"Rhythmus" - Jazz in the Concentration Camp Buchenwald

Concert, Monday April 11th, 7 p.m., Notenbank, Weimar

There had been a jazz orchestra in the Buchenwald concentration camp since 1943, in which a total of 23 musicians from 9 different countries played together until their liberation in 1945. Czech prisoners around Jiří Žák took the initiative to found this orchestra in the summer of 1943, they made up the largest portion of musicians (10 in total). Among the French prisoners who had been deported to Buchenwald in large numbers since January 1944 were famous musicians who later joined the orchestra: one of them played in the orchestra of the Lido in Paris, another appeared as bandleader of the Buchenwald jazz orchestra and wrote the most arrangements. Another Frenchman appeared as the band's singer and made a career on Broadway after the war.

The event shows, through letters and reports, how the orchestra, which called itself the "Rhythmus", came into being, under what conditions it was able to rehearse and perform. Two programs are known to have been performed in November 1944 and on April 19, 1945, eight days after the liberation of the camp, including compositions by Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and pieces by Cole Porter, Fats Waller, Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong. The Big Band of the "Hochschule für Musik" under the direction of Prof. Gero Schmidt-Oberländer will perform 10 pieces from this collection.

A concert of the "Weimar Rendez-vous mit der Geschichte", the Institut Français en Thuringe and the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar, supported by the Weimar Residence and the German-Czech Future Fund.