A memorial to Stockhausen’s mother, murdered by the Nazis

A memorial to Stockhausen’s mother, murdered by the Nazis


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2014

Gertrud Stockhausen suffered from depression during her marriage, attempted suicide and was hospitalised in a mental institution. On May 27 1941 she was taken with 89 other patients to the killing centre Hadamar, in Hesse-Nassau.

Early next month, a memorial plaque will be set into the ground outside the house where the Stockhausen family lived in Bärbroich.

Here’s an informative press release (auf Deutsch). Much of the research into Gertrud’s life and death was conducted by a schoolgirl, Lisa Quernes from the Landesmusikgymnasium in Montabaur

stockhausen mother


  • LF says:

    Thats only half of Stockhausens horrible heritage. Concerning his fathers side Mary Bauermeister, the other women in Stockhausens “Ménage à trois” in her book „Ich hänge im Triolengitter“ mentions how Stockhausen as an adolescent toward the end of the war had to listen to the confession of his father Simon Stockhausen, an elementary school teacher about his war crimes on the Eastern front. While I do not really understand Stockhausens music I readily understand that he had to break with any traditions of German culture. And why Mary Bauermeister and Stockhausen named their son Simon remains an enigma.

  • Brian says:

    Herr Stockhausen spoke his admiring memorial to hate and evil some years ago about 9/11, “, Mr. Stockhausen, 73, called the attack on the World Trade Center ”the greatest work of art that is possible in the whole cosmos.” Extending the analogy, he spoke of human minds achieving ”something in one act” that ”we couldn’t even dream of in music,” in which ”people practice like crazy for 10 years, totally fanatically, for a concert, and then die.” Just imagine, he added: ”You have people who are so concentrated on one performance, and then 5,000 people are dispatched into eternity, in a single moment. I couldn’t do that. In comparison with that, we’re nothing as composers.”

    • Gary says:

      How about more of the quote:

      Well, what happened there is, of course—now all of you must adjust your brains—the biggest work of art there has ever been. The fact that spirits achieve with one act something which we in music could never dream of, that people practise ten years madly, fanatically for a concert. And then die. [Hesitantly.] And that is the greatest work of art that exists for the whole Cosmos. Just imagine what happened there. There are people who are so concentrated on this single performance, and then five thousand people are driven to Resurrection. In one moment. I couldn’t do that. Compared to that, we are nothing, as composers. […] It is a crime, you know of course, because the people did not agree to it. They did not come to the “concert”. That is obvious. And nobody had told them: “You could be killed in the process.”

  • Mark says:

    Suzanne Stephens is currently writing a new biography of the composer to redress a lot of his former wife’s assertions in that book.

    ==While I do not really understand Stockhausens music..

    Keep trying, LF ! It’s fantastic when you get it.

  • ruben greenberg says:

    It’s a wonder that Stochausen was as semi-lucid as he was, given what he experienced as a child. His “table-rase” musical philosophy becomes more understandable when one becomes aware of some of these biographical details.

    • But of course. The entire postwar ‘avantgarde’ movement in music was born from trauma. Wolfgang-Andreas Schultz has already analysed that in his essay ‘Avantgarde und Trauma’ in Lettre International, Winter issue 2005. The entire mythology of ‘progress’, ‘Materialforschung’, etc. etc. is based upon denial of an age-long tradition, as if this tradition had caused two world wars. In his writings, which are fundamentally absurd, Stockhausen never mentions the existence of a musical past. The same with Xenakis, Boulez, etc. etc.: pretentious quasi-scientific writing and not the slightest understanding of musical culture. There is nothing wrong with creating a new art form but the crazy thing was that it was presented as art music, and attempted to occupy a place in the cultural field that was not suited to it.

      Interestingly, in the Anglo-Saxon world figurative painting and tonal music simply went on to be created alongside modernist movements, and both were and are considered acceptable. On the European continent however, where occupation had created so much havoc, figurative painting and tonal music were considered tainted with ‘collaboration’ because Goehring collected Rubens, and HItler loved Wagner and Bruckner, and Strauss had a short flirt with the nazi regime (which ended in disaster). Hitler was also a vegetarian but nobody complains about that. But postwar modernism was seen as a liberation from a decadent culture, and figurative painting and tonal music were suppressed by the establishment, while modernist norms eventually ended-up as established norms of art, which they are not.

    • This is merely a nonsense book by a marxist fanatic who could only see class struggle in the world. I seem to rememebr that he was a communist and adored Mao, as such people always love perpetrators of genocide.