David Beigelman (1887–1945) was a Polish violinist, orchestra leader, and composer of Yiddish songs. In the Łódź ghetto established a small theatre where he composed prolifically and wrote his own lyrics.
Throughout WWII, composer Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963) withdrew from German musical life, prohibiting his own music and half-poisoning himself to ensure he was unfit for conscription. His music was denigrated as atonal and degenerate.
Marxist composer Hanns Eisler (1898-1962) was in Vienna in January 1933 when Hitler became German Chancellor. Eisler stayed true to his Communist ideals, fleeing Nazi Germany in the 1930s and America in the 1940s.
Dame Julia Myra Hess, DBE (1890-1965) was an English pianist, best known for her performances of the works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schumann. During WWII, she put on concerts at the National Gallery to raise morale.
Ukrainian composer, musicologist and editor Leopold Spinner (1906-1980) escaped Nazi persecution in 1938. In England he worked in a train factory before joining Boosey & Hawkes in 1947, eventually as chief editor, focusing on Stravinsky.
The 2nd symphony of Swiss composer Arthur Honegger (1892-1955) was performed in Apr 1944 by the Boyd Neel Orchestra, the score received on microfilm by parachute from France.
Composer and conductor Andrzej Panufnik (1914-1991) was an anti-Nazi. He left his studies when Austria was annexed and performed in cafes with Witold Lutosławksi, composing resistance songs and raising money for the resistance and Jewish artists.
After the Anschluss in 1938, Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) was named the greatest living composer in the Ostmark by the Nazis. At the premiere of his Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln, it was reported that Schmidt made a Nazi salute.
Varian Fry (1907-1967) was an American journalist who ran a rescue network in Vichy France that helped approximately 2,000 to 4,000 anti-Nazi and Jewish refugees to escape Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.
Pianist Karlrobert Kreiten (1916-1943) was overheard saying Hitler was ‘brutal, sick and insane,’ by a Nazi sympathiser. He was executed by hanging. The day after his execution, his mother discovered her clemency plea had been accepted.
The prolific Soviet composer Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996) wrote 22 symphonies, 17 string quartets, 7 operas, 6 concertos, 3 ballets, 30 sonatas and more than 200 songs as well as 60 film scores and incidental music for theatre and circus.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1965) was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.
Mikhail Fabianovich Gnessin was a Russian Jewish composer and teacher. Gnessin's works "The Maccabeans" and "The Youth of Abraham" earned him the nickname the "Jewish Glinka".
Marie Magdalene "Marlene" Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer. Throughout her long career, which spanned from the 1910s to the 1980s, she continually reinvented herself. In 1920s Berlin, Dietrich acted on the stage and in silent films.
Austrian-born British musicologist and music critic Hans Keller (1919-1985), who made significant contributions to musicology and music criticism, was arrested by the Nazis and forced to leave Austria following the Anschluss in 1938.
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was a Hungarian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century. He refused to perform in Germany after 1933.
Jack Hylton (1892-1965) and his band made regular tours in Germany during the 30s when Nazis were banning jazz music. During WWII, Jack Hylton and His Orchestra disbanded, having out-sold every other band in Europe.
Clemens Heinrich Krauss (1893-1954) was an Austrian conductor and opera impresario, particularly associated with the music of Richard Strauss. Called ‘the most powerful man in German opera,’ and a ‘culture leader’, his career advanced significantly under the Nazi regime.
Wilhelm Rettich was a German Jewish composer, conductor and teacher. He fled Germany for the Netherlands in 1933 and survived the Nazi occupation by hiding alone in a cellar and composing music. Although not particularly well known today, his music is highly regarded.
Richard Fuchs was a German Jewish architect, artist and composer who founded the Baden-Wurttenberg branch of the Jüdischer Kulturbund. Fuchs was interned in Dachau before escaping to New Zealand after Kristallnacht in 1938.
Composer and music critic Walter Arlen found fame when his compositions were first performed in 2008. He escaped from Nazi persecution in 1939 and is described as the 'quintessential exile composer'.
Alexander Zemlinsky (1871-1942) was an Austrian composer, conductor and teacher. He fled Germany in 1933 reaching the US in 1938, but he did not flourish and he was almost forgotten.
Composer Boris Blacher (1903-1975) studied music in Irkutsk, Siberia and Harbin, China, before going to Berlin in 1922. There he studied and taught before falling out of favour with the Nazis due the fact he was one quarter Jewish.
Jan van Gilse (1881-1944) a Dutch composer and conductor, began serving as director of the Utrecht Conservatory in 1933, a post he accepted upon leaving Berlin after the rise of the Nazi regime.
Petr Eben (1929-2007) was a prolific Czech composer who suffered under both Nazi and Stalinist regimes. He was imprisoned in Buchenwald as a teenager.
Leopold "Leo" Smit was a Dutch composer. In April 1943 he and his wife were transported to Westerbork and soon after they were killed in Sobibor.
Polish violinist Bronisław Huberman (1882-1947) helped to save an estimated 1000 lives during the Holocaust through the foundation of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra.
David (1914-1996), Toni (1916-2006) and Rosi Grunschlag (1922-2012) were musical prodigies who escaped Nazi persecution in Austria in the 1930s with the help of violinist Bronisław Huberman.
