The Vanished Musicians

Jewish Refugees in Australia

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.

Translated from the German by Diana K. Weekes
Peter Lang, Oxford, Exile Studies, Vol. 14.  572 S., 33,20 €


Interview in abc listen: The Music Show

Australia’s vanished musicians
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Limelight Magazine

Vanished Musicians: The lives of Jewish refugees in Australia
by Clive Paget on 23 August, 2016

A new translation of a seminal investigation examines the fate of dozens, from Jascha Spivakovsky to Marlene Dietrich’s jazz band.

A brand new English translation of a fascinating book on the plight of the Jewish refugee musicians who arrived in Australia is launching in Sydney and Melbourne. Albrecht Dümling’s 2011 German-language title, Die verschwundenen Musiker. Jüdische Flüchtlinge in Australien (The Vanished Musicians: Jewish Refugees in Australia), reveals the experiences of almost 100 musicians who fled the Nazi regime to end up on our shores. To accompany the launches, Dümling is in Australia to deliver a series of 90-minute talks, each of which is expected to cover different topics.