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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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INTERLUDE Interlude Patriot of the Globe "I am a patriot of the globe." - Herbert Zipper The Army concerts lasted until February of 1946. In December of 1945 President Osmefia called Herbert Zipper to his office and informed him that he had just created a Committee for the Cultural Rehabilitation of the Philippines. He invited Zipper to serve on the committee, make policy recommendations and travel to America to seek financial support. Trudi and Herbert Zipper began immediately to make arrangements. At this point both of them were "stateless," that is, they had no citizenship any- where. But since his presence was now desired in America, within one week the U.S. Consul had secured non-quota, U.S. Visas. Next they needed a way to travel to the states. Because air travel was impossible, Zipper went down to the pier every morning to the shipping agency of Mr. Rocha, a member of the symphony committee. On the morning of February 12, 1946 Mr. Rocha told him that there was room for two people on the Russell A. Alger, a "Liberty" cargo ship. It was not equipped for passengers but the vacant 2nd and 3rd radio operator's cabin could accommodate the couple. And, oh by the way, he informed him, it was sailing that afternoon at 2:00. Zipper rushed home and at 10:00 A.M. told Trudi that they were sailing to the USA at 2:00 P.M. "Fine!" she said, "but you have to get me a truck." She insisted on...

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