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

by Martin Goldsmith

Book, 2000



Call number

736 GOL



New York : Wiley, c2000.


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… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member laytonwoman3rd
Subtitled "A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany", this is the story of Goldsmith's parents, who as young musicians found employment, a tenuous safety, and each other, performing with the Jewish Kulturbund, the Nazis' highly regulated arts organization for Jews only, which existed from
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1933 to 1942, for the purpose of showing the outside world that Germany was "treating its Jews well", and secondarily for giving the Jewish population a hard-to-resist outlet for artists, actors and other performers. This resulted in a false hope for "normalcy" among some of the intellectual community, and kept many from considering protest or emigration. Goldsmith's parents were lucky enough to plan their escape in time to make the necessary arrangements before all-out war in Europe closed off their options and the Final Solution went into high gear. His grandparents were not so fortunate. It's hard to remember while reading all this that, in spite of the openly anti-Semitic climate in Germany in the 1930's, no one could realize at the time how horrific the situation was going to become. Many German Jews never gave up hope that "this can't get any worse" until it did and it was too late to do anything to save themselves; others arranged to leave the country but were caught in the nets that spread into places they had assumed to be safe havens, such as France and Holland. It's a fascinating read, both uplifting and frightening.
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LibraryThing member altesschwein
The author writes about how his parents -- both talented musicians -- coped with the Nazis and escaped the Holocaust. But they paid a price.
LibraryThing member Jamie638
This is the true story of two Jewish professional musicians and how they met, fell in love, survived in, and ultimately escaped from Nazi Germany. They were former-NPR music commentator Martin Goldsmith's ("Performance Today") parents. I found it an extremely moving testimonial to the power of
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music to bring people together and manage in the most difficult of circumstances. By the way, the title is the nickname of the Danish composer Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 4.
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LibraryThing member pine1211
Great story describing an often forgotten part of history in Germany during the 1930's and early 40's. What happened to music and other cultural aspects of Jewish life under Hitler and how some were able to survive, find love and emigrate to other countries.
LibraryThing member DirtPriest
Mr. Goldsmith, a long time voice on NPR and XM Radio's Classical music station, writes the tale of his parents' survival in the mostly prewar years in Nazi germany. They emigrated to the US in 1941. While in Germany, they performed in the Kulturbund, an all Jewish orchestra and theater group that
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was maintained at the whim of Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda. His mother was a violist (not a violinist) and his father played the flute. Along the way, the stories of other family members are told, not all of them have happy endings. They were Jews in a country that operated Auschwitz and Treblinka, among other centers of pure horror. The story was touching on several levels, both good and bad, and is one of the most emotional books that I have ever read.

I really doubt that I'll ever understand the depths of hate that sparked the whole holocaust and underpinned the Nazi Party, but it really boils down to money. The German nation had to pay such a huge indemnity after WWI that it bankrupted their economy. Lets blame the Westerners and the Jews, and our own government at that. Hitler rode that tired old horse as far as he could. Luckily for us, he was both an egomaniac and a strategic dolt, but the stain he left on his adopted nation (he was Austrian and at least a quarter Jewish himself) may never be cleansed.
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LibraryThing member billsearth
This is a biography of George Gunther Goldsmith, the father of the author. Much of the forst third occurs in Germany before Hitler. The second third is also in Germany but during the Hitler period. The final third occurs after the author's parents emigrate to America, first to St. Louis, then
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Because the symphony is highlighted as a title, I assumed it was a larger part of the story than it was. It is called the Kulterbund by the author, not the Indistinguishable Symphony and it lasted only about 5 years from origin to disbanding. So I rate this book a 3.5 instead of a 5 for having a misleading title.

I did not purchase it to hear of the Nazi persecution, which I have read some better books on, such as " The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I was hoping to get more of the orchestra from the other players, not just the parents of the author, and a few friends and a few directors.

Still, it is ok for showing the Nazi persecution of non-Arians, but a little weak on individual musicians during that time with the exception of the author's parents.
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LibraryThing member suesbooks
The story was better than the writing. I found a lot of details unnecessary, and there were also other parts of the experience that I wish were more detailed. I'm sure this was a difficult book to write and appreciate learning about the lives of the Goldsmiths.


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