Musicologist Unearths Holocaust-Era Compositions

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Albrecht Duemling. Credit: Ethan Lindsey, NPR.

German musicologist Albrecht Duemling and his organization, musica reanimata, are unearthing the works of Jewish composers once thought lost to the Holocaust. Ethan Lindsey, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Ethan Lindsey, NPR

The persecution of Jewish composers was just one of the ways the Third Reich used culture and the arts to further Hitler's repression.

A prohibition in the 1930s forbade Germans from playing any music that had "Jewish" influences. A German musician is now working to revive the censored scores.

Albrecht Duemling directs the Berlin-based musica reanimata, a group dedicated to uncovering recordings by artists persecuted by the Nazis.

In an effort to gain support, Duemling decided to branch out and include the better-known works of persecuted musicians who survived in exile.

Eric Zeisl, for instance, was an Austrian Jew who fled Nazi rule in 1938. He moved to Hollywood and went on to compose music for many popular films including The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Deumling was recently awarded the European Culture Prize for his work. But the expansion of his organization's mission has not been without controversy.

Some historians argue that the project should focus on the lesser-known artists who never made it out of concentration camps.

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