A Violinist Who Refused Hitler

A new biography reminds us that the late, great German violinist Adolf Busch should also be remembered as leading the short list of musicians who refused to kowtow to Adolf Hitler.

Virtually all of the other big names in Austro-German music, including Wilhelm Furtwängler, Walter Gieseking, Herbert von Karajan, Carl Orff and Richard Strauss, stayed behind, some because they were active supporters of Hitler and others because they thought that the Nazis would dry up and blow away. Mr. Busch knew better. In a prophetic letter, he wrote, "Some of them believe that if they only 'play along,' the atrocities and injustice that are part and parcel of the movement will be tempered, can be turned around…they do not notice that they can only have a retarding effect, that the atrocities will still take place, only perhaps a bit later."

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