More than Eighty years after the passage of Hitler's anti Jewish laws , The Vienna Philharmonic will memorialize sixteen members who were victims of Nazi persecution . https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/23/arts/music/vienna-philharmonic-world-war-ii.html?unlocked_article_code=6Z130bF_htMhE05gDmrqD8Ie_JYmoM3WN4Ni_Shnul6_KbnWQVcrQRuoc9_7xd4wgosKx_QJSMsycOMwqD8Apibev2jJt4vHu9jQN1d8Dzz1V43R4JZVM26VJFCIx0Dk6_HO3trQdIrMvvDMDZgnRFCowyCNWw3i8gOa2Fp-uDqUsirazsIXGDtfE05eI6AOKQnofJejXJ9sSS9jwf6Mh4b0O1jIWThkaeSgLbJSkrCY2HVbhy6BHTjx0AXgOPygTFUJxS_a8qPoFJJ6keEWbzw_XSPqxRRe0S3JFtvW03vF-fol2_Gv2M3R5ct2TDfSIlqzjpA7l-J9PqdsFAaE6fQ5q8v2lbl2bnePTrU&smid=share-url An additional comment - As a young music student in the 1960's ( I play the Bassoon ) I remember Hugo Burghauser , who was at that time the Contrabassoonist at The Metropolitan Opera , here in New York .
Steven - I can't believe that I have never once thought about the fate of the Jewish musicians in the Vienna Philharmonic in the late 30's. If only Rodgers & Hammerstein had written a musical about them. I posted this article to my Facebook feed.
Thanks for posting.
Thank you for sharing the article, steven. I, too, hadn’t ever considered the musicians in Vienna (and no doubt elsewhere) being directly affected by Nazi persecution, especially in a place like Vienna, where I’ve always felt that classical music - and by extension, orchestral musicians - were cherished.
Clearly, someone’s standing and societal value at that time didn’t just consider their contributions, and some victims faired even much worse than others. I also hadn’t been aware of the ongoing program of placing the small brass memorial Stolpersteinen “stumbling stone” labels in front of doorways until my most recent trip to Rome 3 months ago, where many have been inset in the sidewalks around the Ghetto neighborhood, before former Jewish residents’ homes.
I was also surprised to read that the tradition of an annual Vienna New Year’s concert, which PBS has broadcast for many years, and will air at 7:00PM on one of the Denver PBS stations this Sunday evening, dates only to the end of 1939, when World War II had only just been started by the Nazis. Those wonderful performances nowadays had dubious beginnings.
The article ends with “This is a very late apology and a sign of gratitude for their accomplishments.” It’s certainly a meaningful gesture - maybe too little, too late for some, but it is an acknowledgment of the impact on the 16 members.
Cyn , The Nazis went after composers , and conductors as well . Considered " Entarte " ( degenerate ) work they were all fair game . Composers like Mahler , Mendelsohn , Weill , and many others were verboten under Nazi rule . After the death of Hugo Von Hofmannsthal , the composer Richard Strauss began to work with the Jewish writer , Stefan Zweig , Needless to say this created huge problems for both . I was in Salzburg and Vienna this past October for three weeks , and made a steep uphill pilgrimage on The Kapuzinerberg in Salzburg to Zweig's home . The stolpersteinen were there in front of the gate . https://www.stolpersteine-salzburg.at/en/stolperstein/zweig_stefan/ A bit of information on Nazi control of Music ( and art ) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reich_Chamber_of_Music
Estimated Prophet - Rodgers and Hammerstein were keenly aware of bigotry , and it shows clearly in some of their shows " You've Got to Be Taught " from " South Pacific " is a perfect example . I think You will find this interesting , available on Amazon , here is a clip - https://youtu.be/7jFVdlbUqjE
Hitler's favourite composer in operetta was E. Kalman. He allowed him to pass. Goebbel's favourite film director was F. Lang, who was also offered protection. Both these Jewish artists did the right thing by getting out, while the opportunity still availed itself, unlike the main character in the well-known, award winning Austrian film of 1988, "Before the Fall...1938"
Exactly, the racial theme pervades throughout the musical, "South Pacific" in dialogue and song.
Already in 1992 Clemens Hellsberg published a book about the orchestra's past, first to name all the victims. Not much happened then.
In 2011 the discussion about the dark spot in the orchestra's history gained momentum, leading 2013 to have three renowned historians charged with going through all relevant documents buried in the non-public archive of the orchestra.
Eventually these documents as well as the historians' findings and conclusions were made public.
The first link you provided above, steven, about Stefan Zweig and his families, was lengthy and interesting. Histories of others memorialized with brass Stumbling Blocks are also available through that link. It must’ve been meaningful for you to be able to make the steep uphill pilgrimage this fall on your Austria trip.
The second link, also enlightening, describing the Reich Chamber of Music that was created to promote “good German music” and to suppress “degenerate” music like jazz and anything by a Jewish composer, mentions Peter Raabe, who was appointed its president in 1935. But while some were driven out by the Nazis, they wouldn’t let him leave … the article says, “Raabe tried to resign in 1938, but his resignation was not accepted, and he served until the end of the Reich in 1945.” Still, it seems, he fared better than many.
