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Dachau Song

The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper

Paul F. Cummins

Herbert Zipper was born in 1904 in Hapsburg, Vienna. He was educated in the finest academies, studying under Richard Strauss and Maurice Ravel, among others, and became a conductor-composer in Germany in the early 1930s. When Hitler became Chancellor, he hastened back to Vienna, composing music for underground cabarets. In 1938, after the Anschluss, he was sent to Dachau and transferred to Buchenwald (1939). In Dachau, he organized clandestine concerts in an abandoned latrine. He and prisonmate Jura Soyfer also composed a song, «The Dachau Lied», which was to have an extraordinary history. He was released from Buchenwald and journeyed to Manila to marry the love of his life and to conduct the Manila Symphony Orchestra. When the Japanese invaded (1942), he was put in prison again. A few weeks after the liberation of Manila, out of the rubble of the city he created an extraordinary concert. After the war he came to America, was responsible for the founding of over a dozen community arts schools, and has been an internationally effective educator. Throughout his remarkable journey, Zipper maintained a spirit of hope and achievement. This is a story of the triumph of human will and spirit.


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FIRST MOVEMENT I Train to Dachau II From Fin de Siecle to Fin de Millenium III War to the Academy t 14' 10 Chapter I Train to Dachau Believe me, who for thousands of years has chewed this toughest of food, Know That from the cradle to the bier No man can digest the ancient bitter dough. Trust one of my kind, this show Is made only for a God's delight He dwells in an ageless aureole, Us he has thrust in darkness out of sight And you are fit for only day and night. -Mephistopheles from I Goethe's Faust-Part One A 1938 article in the Parisian newspaper, Le Soir (The Evening), writ- ten by the French correspondent in Vienna, M. Pertinax, was headlined: ''.J'ai Vu Mourir L'Autriche" (I saw Austria die). He was not the first. Over the centuries from the plains to the east along the Danube the invaders have marched, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Turks. And on March 12, 1938 once again the Barbarians, this time from the north, invaded yet were welcomed into the ancient city of Vienna. This invasion would trample under foot the final flowers of Viennese culture and grace. The Hapsburg Empire had crumbled in 1918, and the post World War period, culminating in the Great Depression of 1929, had brought ruin to many more lives. Yet somehow the arts, literature, science, philosophy all remained vital. When the Nazi gangsters of Adolph Hitler marched into Vienna, overnight this center of European culture dwindled into...

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