En 2000 il est en visite à Speyer. Il joue "Kol haSchana" en souvenir de 1937, dans le hall du conseil
.Les élèves de l'école de musique Nikolaus-von-Weis-Gymnasium interprètent
En automne cette même année Cahn est de nouveau à Speyer. L'association historique du Palatinat, la chorale et les Instrumentistes de Speyer demandent à jouer un morceau composé par Cahn il y a 60 ans dans le Camp de Gurs „Wir sind ganz junge Bäumchen“. Alfred Cahn se charge de l'accompagnement au piano des répétitions. Le Dr. Paul Schädler, président de l'association, est si impressionné par la composition qu'il souhaite réaliser un enregistrement. La pièce sera au coeur d'un CD.
Le 27 janvier 2001 pour l'anniversaire des victimes du nazisme, Alfred Cahn se trouve à nouveau par hasard à Speyer. Il dirige encore les répétitions de la chorale et de l'orchestre. Pour ses 80 ans, le 27 Mars 2002, Cahn reçoit ,en cadeau, la première copie du CD de la part du maire de Speyer, Werner Schineller.
De plus, sur le CD se trouve la version révisée par Cahn „Bäumchen-Lied" sous le titre
"Ein Lied, gesungen gestern und heute, ein Lied über die Zeiten hinweg". La version originale est née
dans le Camp de Gurs,
où Alfred Cahn a participé à l'orchestre et a conduit la chorale d'enfant. La
musique „Wir sind ganz junge Bäumchen“ a été composée par le Cahn et le texte écrit
par son camarade de destin Leopold Rauch. La version révisée a été jouée par la chorale et de l'orchestre du Nikolaus-von-Weis-Gymnasiums sous la conduite
de Franz-Georg Rössler en mars 2000.
Musique d'exil (en production) - chapitre 1 - Alfred Khan - 2008
Quelques semaines après leur arrivée au pouvoir en 1933, les Nazis évincent
les Juifs de la scène musicale au nom de la pureté de la race aryenne. Privés de
moyens d'expression et de subsistance, certains compositeurs clairvoyants
décident de prendre le chemin de l’exil, car vivre sur le sol allemand ne leur
paraît plus possible. Malheureusement, l'émigration coûte cher et se heurte aux
quotas imposés par de nombreux pays. La France, symbole des droits de l'Homme et
de la liberté, ne déroge pas à sa tradition d'accueil des réfugiés politiques et
devient naturellement l'une de leurs principales destinations. Paris, en
particulier, attire les compositeurs, car c'est la capitale culturelle de
l'époque. . Parmi les milliers de compositeurs considérés comme "dégénérés" par
les Nazis,notre documentaire souhaite traiter du destin de certains d'entre-eux,
ceux pour qui le contact avec la France a été d'une richesse inégalée pour le
patrimoine français ( le tandem Joseph Kosma /Jacques Prévert , Norbert
Glanzberg/Edith Piaf), ceux pour qui la France a donné un souffle nouveau à
leur musique (Kurt Weill) ceux pour qui au contraire cet exil a été une prise
de conscience douloureuse (Arnold Schoenberg et le désintéressement pour la
musique qui s'en est suivi au détriment d'un combat politique) ou même une
tragédie (Erich Itor Kahn et les camps d'internement français, sauvé in extremis
par la filière Varian Fry). Pour nous raconter cette histoire dans le Paris
musical, clandestin et noir de la période de la deuxième guerre mondiale, notre
narrateur et fil conducteur sera Amaury du Closel, musicien et chef d'orchestre
qui a décidé de consacrer sa vie et son oeuvre à ces musiques dites dégénérées".
Organisant des concerts, effectuant des recherches auprès des enfants et des petits-enfants de ces compositeurs victimes. Il s'est donné pour mission de ressusciter des oeuvres entières effacées par la nazification culturelle du répertoire européen. Amaury du Closel a écrit un livre de référence sur cette thématique : " les Voix étouffées du troisième Reich", publié chez Actes Sud. Entre passé ( les cinq compositeurs dits "dégénérés" susmentionnés) et présent (les actions d'Amaury du Closel), ce documentaire a pour ambition de susciter l'intérêt de ce pan de l'histoire musicale peu connu du grand public.
Author: CROCKER STEPHENSON Staff Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Publication: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Publish Date: April 25 & 28, 2006
There are things he could never forget First of two parts
Alfred Cahn plays an old song. Outside his living room window is the
loveliest of days. The song is lovely, too. The window is a rectangle of light.
Light collects in the lenses of Alfred Cahn's glasses. He is 84 years old, a piano teacher living in Whitefish Bay. I cannot see his eyes through his illuminated glasses. I imagine his eyes are closed. Maybe not. The song is so lovely. And it has a story.
