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Dachau Song

The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of Herbert Zipper

Paul F. Cummins

The odyssey of Herbert Zipper covers most of the 20th century. Born in Vienna in 1904, his life has spanned three centuries: from the 19th century world of the Habsburg Empire, through the 20th century horrors of Dachau, Buchenwald, and the Manila of World War II, to the emerging 21st century in China. Throughout his remarkable journey Zipper, a composer, conductor, concentration camp survivor, and educator, has maintained a spirit of achievement and optimism that contradicts his experiences. This is a story of the triumph of human will and the human spirit and, as such, is both fascinating and instructive.
Paul Cummins attended Stanford University (BA, 1959), Harvard University (M.A.T., 1960), and the University of Southern California (PhD, 1967). For more than 40 years, Dr. Cummins has devoted his career to creating opportunities for all children to have equitable access to quality education. In 1971, he co-founded Crossroads School and built it into one of the city’s most successful independent schools, now well respected nationwide as a progenitor of Engaged Education. In 1995, he founded New Visions Foundation to serve as a catalyst in educational and social innovations for disadvantaged children and youth. As Founder, President, and CEO of New Visions Foundation, Cummins continued to create successful models of Engaged Education, founding New Roads School, another now-renowned independent school based on principles of social justice and diversity, as well as three charter schools and a nonprofit organization, PS Arts, which provides arts classes to children in title I schools. In addition, New Visions has implemented several innovative Engaged Education programs that help at-risk children and youth, including foster youth, those in the juvenile justice system, and economically disadvantaged children and youth. Also a prolific author, Cummins has written several books on education, two volumes of poetry, a collection of essays, a biography of Herbert Zipper, an autobiography, and three children’s books. He lives in Santa Monica with his wife Mary Ann. They have four daughters and three grandchildren.