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The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany [Paperback]

By Martin Goldsmith (Author)
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Item description for The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany by Martin Goldsmith...

An account of two Jewish musicians who fell in love while playing for Frankfort's Kulturbund orchestra, which served as a haven for persecuted Jews and as a Nazi propoganda tool, describes how love maintained through the horrors of the Third Reich.

Publishers Description
Advance Praise for the Inextinguishable Symphony ""A Fascinating Insight into a Virtually Unknown Chapter of Nazi Rule in Germany, Made all the More Engaging through a Son's Discovery of His Own Remarkable Parents."" -Ted Koppel, ABC News ""An Immensely Moving and Powerful Description of those Evil Times. I couldn't Put the Book Down."" -James Galway ""Martin Goldsmith has Written a Moving and Personal Account of a Search for Identity. His is a Story that will Touch All Readers with Its Integrity. This is not about Exorcising Ghosts, but Rather Awakening Passions that no One Ever Knew Existed. This is a Journey Everyone should Take."" -Leonard Slatkin, Music Director National Symphony Orchestra ""For Years I've been Familiar with Martin Goldsmith's Musical Expertise. This Book Explains the Source of His Knowledge and His Passion for the Subject. In Tracking the Extraordinary Story of His Parents and the Jewish Kulturbund, Martin Unfolds a Little-Known Piece of Holocaust History, and Finds Depths in His Own Heart that Warm the Hearts of Readers."" -Susan Stamberg, Special Correspondent National Public Radio "" A] Strong and Painful Book, Well-Written, Well-Researched, Moving, and Very Instructive."" -Ned Rorem, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany by Martin Goldsmith has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 1127
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 886

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wiley
Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 5.9" Height: 1"
Weight:   0.98 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2001
Publisher   Wiley
ISBN  0471078646  
ISBN13  9780471078647  

Availability  57 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 07:07.
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More About Martin Goldsmith

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Martin Goldsmith is the host and classical music programmer for "Symphony Hall" on Sirius XM Satellite Radio and previously hosted NPR s daily classical music program, "Performance Today," from 1989 to 1999. He is the author of "The Inextinguishable Symphony" and lives in Maryland.

Martin Goldsmith currently resides in the state of Maryland. Martin Goldsmith was born in 1952.

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany?

Beautifully Haunting ...   Sep 28, 2007
My bookclub is entering into its Holocaust Month. Someone recommended this book to me last year and I thought, it sounded interesting enough to read. Interesting just barely describes this book. Haunting is more the word that I think of when I finished this book. Incredibly lucky are two more words.

There are so many books out there about the Holocaust that it can be confusing sometimes to read what. This book definitely should be read simply because it's beautifully moving, tragically sad and not only that, it provides a different viewpoint of what happened during the early years of Nazihood in Germany and before the "Final Solution" was proposed to exterminate the Jews. This happened and I don't recall hearing much about any of this till I read this book. Before Hitler and Goring proposed the death camps and just while trying to get rid of Germany of the non-Aryan blood, they came up with a solution that provides entertainment and music/art/theater productions just for the Jews. This is a place for the Jews to retreat to. They were only allowed to play Jewish pieces written by Jewish artists/musicans. And they were left alone in the 30s and early 40s. Well, not quite completely left alone as they still had to follow the Nazi rules. But it was a place of refuge for the Jews, especially in Berlin.

This book, while devoting a huge portion to the Kulturbund and its orgins, the author writes of his personal family history. His mother and father were musicans in the Kulturbund. And they suffered horrible tragedies as the war progressed over the years. However, they were young, in love and naive like a lot of people were. They did manage to escape Germany but they also managed to leave behind family members which have haunted them and their children even to this day. It is very intense reading at times and with hindsight on the reader's part, it is very hard to fathom their optimism that things will work out ok in the end. Not only that, this book brings up the question of whether or not the Kulturbund was good for the Jews or kept them compliant enough to keep them in Germany instead of escaping to other countries, so the Nazis could gas them too. This book is haunting and disturbing. The questions that the author may have unknowingly stirred are now raised in my mind ... and the answers are not easy to figure out.

This is not your typical Holocaust book nor is it like the other books about the camps ~~ this book simply tells a tale of two musicans who were unfortunate to be caught up in the times that stirred Germany (and the world) ~~ but yet, their love of music has sustained them through the years before they left Germany. Are they heros? Not in the sense that we associate it with. They are more like survivors and like all survivors, they carry a burden of guilt that resounded through the years. But it is a book that honors the memory of those who were left behind in a time of turmoil that even today, still vibrates through the years.

A different Holocaust story  Oct 26, 2005
MG's story of his family during the early Nazi era is an unusual glimpse into the lives of German Jews during the period from 1933-1941. He writes about the Kulturbund, an organization created by the Nazis to (1) rid Germany of Jewish influence in the arts and (2) provide propaganda coverage of the maltreatment of Jews by the Third Reich.

In my opinion the book is generally well written and seems to be the result of careful research. My one complaint is that MG frequently quotes conversations which I doubt have been recorded in any way. I don't like that in historical writing, but in this case I was willing to overlook it, because of my interest in the story.
A son's voyage of discovery of his parents' nightmarish past  Jan 6, 2004
What do we really know about our parents' life before we were born? That depends largely, I guess, on how much of an interest we show - and on how much they are willing to reveal. Because in the life of every person there are instances and times they rather wish to forget, and not revive time and again by discussion, even if only among their nearest and dearest.

