austrian born Jewish composer. Below is the text to the chorus of the song

“O Buchenwald, ich kann dich nicht vergessen,
weil du mein Schicksal bist.
Wer dich verließ, der kann es erst ermessen,
wie wundervoll die Freiheit ist!
O Buchenwald, wir jammern nicht und klagen,
und was auch unser Schicksal sei,
wir wollen trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen,
denn einmal kommt der Tag, dann sind wir frei!”

English Translation:

“O Buchenwald, I cannot forget you,
because you are my fate.
Only he who leaves you can appreciate
how wonderful freedom is!
O Buchenwald, we don’t cry and complain;
and whatever our destiny may be,
we nevertheless shall say ‘yes’ to life:
for once the day comes, we shall be free!”

Viktor Frankl used the line “trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen”(nevertheless shall say ‘yes’ to life) as the German title for his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”. written in 1946.

ja zum leben

On October 17, 1942,  Löhner-Beda was deported to the Monowitz concentration camp, a sub-camp of Auschwitz. The SS established the camp in October 1942 at the behest of I.G. Farben executives to provide slave labor for their Buna Werke (Buna Works) industrial complex.

monowitz

On December 4,1942 Fritz Löhner-Beda had already been ill. he was accused of not working hard enough. Because of this he was beaten to death by a Kapo. Just imagine that, beaten to death that is a different kind of evil. I know the Kapo’s were forced to do bad things in order to survive themselves, but beating someone to death that takes a particular kind of person.

So many people were killed during the Holocaust but with that also so much cultural heritage has vanished.

Fritz Löhner-Beda could have contributed so much more for the betterment of humankind.Who knows how many classic songs he could have written, or how many more award winning plays and screenplays. His death didn’t only end his life it also deprived the world of a great artist.

Fritz

Ending this blog with a version of the song and one more time the line “we nevertheless shall say ‘yes’ to life” Let’s do that , let us all say yes to life despite whatever comes our way, We owe to Fritz and to ourselves.

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Vienna 1913-Café Central

Wien

Vienna in 1913 was a vibrant cultural city. It was one of Europe’s power houses.Needless to say it attracted people from all over the continent and indeed the world.

Not was it only known for its musical heritage it was also known for its many fine coffee houses. today Viennese coffee is still enjoyed by many coffee drinkers, including myself, for it really is a treat.

One of Vienna’s coffee houses has made a special mark on history. Café Central.It was a place frequented by many of Vienna’s intellectuals and artists. It also had the nickname “Die Schachhochschule” or the Chess High school in English,because of the presence of many chess players who used the first floor for their games.

central

For a brief period in 1913 it was regularly frequented by guests who made an enormous impact on the planet’s history. In January 1913 , Adolf Hitler,Josip Broz Tito, Sigmund Freud, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky were guests of the Coffee house. There is a very good chance that at one stage they all were there at the same time.

Leon Trotzky was the editor of the newspaper Pravda at the time, he wrote about an encounter he had in the café with a man called Stavros Papadopoulos. He wrote:

“I was sitting at the table,when the door opened with a knock and an unknown man entered.He was short… thin… his greyish-brown skin covered in pockmarks… I saw nothing in his eyes that resembled friendliness.”

Stavros Papadopoulos was not the real name of the man, he had been born as Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, but in later life was known as Josef Stalin.

centra cafe

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I am passionate about my site and I know a 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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Source

BBC

 

Hubert Butler-Ireland’s Holocaust Hero

image

Hubert Marshal Butler (2 October 1900 – 5 January 1991) was an Irish essayist who wrote on a wide range of topics, from local history and archaeology to the political and religious affairs of eastern Europe before and during World War II, he also traveled to Nazi Austria on his own initiative and at his own expense and helped save Jewish people from being sent to concentration camps.

Hubert Marshal Butler was born on October 2, 1900 at the family home of Maiden Hall, near to the village of Bennettsbridge in Co. Kilkenny.Butler would later go on to gain a place at St John’s College, Oxford, from where he would graduate in 1922 with a degree in Classics.

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After working for the Irish County Libraries, under the famed Sir Horace Plunkett, for four years, Butler travelled throughout inter-war Europe.

