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The Comedian Harmonists: The Last Great Jewish Performers In Nazi Germany by Douglas Friedman

The Comedian Harmonists: The Last Great Jewish Performers In Nazi Germany

by Douglas Friedman

320 pages
Biography of 1930s German-Jewish vocal group forcibly disbanded by Nazis.

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Category: Biography
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About the Book
The remarkable and poignant story of the Comedian Harmonists, an early 1930s German singing group that was forced by the Nazis to disband because three of its members were Jewish. The banning of the group, which enjoyed a level of success in Europe similar to the Beatles in the 1960s, was part of the Nazis' attempt to erase all traces of Jewish life and culture from German society — an early aspect of the Holocaust. The book traces the path of the group and its members from their first failed audition to success beyond their imagination. It also chronicles the rise of the Nazis to power, the impact of their so-called “degenerate” art policies and the breakup of the group. It then follows the formation of successor groups by both the Jewish and Aryan members and what happened to the individual members. Their later stories run the gamut from the baritone who became one of the foremost Jewish cantors in the United States to the first tenor who ended up raking leaves in the parks in Sofia, Bulgaria. This is the first book in English on the group and the most comprehensive in any language. Guest articles help provide great insight into the group and the times. Favorite song paragraphs by persons with association with the group as well as noted musicians give different perspectives on their music. The Appendices provide a discography, full concert lists, timeline and other information most of which appears here for the first time. “The Comedian Harmonists were well ahead of their time and a major influence on vocal group music. Douglas Friedman's book—the first in English about this extraordinary singing group—is a very welcome addition to the literature on music history.” Terry Stewart, President, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

 

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About the Author
Douglas E. Friedman is a retired attorney and the co-author of Who Sang Our Songs?, a songography of 1950s rhythm-and-blues and doo-wop vocal group music. He is currently working on an encyclopedia of early American vocal groups (1850-1950).

 

 

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