This title examines the complicated history of a Jewish cultural organization supported by Nazi Germany. The Jewish Culture League was created in Berlin in June 1933, the only organization in Nazi Germany in which Jews were not only allowed, but encouraged, to participate in music, both as performers and as audience members. Lily Hirsch's "A Jewish Orchestra in Nazi Germany" will be the first book to seriously investigate and parse the complicated questions the existence of this unique organization raised, such as why the Nazis would promote Jewish music when, in the rest of Germany, it was banned. The government's insistence that the League perform only Jewish music also presented the organization's leaders and membership with perplexing conundrums: What exactly is Jewish music? Who qualifies as a Jewish composer? And, if it is true that the Nazis conceived of the League as a propaganda tool, did Jewish participation in its activities amount to collaboration?
Lily E. Hirsch is Assistant Professor of Music at Cleveland State University.