The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned a report on its activities from the Anschluss with Germany in March 1938 to the end of the War. You can read the reports of three historians, along with memoirs by former players, in a series of documents on the orchestra’s website An English translation is in preparation. READ MORE.
The report confirmed that in 1966 the orchestra reissued its highest award, an Ehrenring (Ring of Honour) to Baldur von Schirach, the former Nazi party governor in Vienna, who had just been released from Spandau prison for crimes against humanity, including the deportation of thousands of Jews to death camps. His original ring issued in 1942 had been taken by an American soldier following the Nazi defeat.
The report unearthed a petition to von Schirach from a prominent Nazi member of the orchestra, Wilhelm Jerger, pleading for him to stop the deportation of the Jewish musicians. Von Schirach ignored the appeal. Today’s report names Helmut Wobisch as the man who handed the re-awarded ring to von Schirach. (Source The Times 11 March 2013)
A rare photo from Lebrecht Music & Arts from 1943 when the Nazis ran Austria shows Von Schirach (far right) at the Burg Theatre in Vienna for the world premiere of Hauptmann’s ‘Iphigenia’ (centre) and Richard Strauss (left).