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...und die Musik spielt dazu!

...und die Musik spielt dazu!
(...and the music plays along!)

Cabaret in Terezin

The Jewish special camp at Terezin was designed by the Nazi authorities to deceive the general public in Germany and abroad about the true objective of the concentration camps. To achieve their perfidious mission, the "Office for Cultural Activities" organized theatre performances, concerts, operas and operettas - and also cabaret programs. As a survival strategy, the performing artists provided entertainment and distraction. At the same time, they had to function as marionettes in a snow job staged by the Nazis to fool the world.

Kabarett in Theresienstadt 2

Theresienstadt, the most beautiful city in the world!

Chansons and satires

Our second program about the cabaret in Terezin. Thanks to unstinting research, our musical flair and a recently published book, we have been able to unearth more songs from the Czech and German cabaret at Terezin. This program premiered on Sept. 23, 2010, at the Musikclub of the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin. In keeping with tradition, Deutschlandfunk produced a concert recording.

Ilse Weber

In Terezin with a guitar -
Ilse Weber, poet and singer

After she was deported to Terezin, poet Ilse Weber worked as a nurse in a children's hospital; here she created many poems and songs to offer some solace and hope to the weakest of the detainees. Some of these valuable documents were smuggled out of the ghetto or recorded from memory by survivors of Terezin. This program combines all of Ilse Weber's known songs, some of her poems and a Jewish fairy tale.

Friedrich Hollaender

Returning home to a land unknown:
Friedrich Hollaender

An artist's life, representative of many colleagues, persecuted by the NS regime, who "remigrated" to Germany. In the 1920s, Hollaender was a celebrated cabaret author, composer and pianist who worked with the lyricists Tucholsky and Mehring at the cabaret Schall und Rauch (Sound and Smoke) in Berlin. He also had his own cabaret stage, Tingel-Tangel, and composed popular songs, stage music and film scores such as Falling in Love Again. Forced to emigrate in 1933, he became a successful Hollywood film composer. He returned to Germany in the 1950s - but did he really return home?

Werner Richard Heymann

Werner Richard Heymann:
Just once for all time...

Everybody knows Werner Richard Heymann, the Weimar Republic's most successful composer of film music - or, rather, his songs, evergreens such as Just Once for All Time. Even before composing songs for the Comedian Harmonists and innumerable film stars, Heymann could look back on an impressive career as a composer of cabaret music. His lesser known tunes of the early 1920s can be rediscovered in our program.


Fallstudien / Fall-studies

Moritz, Siegfried, Leo and Richard Fall, a family of musicians

Admittedly, the title of this concert program is a pun as in German "Fallstudien" means case studies. We're not talking about social research here, but rather about the Falls, a family of composers.

The father, Moritz Fall (1828-1922), was a military musician and therefore wrote mainly marches. His son Siegfried (1877-?) studied in Berlin under Max Bruch and composed operas and songs. But due to his lack of success he was more or less forced to produce piano scores for the more successful and famous operetta composer Leo Fall (1873-1925).

The youngest of the three brothers, Richard Fall (1882-1943 or 1945), was a much played composer of popular music who worked primarily with the lyricist Löhner-Beda. Richard and probably also Siegfried died in Theresienstadt or Auschwitz. Further details are currently unknown.


"Heute Nacht oder nie..."

Mischa Spoliansky's (1898-1985) years in Berlin

Mischa Spoliansky was born in the eastern part of Poland which was then ruled by Russia. When he was a child the family moved to Vienna; later he improved his abilities as a pianist and a composer in Dresden. At the outbreak of WW I he moved to Berlin. There he did further studies and earned himself a living by playing in coffee houses. 1919 he was invited by Friedrich Hollaender and Werner Richard Heymann to join them in the famous Berlin cabaret "Schall und Rauch". Spoliansky's pieces were performed widely, especially those on texts by Marcellus Schiffer: Alles Schwindel, Es liegt in der Luft, Wie werde ich reich und glücklich, Zwei Krawatten ... just to mention a few. 1933 he went into exile in England. He acquired British citizenship and never returned to Germany.

Oscar Straus

Oscar Straus -
from "Überbrettl" to Hollywood
and back

Around 1900 composer Oscar Straus (1870-1954) split his life between Vienna and Berlin where he founded the cabaret "Überbrettl" together with Ernst von Wolzogen. In our program we reanimate no less than 10 titles dating from that time that had been hibernating at libraries until now.

As a jew Straus fled to Hollywood to avoid persecution in Nazi Germany. It was not until 1948 that he returned to Austria - as an American citizen.


"Music is the most Beautiful Creation of the Human Soul" -
The Theresienstadt Diary of Helga Pollak

Helga, daughter of Otto Pollak, once owner of the popular concert coffeehouse "Palmhof" in Vienna's Mariahilferstrasse, is the protagonist of the book "The Girls of Room 28" by Hannelore Brenner-Wonschick. Helga, one of the girls of Room 28 of Mädchenheim/Girls' Home, L410, Theresienstadt/Terezin, arrived in the ghetto at the age of twelve in January 1943 and was deported in October 1944 to Auschwitz. She is one of the 15 of about 60 girls, that lived in Room 28, who survived. She has participated in numerous readings since 2003, together with the author and primarily in the context of the travelling exhibition "The Girls of Room 28".

Since 2008 Zwockhaus contributes to these readings and tries to add a new dimension to the words of the 12 - 14 year old girl.

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