Some forgotten musical victims

Some forgotten musical victims


norman lebrecht

August 05, 2009

The names and works of the Czech composers who were confined in Terezin and killed in Auschwitz have become widely known – Viktor Ullmann fio his opera Emperor of Atlantis, Pavel Haas for his string quartets, Hans Krasa, Gideon Klein, Ilse Weber (of whom more another time) and others.

Because Terezin was a showcase of Nazi ‘normality’, the works of its prisoners were archived on site and preserved for an unforseen posterity.

In the rest of ocupied Europe, composers suffered total obliteration – so much so that it is extremely hard to call to mind the names of Polish, Dutch, Greek or French musicians who were seized and killed because of their racial origin or political opinions.

An important piece of research has just appeared listing seven Hungarian composers who were exterminated during the short 1944-45 period of Nazi oppression – among them Bartok’s personal copyist, Jeno Deutsch, and the gifted Lazslo Weiner, first husband of Vera Rozsa, who went on to become one of the world’s most successful singing teachers (her pupils include Kiri te Kanawa, Karita Mattila and Anne-Sofie von Otter).

The research, by Agnes Kory, can be read here.

It breaks the silence on another group of the great unheard. Time to dig out their music. 


  • By coincidence, there was a concert august 4th with music by Krasa and Haas @ the Delft Chamber music festival. The broadcast is still on-line:
    After 4’30 an interview with pianist Roger Vignoles starts (in English) and after 18’05 the concert itself starts
    Delft Chamber Music Festival. 1. H. Krasa. Passacaglia & fuga. 2. H. Krasa. Tanec. 3. K. Weill. Songs. 4. P. Haas. Suite for oboe & piano. 5. E. Schulhoff. Sextet. Aviv Quartet.
    Liza Ferschtman, Amihai Grosz, Dmitri Ferschtman, Renata Pokupic, Roger Vignoles, Nicholas Daniel, Lars Anders Tomter, Niclas Altstaedt.
    Rolf den Otter

  • gurdonark says:

    Thank you for pointing out this important information.