Commando Musik

by Willem de Vries

Buchet-Chastel Editions, October 2019, 413 p.

Commando Musik, Comment les nazis ont spolié l’Europe musicale, by Willem de Vries.
Released in October 2019 by Buchet-Chastel Editions.

Born in Amsterdam in 1939, Willem de Vries is a PhD in musicology. During the writing of his thesis on « Darius Milhaud and jazz », between 1984 and 1991, he discovered the existence of a « music » commando, to which he then did research.

The theft of Jewish property by the nazis, consisted of real estate, companies, artwork, books.. The cultural dimension of the pillage was organized by the Rosenberg (ERR) organisation, created in 1940 to eliminate all Jewish cultural life in all Europe.

The little-known dimension of this thievery concerning music : indeed, a special commando, the Sonderstab Musik ( "music" commando), led by distinguished German musicologists was created to locate instruments, sheet music, manuscripts and to take them from their owners.

Such is the subject of this book by Willem de Vries, which took over 10 years of research. It reveals for the first time the organisation of this commando that gave "transit" between 1940 and 1944, into Germany to hundreds of thousands of books, sheet music and musical instruments.

The composer Darius Milhaud, the pianists Wanda Landowska and Arthur Rubinstein, the music critique Arno Poldès, the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky were among the first victims of these massive thefts, about which the actors, the operation of the organizations and the extent are now put to light.

Translation by Laurent Slaars.
Preface by Sonia Wieder-Atherton.
Foreward by Corinne Hershkovitch.

The French translation of this book received the support of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah.

On the 31st January 2020, at Sciences-Po school in Paris (75007), is organised a day of studyon "Spoliated music", or How the nazis looted musical Europe

Learn more
Purchase the book in french
Purchase the book in english

You may also like

The interpretation of rites

Broadcasted on French radio France Culture, on October 5 & 12, 2014, Marc-Alain Ouaknin invites in his program "Talmudiques" Hervé Roten who (…)

Training of Music Teachers of Paris - 2011

The CFMJ continues its educational action by organising another training day for music teachers in Paris. In the program : a large overview on (…)

The CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris

Conferences, round table and concerts : find all the events co-organized by the CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris, on June 29 and (…)

Second summer university of Judeo-Spanish in Paris

7 - 12 JULY 2013 in the Centre Edmond Safra - 6 bis rue Michel-Ange - Paris 16e In July 2012, the first university of Judeo-Spanish, organized (…)

Symposium and concerts Vox Aurea-Via Sacra 2014 - Sacred Jewish music

Sunday September 7th, 2014, 18200 Saint-Armand Montrond Sacred music holds an essential place in Jewish music history. All day long, conferences (…)