Germans find lost track of greatest tenor

Germans find lost track of greatest tenor


norman lebrecht

February 19, 2015

Joseph Schmidt was Berlin’s foremost tenor in 1933, when he was forced as a Jew to emigrate. After settling in France, he was forced to flee once again. He died in Switzerland in 1942 after being held in a refugee camp. He was just 38.

The Nazis wiped many of Schmidts broadcast tapes, but one has just turned up in private hands. Listen, and marvel, right here.





h/t: Basia Jaworski



  • Simon S. says:

    Joseph Schmidt was a great singer and a victim of a crime against humanity – the fact that he actually died due to lack of healthcare in the Swiss refugee camp doesn’t change the fact that this was because of the German persecution of Jews.

    However, calling him Berlin’s foremost tenor in 1933 is only half of the story. He didn’t sing on stage until 1939 in Brussels, as he was only 1.54 m (5 ft, for our anglo-saxon friends) tall. In Berlin, he was only given the chance to sing (though highly acclaimed) in radio productions.

    BTW, Davydivka, his place of birth, the in the remote East of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, is now part of Ukraine.

  • Joe Salerno says:

    I am curious what the recording is made of. I believe it is too early to be a lacquer, but the sound is certainly quite good for the time to be shellac or uncoated aluminum. Could we have a picture of the entire disc in addition to the label?

  • Manfred Gerber says:

    I like to draw everybodies attention to the revised Biographie
    by Alfred A. Fassbind ( Römerhof Verlag, Zürich).
    Mr. Fassbind runs the wonderful Joesph Schmidt Archive
    which has been shown lately in Stuttgat, Munich and Düsseldorf.
    Augsburg will be the next place, sometime in fall 2015.
    Pictures and copies of numerous documents of this archive
    are planned to be exposed in Lemberg ( Lwiw), the City close
    to Joseph Schmidts birthplace.

  • Jens-Uwe Völmecke says:

    The site has been updated. Now there is also a link to the complete musical heritage on Itunes and Spotify:

  • Lyla Rhodes says:

    I implore Mr. Fassbind to write Book in English, You would Sell quite a lot. PLEASE