Coco, the jazzman from Auschwitz

Our partners at Ullstein have been following one of the great survivors:
Heinz Jakob „ Coco“ Schumann – is a German Jazz musician who survived the Holocaust. He was born at May 14, 1924 in Berlin. He was the son of a Christian father and a Jewish mother. Coco Schumann stayed in Berlin for the first 10 years of Nazi rule. He refused to wear a yellow star and to limit his activities to those deemed suitable by the Nazis. Coco Schumann made a name for himself in Berlin’s underground jazz scene. In 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo and deported to the concentration camps – Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Dachau. At the camp Theresienstadt he had begun playing in a band known informally as “The Ghetto Swingers.” Following his transfer to Auschwitz in September 1944, he played songs such as “La Paloma” for the German guards during an approximately five-month stay in the camp, while they murdered thousands of innocent Jews, ethnic Poles, Roma, gays and others. 

Schumann was saved from the gas chambers of Auschwitz because a guard who was charged with sorting out new arrivals recognized him from Berlin’s jazz scene and placed him in a Roma musical group.

In the 1990s he has founded the “Coco Schumann Quartett“ playing Swing and Jazz. He is living in Berlin.

(Read more here).

coco schumann

share this

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
>