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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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Edited by Franziska Meyer

A series founded by Alexander Stephan

Exile Studies is a series of monographs and edited collections that takes a broad view of exile, including the work and life of refugees of the Nazi period, and beyond. The series explores the different global and cultural spaces of exile as well as the specific historical, political and social concerns of exilic writers and artists. Of particular interest is scholarship that engages with recent theoretical approaches to exile to shed new light on the unique conditions of mass expulsion by Nazi persecution. A plurality of theoretical approaches is encouraged, featuring research that reaches beyond national frameworks or disciplinary boundaries and takes multi-directional, transcultural or comparative approaches. Themes include exclusion and delocalization, legacies of displacement and acculturation, migrating identities of the exile, the mutual impact of cultures, and the historical and political meanings of ‘home’ and ‘homecoming’.

The series promotes dialogue among transnational, Jewish and memory studies, and among diaspora, Holocaust and postcolonial studies. It invites research that acknowledges questions of gender, race, class and ethnicity as indispensable tools for understanding the cultural processes connected to mass expulsions in the age of the refugee.

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