Jazz musician, Nazi camp survivor Coco Schumann dies at 93
search
Obituary

Jazz musician, Nazi camp survivor Coco Schumann dies at 93

German Jew who was shipped to Auschwitz to entertain the guards credits music with saving him from the gas chambers

In this Aug. 16, 1997 file photo Jazz musician Coco Schumann is pictured in Berlin, Germany. (Florian_Frank/dpa via AP, file)
In this Aug. 16, 1997 file photo Jazz musician Coco Schumann is pictured in Berlin, Germany. (Florian_Frank/dpa via AP, file)

Heinz Jakob “Coco” Schumann, a jazz guitarist who survived Nazi concentration camps to return to his musical career in Berlin after World War II, has died. He was 93.

His record label Trikont said Schumann died Sunday in Berlin, the dpa news agency reported Monday.

Schumann made a name for himself as a young musician in Berlin’s underground jazz and swing scene in the 1930s. He was arrested in 1943 after authorities learned his mother was Jewish, and deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia.

#Jazz #BirthdaysHeinz Jakob "Coco" Schumann (born 14 May 1924) is a German jazz musician.Schumann was born in Berlin,…

Posted by Jass Birthdays on Saturday, 14 May 2016

There, he played in a band known as the “Ghetto Swingers” before being transferred to Auschwitz in 1944, where he played music to entertain guards.

After the war he emigrated to Australia, before returning to Berlin in the mid-1950s and re-establishing his career.

Schumann was featured in a 2013 documentary called “Refuge in Music,” about the life of Jewish musicians, composers and artists under the Third Reich.

He recounts his terrifying first hours at Auschwitz, and said that being a musician ultimately saved him from the gas chambers.

“I’m so grateful to music for saving my life,” Schumann said.

Throughout his long career, he played with many famous artists including Marlene Dietrich, Ella Fitzgerald, and Helmut Zacharias, and founded his own Coco Schumann Quartet.

read more:
comments