Antifascism and A Survivor from Warsaw
A Survivor officially breached the iron curtain on April 15, 1958, when Herbert Kegel and the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra performed the work in concert. The performance is situated within the context of state expectations for radio; concerns about fending off the American cultural invasion, as well as its nuclear threat; the contested role of dodecaphony—and Schoenberg in particular—in East German cultural politics; the relationship of the East German state to its Jewish citizens; and the bureaucratic process by which A Survivor was approved for performance and recording. Despite being performed in its entirety and in its original version, discourse about the work was subject to de-Semitization by the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) so that it could serve an antifascist agenda. The historical event of the Warsaw ghetto uprising was appropriated similarly across the Soviet bloc. The chapter explores Kegel's connection to Paul Dessau, as well as the role of Werner Sander, cantor for the Leipzig community. Finally, the chapter compares the treatment of Jewishness and antifascism in reviews from newspapers representing the different political parties.
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