Cahn was 15 years old when he played this song on the organ of his synagogue in Speyer, an ancient city in southwest Germany. Cahn and his family lived around the corner from the synagogue, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary.
A year later, on the day the Nazis came to arrest Cahn, his father and all the Jewish men they could find, Cahn watched the synagogue burn to the ground. Firefighters stood by to make sure neighboring houses didn't burn. Smoke from the synagogue went into the air and vanished, though the memory of Speyer's burning synagogue remains with Cahn, the way that certain songs remain with us until we die.
Cahn is an old man with many memories. One of them is this:
His mother is dying. He is almost 8. The night before her death, the night before his birthday, she pulls him into her bed and gathers him into her arms. He remembers the pillows. Soft. He remembers what his mother told him: "I will always watch over you."
Cahn and his father remained at Dachau for six weeks. Jews died all around them. The dead were taken to the crematorium and burned. Cahn remembers the smoke. When Cahn and his father were released, they were told to leave Germany immediately.
Instead, they resettled in Duisburg, near the German border with Holland. Cahn went on to Holland. His father remained in Duisburg and remarried. His father and stepmother had a son. The boy was 7 months old when the entire family was deported to a death camp in Poland and killed.
From Holland, Cahn went to Belgium. In a refugee camp near Brussels, he and other musicians formed a small orchestra. Cahn begun to study music under the great pianist Stefan Askenase. He was 18 when, in the spring of 1940, the Nazis swept into Belgium. Cahn's father was still alive that spring and wrote Cahn a letter. It would be many years before Cahn would receive it.
Cahn slips the letter out of its envelope and unfolds it on the dining room table. He reads from it out loud, translating from German into English: "Again I send my heartfelt greeting and kisses, and I remain as always your loving . . . "
Cahn stops. The word he is trying to translate is dichliebender, and he can't find an English word that satisfies its nuanced meaning. Faithful. True. Loyal. His father was all these things. The meaning of the word is like smoke. It has vanished into something only his memory can contain.
Cahn places his hand on the letter, the last words that his father directed toward him. He is unable to speak.
Nazis couldn’t stop music that gave hope
Alfred Cahn was 18 when, in the spring of 1940, having fled Nazi Germany to
Holland, then Belgium, he found himself transported to an internment camp
erected on a Mediterranean beach in southern France (Saint-Cyprien ?).
Two things sustain him: The promise his mother had made the night before she
died she promised to always watch over him and music. He saw his mother's hand
in every narrow escape. In music, he found transcendence.
Another musician in the camp agreed to teach Cahn harmonic theory. They had no instruments, of course. They drew bars and notes on the sand. The tide would come in and erase everything. They were so hungry that they tore pieces of wood from their barracks and ate them. Many died of typhoid.
Cahn was transported to another camp: Gurs, near the Pyrenees. The conditions at Gurs are famously appalling, and the prisoners there are famously creative. Some of Europe's finest artists, turned by the war into refugees, were thrown together at Gurs. They wrote poetry, put on plays, concerts and cabarets.
Cahn organized a children's choir. Men, women and children were separated from each other, and Cahn figured the choir might be a way for parents to at least see their children. Cahn wrote the music and a friend wrote the lyrics to a song still sung by European children. It goes in part:
Parents watched their children sing, and though they were but a few feet away,
they could not touch them. At least they knew their children were OK. Two girls
in the choir still write Cahn. They are in their 70s now. Grandmothers.
At yet another camp in France, Rivesaltes, Cahn organized an adult and children's choir. And it was at Rivesaltes that Cahn, then 20, was offered his freedom. He and any friend of his choosing would be given passage to Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a small village in the mountains of south central France whose residents, at great peril, provided hundreds of Jewish refugees with shelter, food and education.
Cahn told his would-be liberators that he could not choose a friend. All were friends, he told them. None were enemies. He was told he had to choose. He did.
Those friends he left in Rivesaltes, Cahn says, died.
At Le Chambon, Cahn studied piano, wrote music and fell in love. That winter, he crossed the mountains into Switzerland. He applied to the Geneva Conservatory, one of the greatest in Europe. A penniless immigrant, he was accepted and remained at the school for six years.
When the war ended, Cahn and his fiance, Ilse, immigrated to the United States. They married in New York on Nov. 24, 1948. After the wedding, the two shared a sandwich they purchased from a machine. It was their wedding banquet.
Cahn sits down again at his piano. He is about to play, but stops. The living
room window is still a rectangle of light.
He says that over the years he has written many, many pieces of music. Religious. Secular. Most recently, a love song. He asks if I would like to hear it, before I go.