Schoenberg’s grandson: Let’s not make the same mistake again

Schoenberg’s grandson: Let’s not make the same mistake again


norman lebrecht

November 20, 2015

E. Randol Schoenberg, president of the L.A. Museum of the Holocaust, and the real-life hero of Helen Mirren’s film Woman in Gold, has been speaking to the Los Angeles Times about Congress slamming the doors on Syrian refugees:

‘Obviously, many Americans in 1943 felt the same as many do today — that we cannot risk admitting enemy agents among the throng of refugees… During World War II, this type of fear meant that millions of honest, innocent people were unable to escape their murderers. I hope we don’t make the same mistake again.’

schoenberg chaplin
Charles Chaplin in LA with refugee Arnold Schoenberg


  • Itsjtime says:

    It seems as though this age of information has led us right back into the great casm of uncertainty.

    For anyone who thinks this war started in The 7th century they must evaluate history once more. Since nearly the dawn of civilization, our legacy as Homo sapiens is marred by this ubiquitous, ridiculous argument about who’s lord and savior has a more prodigious crotch and is able to urinate further.
    And that is all….have a nice weekend.

  • Spaghettimonster says:

    Yes, yes, yes. And beyond the devastatingly obvious stupidity of man, incapable to learn from history, we also face the unbearable irony, that that very country, that bears about 90% of the responsibility for the current misery and turmoil in the middle east in the first place, the US of A, will not AT LEAST partially shoulder the results of their failed policies in the Middle East after WWII until today.

    In a fair world, the USA would have to take ALL refugees from those countries it destabilized. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan…

    • John Borstlap says:

      Talking about not learning from history. Were Irak, Lybia, Syria, Afghanistan so stable before hell broke loose? That hell has its causes under the lid of former regimes.

      • Eddie Mars says:

        Somehow I don’t remember the columns of refugees or the concert-venue shootings before ‘regime change’ became fashionable.

        • Scott Fields says:

          There were certainly refugees from Saddam. Some of them are my colleagues. And Bahai needed to flee Iran after the theocracy took control. Streams of refugees weren’t formed only because streams weren’t possible.

          This isn’t to say that the USA hasn’t made a mess of the Middle East. It has.

  • Holger H. says:

    The difference between back then and today is: The USA was not responsible for the holocaust, but the USA is the main culprit for the current devastation and refugees crisis in the Middle East.

    The US public of course is mostly ignorant to this, but have they ever been informed about anything outside of their borders?

    • Greg Hlatky says:

      “We did this because our holy texts exhort us to to do it.”

      “No you didn’t.”

      “Wait, what? Yes we did…”

      “No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons.”

      “WHAT!? Did you even read our official statement? We give explicit Quranic justification. This is jihad, a holy crusade against pagans, blasphemers, and disbelievers.”

      “No, this is definitely not a Muslim thing. You guys are not true Muslims, and you defame a great religion by saying so.”

      “Huh!? Who are you to tell us we’re not true Muslims!? Islam is literally at the core of everything we do, and we have implemented the truest most literal and honest interpretation of its founding texts. It is our very reason for being.”

      “Nope. We created you. We installed a social and economic system that alienates and disenfranchises you, and that’s why you did this. We’re sorry.”

      “What? Why are you apologizing? We just slaughtered you mercilessly in the streets. We targeted unwitting civilians – disenfranchisement doesn’t even enter into it!”

      “Listen, it’s our fault. We don’t blame you for feeling unwelcome and lashing out.”

      “Seriously, stop taking credit for this! We worked really hard to pull this off, and we’re not going to let you take it away from us.”

      “No, we nourished your extremism. We accept full blame.”

      “OMG, how many people do we have to kill around here to finally get our message across?”

    • B Bailey says:

      The U.S. takes in more refugees and provides more aid than any other country in the world. As to Mr. Schoenberg’s remarks, I’m not aware that any, even one, jewish refugee in the 30s was regarded as a terrorist threat.

  • Itsjtime says:

    Dear Holger H…What’s with your anger? Your virulence is but another drop in the pool of human suffering,
    So I say this to you with a wink… There is very strong probably that you are an idiot.

  • T. Manor says:

    No one is “slamming the door” on anyone without good reason in the US because there are too many laws to prevent such reactions. However, I honestly thought that the new regulations implemented by congress were already standard procedure. I was shocked to hear that wasn’t the case.

  • Rick says:

    Is Schoenberg’s grandson the ultimate authority when it comes to geopolitical issues?

    For some of us, there are other considerations besides moral exhibitionism. Mr. Schoenberg does not seem to grasp that Islam is at war with the non-Islamic world and will happily conquer by any means available, including surging demographics and using so-called refugees as cover for jihadists.

    Our culture and people do not have to roll over and expose themselves to Islamic takeover to please Mr. Schoenberg’s politically correct naivete.

    • William Safford says:

      Islam is not at war with the non-Islamic world.

      The so-called Islamic State is.

      Kudos to Mr. Schoenberg for bearing witness.

  • M2N2K says:

    With all due respect, Randy, you are comparing apples and – no, not oranges – more like lemons.

  • harold braun says:

    My dad,and,thanks god,most of his family found refuge in the US in 1939,Jewish refugees from Hitler. He is 90 now. He is notalone in stating that radical Islam is the biggest threat to western civilization since Hitler, and especially the Jews. We never tried to promote our religion there, didn’t oppose the independence from church and state, or equality of men and women. We became good American citizens…. So, not much in common between the situation today and then.

  • Jason says:

    I read “refugee Arnold Schoenberg”.
    Yes, the man was a refugee, because of his crappy music.

    And then he comes to the USA and is accepted for musical teaching posts???
    The man who cannot compose to safe his life???
    You’ve got to be kidding.

    (His first teaching position: Malkin Conservatory in Boston. Then University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, both of which later named a music building on their respective campuses Schoenberg Hall).

    Honestly: You’ve got to be kidding.