Butler was deeply disturbed by some of the anti-Semitic sentiment found in Ireland prior to World War Two, particularly that of Fine Gael politician Oliver J. Flanagan.In a 1938 Dáil (Irish Parliament)speech, Flanagan said: “They (the Jews) crucified our Saviour 1,900 years ago and they have been crucifying us every day of the week.”

oli

In response, Butler proclaimed: “I was as Irish as Oliver Flanagan and I was determined that Jewish refugees should come to Ireland.”

On the eve of the war, Butler moved to Nazi Austria to attempt to secure visas to Ireland for persecuted Jews.Working with both the Irish and American Quakers, he offered Jews safe passage to Ireland before helping them settle in the Americas.

hubert_butler_2

On the night of September 16th, 1938, a man called Erwin Strunz received a phone call at his flat in Vienna. The caller, a friend who had joined the Nazi party, warned Strunz that he had been chosen for deportation to the Dachau concentration camp. Strunz was a journalist and former trade-union official. He had also married a Jewish woman and converted to Judaism, making him especially obnoxious to the Nazis. His friend warned him that he would be taken away in two days’ time. Strunz turned for help to the great Irish essayist Hubert Butler. The latter had gone to Vienna entirely on his own initiative and at his own expense to do whatever he could to rescue Jews from the Nazis.

The exact number of Jews Butler saved from persecution and extermination is not agreed upon, but he certainly smuggled scores of people to safety.Butler’s daughter Julia recalled the family home in Bennettsbridge as always being full of refugees passing through.

quote-goodness-often-blossoms-like-roses-on-very-rickety-trellis-work-and-beauty-can-grow-hubert-butler-102-61-76

Butler attended the Evian international conference on the plight of Jewish refugees in July 1938 and was sickened by the attitudes of the Irish delegation, one member of which said to him: “Didn’t we suffer like this in the Penal days and nobody came to our help?”

Lord Winterton Addressing a Conference Delegates

This was not mere individual idiocy. The Department of Justice delegated power over refugees to a body called the Irish Co-ordinating Committee for the Relief of Christian Refugees. The rule adopted was that only Jews who had converted to Christianity should be allowed to settle in Ireland. This committee was given the power to vet applications to settle in Ireland made by European Jews.

It is thus almost certain that Erwin Strunz, and his wife and two children, would never have been allowed into Ireland. When Strunz turned desperately to Butler for help, Butler and his wife, Peggy Guthrie, got the family out of Vienna to London and then to Peggy’s family home in Annaghmakerrig, Co Monaghan (now the Tyrone Guthrie Centre).

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The Strunz family subsequently settled in Ardmore, Co Waterford. In December 1938 Strunz was interviewed by the Cork Examiner and warned of what was happening in the concentration camps: “Life in these camps is terrible,” she said, “and the people there are treated like beasts.”

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Such warnings had little effect on policy, but Butler and Guthrie, working with Irish Quakers and with the American Quaker Emma Cadbury, continued to operate what was in effect a parallel Irish refugee policy. They secured exit visas for dozen of Jews to escape from Vienna, brought them to Ireland and, as they could not stay here, helped them to settle in the Americas.

After giving a broadcast talk in 1947 about Yugoslavia he was publicly criticised for failing to mention the alleged suffering of Catholics under Josip Broz Tito’s regime.

josip_broz_tito_uniform_portrait

He responded by trying to draw attention to another matter he had avoided in his radio talk, and which he saw as a greater scandal: the involvement of Catholic clergy with the Ustaša, a Nazi-installed puppet regime that had waged a genocidal crusade against non-Catholics in part of Yugoslavia during World War II.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/06/16/ustase-the-fascists-that-made-the-nazis-look-like-boyscouts/

Butler’s efforts in this respect earned him notoriety and public opprobrium in clerical Ireland to the extent that he felt obliged to leave the archaeological society he had played a big part in reviving.

Butler was a keen market gardener as well as a writer and his circle of friends included the Mary Poppins creator Pamela Travers, the journalist Claud Cockburn, and the poet Padraic Colum. He believed strongly in the importance of the family and, as well as playing an active role in keeping his own extended family in touch, he was the founder of the Butler Society.

He is buried five miles from the family home at St. Peter’s Church, Ennisnag, Kilkenny. The Kilkenny Art Gallery Society’s Butler Gallery in Kilkenny Castle was named in honor of Hubert and Peggy.

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