Such, in the lives of author Martin Goldsmith's parents, were the years from 1933 through 1941; so much so, in fact, that Goldsmith likens that time to the massive ash tree in the house of Germanic warlord Hunding, the setting of the first scene of Richard Wagner's opera "Die Walkuere:" Something looming large, yet never openly acknowledged. Because before George Gunther Goldsmith, furniture and home decorating salesman of Cleveland, Ohio, and his wife Rosemary, a violinist with the St. Louis Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra, became American citizens in 1947, they had lived a whole other life - the hunted life of Jews in Adolf Hitler's Germany. And only years after his mother's death, on a trip to his father's home town of Oldenburg, did Goldsmith catch the first glimpses of what was hidden behind that massive ash tree, and George Goldsmith began to talk about the events which his, the Goldschmidt family had witnessed there; as well as the early life of Rosemarie nee Gumpert in Duesseldorf, the couple's first meeting in Frankfurt, and their later life in Berlin until their lucky escape to the United States. Beginning with this visit, Martin Goldsmith retraced his family's path to the early years of the 20th century, when his paternal grandfather Alex Goldschmidt took residence in Oldenburg, and his maternal grandfather Julian Gumpert settled in Duesseldorf.

How intensely personal this voyage into the past must have been becomes clear in the account of Goldsmith's visit to Oldenburg prison, as a participant in a march retracing the path taken by the Jews - among them the author's grandfather - driven through the streets of Oldenburg in 1938 by Nazi thugs, to later be shipped off (at least temporarily) to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. But although he writes about his very own family, and now in full knowledge of their fate, Goldsmith's narrative is in no way sentimental. With a journalist's detachment he talks about Guenther and Rosemarie, Alex, Julian and their wives and other children; turning a nonfiction account whose outcome is clear from the very start into a heartstopping tale few would be able to believe if presented with it under colors other than that of the plain historic truth.

Prominently featured in Goldsmith's account is the Jewish Culture Association, or Juedischer Kulturbund; as of 1933 the German Jews' only permitted artistic organization, in whose orchestra Guenther and Rosemarie had met and which had formed the center of their life until they finally left the country. One of the most controversial institutions of Nazi Germany, it reunited what was left of the country's Jewish musicians, artists, writers and composers - providing a modicum of shelter in an increasingly hostile environment, but also a convenient tool in the Nazi propaganda machine. Were the members of the Kulturbund instrumentalized to deceive public opinion, at home and abroad, about the true intentions of Hitler's government? By giving their Jewish audience a sense of comfort and "belonging," did they also prevent some of them from rescuing themselves when there still would have been time? The surviving members of the "Kubu" and their families, interviewed by Goldsmith, come down on both sides of the issue; and the fate of the survivors is probably as symptomatic as that of the many who ultimately did perish in Nazi concentration camps - chiefly among those the Kulturbund's charismatic founder Dr. Singer, who not only let himself deceive into returning to Germany after already having reached the safe shores of the U.S. but saw a mark of distinction even in his deportation to the "model" concentration camp of Theresienstadt.

Yet, for Guenther and Rosemarie the years with the Kulturbund were dominated, above all, by the musical companionship they experienced. What does seem to have haunted them most for the rest of their lives, however, was their very escape to America, while their remaining family members were stuck in Europe and, one way or another, died in Hitler's concentration camps - and the feeling that with a little effort they just *might* have saved at least some of them. The letters of Alex Goldschmidt and his younger son Helmut, written to Guenther from captivity in France after their own unsuccessful attempt to flee to Cuba, are among the most chilling testimonials contained in this book; and the decision to translate and include them conceivably cannot have been an easy one for Goldsmith. Indeed, it apparently was the knowledge of his family's fate that, all talent and love of music aside, eventually compelled George Goldsmith to forever retire the flute which, in his life as Guenther Goldschmidt, had been the only item of true importance besides his beloved wife Rosemarie; thus punishing himself in a way no outsider could have done. Yet, the couple's gift for music lives on in their son, who in his own way has brought many hours of joy to radio listeners all over the U.S.

Martin Goldsmith's "Inextinguishable Symphony" - named for Danish composer Carl Nielsen's Fourth Symphony, which sets music, as a parable for life itself, against war, terror and destruction - is as much a personal journey of discovery as a journalist's account of historic facts; seeking to understand rather than to judge. It deals with a time in which morality was thoroughly upset by a profoundly immoral regime, which cannot possibly have remained without effect on anybody who witnessed those events. In applying our own values to those facts, I think we would all do well in being careful to, likewise, make a thorough effort to understand before we judge. Goldsmith's insightful account is a great place to begin such a process.

A Very Moving Book  Sep 1, 2003
This story was impossible to put down and when you finish, it stays with you for a very long time. Its hard to believe that Gunther and Rosemary didn't make every effort to help their parents emigrate to U. S. What really bothers me most is, not being Jewish, what would I have done in Germany in the late thirties and early forties when I saw these atrocities happening?
Wow  Jun 9, 2003
I listened to Martin Goldsmith on "Performance Today" (and still listen to his successor, Fred Child) for many years. This man who for years described classical music on the radio -- composers and their life story, pieces and their histories, in accessible, engaging, and lightly humorous ways, and even sometimes tied it in to his love of baseball -- he also has an extraordinary family story. It's moving and well-written, and makes me think about the extraordinary stories that must dwell in the depths of my own geneological past.

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