Why were the Jewish musicians not allowed to play music by Beethoven?
Night is Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel's memoir of his experiences in the Nazi death camps of World War II while still a teenager. The book chronicles his final days in the ghetto of Sighet, Poland and transfer to Auschwitz and then Buchenwald. Wiesel is originally deported to Birkenau and then to the infamous Auschwitz. After a short time at Auschwitz, he and his father are transferred to Buna, a work camp. It is at Buna that Wiesel and his father are placed in a cell block with several musicians. The musicians played in a marching band and also worked in a warehouse with electrical equipment.
Several of the Jews in this block were "distinguished" musicians before the war. It is Louis, a violinist from Holland, who tells Wiesel that the Germans would not allow the Jews to play music written by Germans such as Beethoven. The Nazis worshipped the music of Beethoven and some historians misleadingly labeled the great composer an anti-semite, though there is not a shred of evidence to back this claim. Wagner too has often been labeled as anti-semitic, but this idea is also dubious, despite the fact Hitler loved his music and the composer is sometimes credited with influencing German National Socialism.