Pianist and teacher Edith Kraus (1913-2013), who lived to 100, was a prolific musician in Terezín. She emigrated to Israel in 1949 where she gave concerts and taught at Music Academy at Tel Aviv University until her retirement.
Ethnomusicologist, composer, conductor, librettist and teacher Walter Kaufmann (1907-1984) was professor of classical musicology at the University of Bloomington.
Music historian, composer, pianist and conductor Arthur Chitz's (1882-1944) successful career was tragically cut short when he was unable to escape Germany before the Holocaust. He is presumed to have died in a concentration camp in Riga.
Margit Bokor (1905-1949) was an accomplished soprano with a career spanning Europe and America. She was forced to leave Dresden and was forbidden to work in institutions such as Dresden Opera House.
Composer and conductor Vilem Tauský (1910-2004) orchestrated an operetta based on music by Bizet in exchange for the money for an exit visa to France, which he collected from the Gestapo in person.
German conductor, composer and pianist Peter Gellhorn (1912-2004) fled Germany during the 1930s and settled in London. He conducted at the Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells and Glyndebourne.
Egon Wellesz (1885-1974) was an Austrian-born composer, teacher and musicologist whose works were banned in Austria in 1933. He escaped to England in 1938 where he was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien.
After the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 and the signing of the Munich Agreement, composer Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) tried to join the Czech Resistance in France but was not accepted because of his age.
Charlie and his Orchestra were a Nazi-sponsored German propaganda swing band. They chose to play jazz standards that were popular with English listeners but with modified lyrics. This musical form of propaganda contributed to the spread of Nazi ideology and conveyed a defeatist message in the ranks of the Nazi enemy, British or American.
Franz Lehár (1870-1948) is famous for his operetta The Merry Widow. He stayed in Austria during WWII, refusing to involve himself with politics but benefiting financially from Hitler’s promotion of his operetta.
Joseph Goebbels wanted to promote all works demonstrating German hegemony in music; that is, paradoxically, why he initially protected composers or conductors opposed to the application of anti-Semitic laws, even obscuring the Jewish origins of some talented composers or protecting their wives.
Walter Bricht (1904-1970) was an Austrian composer whose years as a professional composer coincided with Hitler’s rise and the onset of Austro-fascism in 1933.
Born in Königsberg to musical parents, Werner Richard Heymann (1896-1961) was a musical prodigy. He worked as a cabaret, film and theatre composer in Berlin before escaping Nazi Germany for Hollywood.
Mischa Spoliansky (1898-1985) is remembered in Germany for his Kabarett and satirical revue songs. Forced to leave in 1933, he took British citizenship and, during the war, wrote for a team of ex-Berliners who had fled Germany.
Franz Waxman (1906-1967) was a composer, conductor and impresario. He wrote 150 films scores and received 12 Academy Award nominations. He was exiled to the US where he found success as a film composer.
German actress and cabaret artist Annemarie Hase (1900-1971) emerged as a star during the Weimar Republic but because she was Jewish faced persecution from Nazis. In 1936 she went into exile in Britain where she worked for the BBC.
Charles Delaunay (1911-1988) co-founded Le Jazz Hot, one of the oldest jazz magazines. In 1937, he started Disques Swing, a record label exclusively for jazz. During WWII Delaunay was a member of the resistance, but continued leading the Hot Club.
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was an Italian composer, pianist and writer. Even before Mussolini’s racial laws, his works were banned. A performance of his 2nd violin concerto was cancelled in 1938, months before the laws were imposed.
Austrian conductor, pianist, and teacher Marcel Tyberg (1893-1944) is most prominently remembered as a composer. He was arrested in a night raid and sent to the camps of San Sabba and in 1944, Auschwitz, where he died on the 31 December.
On 18 January 1939, composer Jascha Horenstein (1898-1973) boarded the ocean liner ‘Champlaigne’ using falsified Honduran passports bound for New York. After a short period in Hollywood, Horenstein joined the faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York.
Musically precocious at age 5, Karol Rathaus was born on 16 September 1895. In 1932 he moved to Paris, where he worked as a film composer. Years of exile, fatigue and ill health took physical and emotional toll on him. He died in New York on 21 Nov 1954, age 59.
From 1929 the composer, conductor and arranger Julius Bürger (1897-1995) conducted for Berlin Radio but in the spring of 1933 Burger resigned from his post and returned to Vienna working for the BBC. He exiled to the US in 1938.
Ignaz Strasfogel was born 17 July 1909 in Warsaw, Poland. At aged 14 he was accepted into Franz Schreker’s composition class and was heading for a successful music career. In late 1933 he was able to emigrate to the United States.
German composer and conductor Walter Goehr was born on 28 May 1903. Forced as a Jew to seek work outside Germany after working for Berlin Radio in 1932, he was invited to become music director for the Gramophone Company (later EMI), so he moved to London.
Czech conductor Karel Ančerl is considered one of the more prominent conductors of the twentieth century. Despite Nazi persecution, incarceration, and the loss of his family in the Holocaust, Ančerl forged an international career and helped lift the profile of Czech classical music globally.
Composer Rudolph Karel (1880-1945) studied with Antonin Dvorak and Josef Klicka. In Mar 1943 he was arrested for his resistance activities and sent to Terezin where he composed on toilet paper using charcoal. He died from dysentery in Mar 1945.