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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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Short Biographies


ADAM, MANFRED: b.31 March 1894, Berlin. Son of Meinhardt Adam (Jewish) and Katharina Ruth, née Schmidt (non-Jewish). Address: 6 Ansbacher Str., Schöneberg. Studied art history and music history at Berlin University, and Gregorian chant at the Maria Laach monastery, where he played the piano daily. Influenced by Wanda Landowska. Repertoire included Scarlatti, Couperin and Rameau; he also wrote compositions in this style. Escaped to Britain in 1939. Proofreader for Oxford University Press. Interned in 1940 and deported to Australia aboard Dunera. Interned in Tatura (Camp 3) where he taught Italian and Arabic. Released from Tatura in 1944; resumed work as proofreader. Lived with his brother Leonhard, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Melbourne. Died 1967, Melbourne. Sources: Dening 1993; NAA A367, MP1103;1 Mary-Clare Adam, Tel Aviv.

ADLER, HEINRICH (HENRY) MAX: b.17 January 1914, Berlin. Son of Adolf Adler (Polish) and Anna, née Phillipsborn (German). Jewish. From 1935 educated as choirmaster and organist while also studying business management. Married Vera Fanny Vogel, 1938. Last Berlin address: 43 Möllendorffstr., Lichtenberg. Arrived in Sydney 26 August 1938 aboard Aorangi. From 1939 piano and accordion teacher at Nicholson’s College for Modern Music. From 1940 member of Fisher’s Sextet with Emanuel and Adolf Fisher. Military service (2 Aust Empl Coy), 1942–1945. Naturalised 1944. From 1946 further education at Sydney Conservatorium (A. Mus. A). Pianist in Henry Adler Trio with Don Andrews (guitar) and Adolf Fisher (bass). Pianist, teacher, arranger and publisher. Choirmaster at Great...

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