The orchestra chairman Daniel Froschauer has outlined plans to commemorate 16 members of the orchestra who were thrown out after Austria’s 1938 Anschluss with Nazi Germany. Most escaped into impoverished exile. Six were murdered in concentration camps.
It is estamted that around 100 employees of the Vienna State Opera were similarly victimised.
Now, the Vienna Philharmonic chairman has offered ‘a very late apology’ to the victims, who continued to suffer from the orchestra’s post-War refusal to recognise their suffering. Over the next year, he tells Rebecca Schmid in the New York Times, the orchestra will organise Stolpersteine outside the houses of those who were expelled, along with two commemorative concerts.
“One should simply never forget,” said Froschauer. “This is a very late apology and a sign of gratitude for their accomplishments.”
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This is a significant moment in a long chronicle of denial. Two past chairmen of the orchestra assured me privately that this would never happen in our lifetimes. It is only in the past decade that the Vienna Philharmonic stripped the city’s Nazi Gauleiter, Baldur von Schirach, of a medal it had given him.