Mar 11, 2013
By Scott Walker
The Vienna Philharmonic is coming to terms with a dark period in its past.
New research has shown that, during the Second World War, almost half of the musicians in the orchestra were members of the Nazi Party. It also shows that 13 musicians were driven out of the orchestra for being Jewish, or married to Jews. Five of them died in concentration camps, others were deported, but none ever returned to the orchestra.
For years, the Vienna Philharmonic has allowed only limited access to its archives. But political pressure forced the orchestra to commission three historians to look more closely at the orchestra, which became a propaganda tool of the Nazi party during the war.
The full report will be posted on the Vienna Philharmonic’s website tomorrow to mark the 75th anniversary of Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany.