This is the official site for Forbidden Music, a book written by Michael Haas and published by Yale University Press in 2013.
When National Socialism arrived in Germany in 1933, Jews were dominating music more than virtually any other sector, making it the most important cultural front in the Nazi fight for German identity. The party’s policy on music brought about a cultural holocaust, with far-reaching consequences for the history and development of music during the twentieth century. The conventional view is that the Third Reich’s rejection of atonality was an act of anti-semitism. Yet although Jewish musicians and composers were responsible for countless original ideas applied to both the popular and serious music of the day, as well as becoming the experimenters who would represent the starting point of the century’s most daring avant-garde, they were also by 1933 almost uniquely the principal conveyors of Germany’s historic traditions and the ideals of German culture. The isolation, exile and persecution of Austro-German Jewish musicians by the Nazis became an act of musical self-mutilation. Michael Haas looks at the actual contribution of Jewish composers in Germany and Austria before 1933, at their increasingly precarious position between then and 1939, at the forced emigration of composers and performers before and during the war, and at the emaciated post-war musical life of Germany and Austria, while many of the exiled composers and musicians flourished in Britian, the United States, and elsewhere.
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Just wanted to let you know that I found your blog by accident. I was searching for information about Ernst Toch and found your piece about him and others of his era. Since I am basically ignorant about Toch and his music, I wanted to thank you for providing such a comprehensive introduction. Thank you. Now to get your book.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. I’m glad you found the site useful. I still have many Composers to profile.
I will be in London September 17 and 18, 2015 and would very much like to meet with you regarding a Festival I run at the University of Arizona, Music + Festival. I am considering doing a festival in the near future on composers of forbidden music. It would be nice to discuss this with you and your possible participation.
Professor of Music, Composer
Director, Center for American Culture and Ideas
THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
Fred Fox School of Music
Tucson, AZ 85721
Hello Michael: I have read and been profoundly influenced by your book, which has totally turned my head on what was really going on with Jews and music in German speaking Europe. I was born in Vienna and was able to flee with my parents to Shanghai and then after the War to emigrate to Australia. I have been living in the US for more than 50 years and have always been passionately interested in music. I have read widely on Jewish history and the history of WWII, but never really grasped that Jewish assimilation was a myth. As one historian put it: “the Jews thought they were assimilated; the Germans knew they weren’t.” This has put a lot of events into stark perspective. Your book has become the centerpiece of a course I will be starting in a week about “Jews and Music during the Holocaust Era” – this for the Case Western/Siegal Life Long Learning Institute, which presents a multitude of courses for adult learners. I really have to thank you for opening up this subject for a lay audience, and it is especially relevant at this very moment as Cleveland where this a three months long celebration in a variety of events of “Violins of Hope.”
Is there a way to write to you in private, without having my comments displayed? I would like to write to you about some topics you might wish to add to a new edition of your book.
Thanks for your extraordinary efforts in bringing light to these topics.
Eric – if I understood more about the workings of WP, I would have registered far sooner your comment from October. The platform has changed and for some reason, unapproved or unacknowledged comments are no longer as obvious as they were in the old platform. I must be doing something wrong and admit to being less than a technical whizz. In any case, I would be happy to hear from you – or anyone wishing to make suggestions or pass on information. Best to write my personal email address which is email@example.com
So sorry for the delay and thank you for the encouraging things you write about ‘Forbidden Music’
Dear Mr Haas
I have an interest in Willy Rosen, who did perform for the Kulturbund at the behest of Max Ehrlich, but Willy had a sister called Edith Maerker, who was perhaps a singer. Do you know of any links that Edith might have had with the Kulturbund, or any other information. Edith sang Opera.
Dear Mr. Gardiner,
I have three German references to the Kulturbund, “Geschlossene Vorstellung”; “Beyond Recall” and “Premiere und Pogrom”. Sadly, the latter carries no idex and first two do not list Edith Maerker or Märker. I checked the LexM biography on Willy Rosen:
which also fails to mention his sister. I’m sorry that I’m not able to help you on this point. Good luck with further research. You may wish to consider contacting the Music Curator at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, Bret Werb for any possible information: BWerb@ushmm.org
Ph. Dr. Michael Haas
exil.arte Zentrum, mdw
A-1030 Vienna, Austr
+43 1 711 55 3544
+43 676 548 3090
Michael, I came about your site while doing research for a documentary on the Armenian Genocide. This lead me to your article: WERFEL’S “FORTY DAYS OF MUSA DAGH”. I found it enlightening. I live in Detroit and years back there was a radio host named Karl Haas who hosted a classical show called “Adventures in music” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Haas). Any relation?
I find it impressive how Jews have connected and supported others in the world who have faced oppression; their involvement in the civil rights movement in my country an example. And they have done it via the arts and law. There is a tide of a different kind of assimilation in this century here in the USA which brings questions. I look forward to reading your book to see ow it contributes to the perspective.
Good luck, Stewart Shevin
Thank you for the Feedback! In fact, I’m not (sadly) related to Karl Haas, though you are not the first person to ask! He did come from Vienna, (where I now live and work) but our family came from the Rhineland – Rülzheim – a Jewish community totally destroyed by the Nazis.
I may have some useful information on Edith Maerker who was in England during the war.
Mike Levy, Cambridge, England
Trying to reach Micheal Haas. Sandra Cruze here. I am in the process of finishing a short film on the resistence to women during the occupation in Haarlam Netherlands. I found your blog with the gorgeous music from the banned and supressed musicians and composers during the occupation. I am wondering how or if I can get permission to use some of the music for my film. I would be happy to send you a link so you can see if you think it appropriate.
Thank you Sandra for the kind words. Best to write me at my University address: firstname.lastname@example.org or failing that, my private address: email@example.com I look forward to hearing from you.