“Postwar Vienna was slow to face wartime atrocities.”
Postwar Vienna IS slow to face wartime atrocities.
There, fixed it.
Postwar Vienna ...
This is not particular for Vienna, it is true for Austria as a whole.
After WWII the doctrine was created, that Austria had been the first victim of Hitler, having been annexed to Germany in 1938. That helped in both ways, namely in achieving the peace treaty in 1955, and in supporting staunch denial of culpability. This became the core tenet of Austria's self-image for more than 40 years.
In 1991 then-chancellor Vranitzky was the first to state in a spectacular speech that a large number of Austrians were not only mere supporters of the Nazi regime and members of the NSDAP party, but had been actively complicit in war crimes and atrocities. Consequently, Austria has the duty to admit its guilt, and has to rework its narrative of the past, which, incidentally, happened in Germany decades earlier.
In 1993 Vranitzky gave a speech at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on the occasion of his trip to Israel and asked the victims of the Austrian perpetrators for forgiveness on behalf of the Republic of Austria. This gave the death blow to the myth of Austria being a victim.
After visiting Berlin last year, I was struck by how remarkably well the government has openly come to terms with its history by memorializing dark city locations such as one of the buildings behind a bus stop I was waiting at. In English and German a sign showed photos of the building- mostly unchanged since Hitler’s 12-year reign of terror— and explained it was the Gestapo’s interrogation center and often was the first stop for the unfortunate souls rounded up and brought in for questioning. There were many of these history lessons around Berlin, to the credit of the German people who know those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
During my first trip to Austria years ago I visited a flea market and saw a seller at his booth selling WW2 memorabilia and historic bric-a-brac. As I got closer to his table, I saw a shocking sight that froze me in place. Sitting on the table amidst all his junk was a bust of Adolf Hitler- on display in full view of the public.
Last year when I returned to Vienna I went to City Park with all its statues of the great composers the city has been privileged over the centuries to have had as its residents. Many of them—such as Gustav Mahler, Felix Mendelssohn and Johann Strauss— were of Jewish ancestry.
Just a block away, in a square named after one of Vienna’s mayors is an oversized statue dedicated to “Dr Karl Lueger,” who was the mayor of Vienna from 1897-1910.
Karl Lueger was one of the most anti-Semitic Austrian politicians who freely espoused his poisonous rhetoric . “He was one of the greatest German mayors of all time,” is how Hitler himself described Lueger.
Shocked again in Vienna at the sight of the statue, large red words were written several times on Lueger’s memorial: “Schande! Schande! Schande!”
“Shame! Shame! Shame!” Is what someone wrote on Mr. Mayor’s image.
It seems instead of removing the statue, the city just tried to remove the graffiti protesting its presence.
And every time the city did, the words “Schande” “Schande!” “Schande!” just kept reappearing on it —in red letters, in green letters, in yellow letters and in black letters— within days of the words being erased.
I do not know what today’s status is of “Dr. Karl Lueger Platz” and his obscene statue. But it does seem as though Austria has a long way to go before facing and coming to terms with its history.
Kenko , If you are unfamiliar with this book, it probably would be something you would find interesting. A seminal analysis of Fin de Siècle Vienna, the essay entitled " Politics in a New Key ; An Austrian Trio " is most telling - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fin-de-si%C3%A8cle_Vienna
In Vienna there are 2 statues of Lueger, obviously at different areas of the city. I 've seen them both..
@Steven, Thank you for the reference to that interesting publication. The art by Klimt on the cover is
The Austrians learned the arrogance from the French in general, and Charles de Gaulle specifically:
"contrary to the myth, the French Resistance didn't rise up after D-Day, June 6, 1944, to attack Germans behind the front lines. Sabotage of the Nazi war machine was minimal. Only about 5 percent of the French were even nominally members of the underground. Of these, scarcely any ever fired a shot in anger, dynamited a train or sent a clandestine radio message."
Kenko , You're welcome . The book comprises seven essays which can all be read independently and/or out of order . Two other points - The essay on Klimt and his work spans the various periods of his output , but focuses on the artistic and political scandal surrounding The University Ceiling Paintings . Read this and you will see his work in a way you never have before . Also , if you listen to music , the very opening of the first essay is an allegorical analysis of Ravel's " La Valse " , depicting the collapse of the nineteenth century world . The music here , about fifteen minutes - https://youtu.be/biJw2Eu2JXI
On De Gaulle:
In 2003 on the way back from Dijon to northern France, I had the chance to see De Gaulle's house, grave site , etc. located in the small town of Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises.
Naturally, we made a stop there to see this singularly unique historical site along with the lovely view. I had thought that his grave site was located closer to Paris, but luckily the other French passengers recognised the name of this town and knew of its historical significance. All in all, thanks to them I saw De Gaulle's home and the family cemetery.
Actually steven, I was thinking about The Sound of Music, and that an equally compelling Austria/Anschluss-based musical could have been written about the musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic.