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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 19, 2007 / 1 Iyar 5767

How the pernicious idea that art can be detached from the circumstances of its creation, and that war crimes can be washed away in a haze of perfect beauty and commercial success, gained global acceptance

By Norman Lebrecht

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Of all the wonders of Germany's post-war economic miracle, none outshines the country's rapid transformation from cultural outcast to musical powerhouse. In 1945, Germany lay in ruins and many of its artists were forbidden to perform under suspicion of Nazism. Fifteen years later, Berlin was once again the world's musical capital, its chief conductor was an unregenerate ex-Nazi and Deutsche Grammophon ruled the air waves as the most prestigious and exquisite label of classical recording.


The story of this remarkable metamorphosis, told in my new book, "The Life and Death of Classical Music: Featuring the 100 Best and 20 Worst Recordings Ever Made", is a mirror image of the compromise on which the modern German state is founded, a no-questions-asked alliance between former war criminals and their very recent victims. It is an untold story, and one which both sides prefer to leave uncovered. It also tells us a great deal more than we commonly care to know about the compromises that intelligent human beings are prepared to make in the service of art.


At the end of the war, the Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft (DGG) had been bombed out of production and fallen into the ownership of the Siemens electronics firm, specifically as the plaything of Ernst von Siemens, a clubfooted member of the ruling family and a passionate concertgoer. Siemens built installations at some of the worst concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau, and was a pioneer in the exploitation of slave labour. Ernst von Siemens was a director of the company, present at board meetings where the use of slave labour was planned and discussed. The company did not accept any liability for enslavement and mass murder in his lifetime and only began to consider compensation in 1988, after threats of a US boycott.


Ernst von Siemens, as soon as the war ended, set about restoring his nation's cultural supremacy. He ordered a series of Archiv recordings to be made in surviving Baroque churches and set about looking for an associate who would grant respectability to his enterprise. Exactly when he met Elsa Schiller is unrecorded, but it was almost certainly in his Berlin mansion which had been turned by the Americans into a radio station, RIAS, and where Ernst would customarily welcome eminent performers as if they were his personal guests.

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Elsa Schiller was music director of RIAS. Born in Vienna and educated in Budapest where she became a professor at the Liszt Academy, she had happily conducted a chamber orchestra in pre-Hitler Berlin until the racial and sexual laws rendered her unemployable. As a Jew and a lesbian, Elsa lived under a double cloud, moving from one lover's apartment to another until, in 1943, she gave herself up to the Gestapo in fear of jeopardising he friends. She spent the next two years in Theresienstadt, the 'model' camp, narrowly avoiding deportation to Auschwitz when the camp's cultural section was liquidated in October 1944. At the end of the war, she crawled home to Berlin where a friendly critic landed her a job at RIAS.


Like many who had seen their lives put on hold during the Thousand Year Reich, Elsa was hungry for achievement. She quickly improved the radio orchestra and the city opera by importing the Hungarian conductor Ferenc Fricsay, whom she also signed to Siemens' record label. In 1950 sahe became programme director of Deutsche Grammophon, using her impeccable credential to attract western and Jewish artists to its list, among them the British-based Amadeus Quartet. 'She was a very shrewd Jewish lady,' says Martin Lovett, its cellist. 'I was a bit uncomfortable recording for the Germans, but Sigi (Nissel)'s father had been in Dachau. Who was I to object?'


Lorin Maazel, an American Jew, was Fricsay's successor at the RIAS orchestra and Berlin opera. David Oistrakh, Igor Markevitch an Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau were among her other stars. None of these, however, projected the leadership quality that Schiller was seeking. The man she needed was Herbert von Karajan, an Austrian who joined the Nazi party twice in 1933 in an excess of enthusiasm and who, since the war, had presided over London's Philharmonia Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera, the Berlin Philharmonic and all non-Italian operas at La Scala, Milan. Karajan, the coming man, never renounced his Nazism. Elsa Schiller, by this time, was not bothered.


In 1959, she signed Karajan for Deutsche Grammophon, an act that turned both maestro and label into world beaters. A cycle of the Beethoven symphonies that they made together in 1962 saw Karajan acclaimed as 'the greatest living exponent of the art of training an orchestra.' The conductor announced his 'deepest artistic attachment' to Elsa Schiller, and Ernst von Siemens in the background rubbed his hands with delight at their triumph and stumped up the finance for further expansion.


Few questioned the motives of this unholy trinity. One who did, the British producer John Culshaw, opined (privately at the time) that the good-looking Karajan was being positioned as a public idol to fill 'the void left by the death of Hitler in that part of the German psyche that craves a leader.'


Elsa Schiller retired soon after in her late 60s and faded from the scene. Karajan dominated musical affairs the world over through his perch at Deutsche Grammophon until his death in 1989; Ernst von Siemens died a few months later. Between them, the three conspirators promoted a global acceptance of the pernicious idea that art can be detached from the circumstances of its creation, and that war crimes can be washed away in a haze of perfect beauty and commercial success.

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JWR contributor Norman Lebrecht, one of the most widely-read modern commentators on music, culture and politics, is Assistant Editor of London's Evening Standard and presenter of lebrecht.live on BBC Radio 3. He has written ten books about music, which have been translated into 13 languages. They include, his latest, "Life and Death of Classical Music: Featuring the 100 Best and 20 Worst Recordings Ever Made" and the international best-sellers "The Maestro Myth" and "When the Music Stops". His website is NormanLebrecht.com.




© 2007, Norman Lebrecht