New research reveals nearly half of Vienna Philharmonic musicians tied to Nazi party during WWII

Sixty out of 123 musicians identified as members by 1942

Topics: nazi, vienna, Austria, Music, Europe, WWII, Hitler, ,

New research reveals nearly half of Vienna Philharmonic musicians tied to Nazi party during WWII (Credit: Philip Lange via Shutterstock)

The Vienna Philharmonic, considered to be one of the best orchestras in the world, confirmed a long-held suspicion today when the prestigious institution revealed that it once had strong ties to the Nazi party.

After mounting political pressure, the Philharmonic commissioned a group of independent historians to examine the orchestra’s archives between years 1938-1945. The report reveals that in 1938, 13 musicians were dismissed for either being Jewish or married to Jews, and that by 1942, 60 out of 123 musicians identified with the Nazi party, reflecting a higher percentage of Nazi sympathizers within the organization than among the Austrian population.

The report also explains that the orchestra became an instrument of propaganda for the Nazi party, including its famous New Year’s Day concert. The anti-Jewish sentiment continued after the war as well; only 10 Nazi sympathizers were forced to leave the orchestra after the war ended.



Orchestra Chairman Clemens Hellberg, who the BBC reports had originally omitted the Philharmonic’s Nazi ties in its history in his 1992 book, “Democracy of Kings,” said the report was “long overdue.”

 

The news coincides with the 75th anniversary of the German annexation of Austria, though the LA Times notes that additional details are expected to surface over the next several days.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>