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The Vanished Musicians

Jewish Refugees in Australia


Albrecht Dümling

About 9,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany settled in Australia between 1933 and 1945, a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands who fled. Although initially greeted with a mixed reception as «enemy aliens», some of these refugees remained and made a significant impact on multicultural Australia. This book traces the difficult journey of the orchestral performers, virtuoso soloists, singers, conductors and composers who sought refuge on a distant continent. A few were famous artists who toured Australia and stayed, most notably the piano virtuoso Jascha Spivakovsky and the members of the Weintraubs Syncopators, one of the most successful jazz bands of the Weimar Republic. Drawing on extensive primary sources – including correspondence, travel documents and interviews with the refugees themselves or their descendants – the author depicts in vivid detail the lives of nearly a hundred displaced musicians. Available for the first time in English, this volume brings to light a wealth of Jewish, exilic and musical history that was hitherto unknown.
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About the Translator


A former student of Jascha Spivakovsky, honours arts graduate from the University of Melbourne and recipient of a DAAD Scholarship, Diana K. Weekes began studies in musicology at Munich University before transferring to the Hochschule für Musik, where she completed a Master’s degree in solo performance and pedagogy. A major prize winner in international competitions in Finale Ligure, Terni, Senigallia, Vercelli and Bolzano, she gave recitals and broadcasts in England, Germany, Italy and Switzerland before returning to Melbourne in 1974.

Since 1981 Diana has lived and worked in Adelaide, where she has performed for the ABC, Recitals Australia, the Adelaide Festival and the Barossa Music Festival. Formerly a lecturer in music at the Flinders Street School of Music, from 2002 to 2010 she was a full-time member of staff at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, where she was a Senior Lecturer in Keyboard, Coordinator of the Chamber Music program and Head of Undergraduate Studies. Widely experienced in the art of duo piano playing and accompanying, she also completed a PhD in musical composition in 2007.

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