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Joseph Schmidt

1904 - 1942

The singer and actor Joseph Schmidt was born in Davideny, Bukovina, Austria-Hungary in those time.
In spite of a height of 1.54 Joseph Schmidt became one of the most dazzling singing stars of his time. He visited regularly most fashionable hotels in Europe and USA, and evoked much affection from his listeners.

His first vocal training was as a classic Hebrew singer in the local synagogue in Cernowitz.
At twenty he was sent to Berlin where he studied voice with Frau Dr. Jaffe and Professor Hermann Weissenborn. He was conscripted for military service from 1926 till 1929, afterwards he was albe to concentrate to his career again.

With an engagement for a German radio broadcast began his successful international career.
His popularity was so great that he even took part in several very successul musicals, e.g. "Ein Lied geht um die Welt (33) with Viktor de Kowa and "Heut' ist der schönste Tag in meinem Leben" (36).
His comet-like rise clashed with the rise of the Nazis. They were taking control of the Government and instituting cultural bans on Jewish artists, writers and performers. Now Joseph Schmidt was confronted with a hostile surrounding.

The days that came with the Nazis was everything else than pleasant. As a Jew he had already to escape from the Nazis in 1933 and fled to Vienna. There he could stay for the next five years but then the Nazis caught up with. He escaped again, this time to Bruxelles and 1940 to France. As war erupted he tried to make his way to Switzerland but his effort failed twice and he was sent back. Finally he didn't have any other chance than to enter Switzerland illegal.

He got accommodation by friends in Zurich. Despite the dissuasion of his friends he reported himself to the police because he didn't want to violate the law of the country which saved him from certain death. He was sent to the internment camp Girenbad (it was the last station of his life) where he had to wait for the asylum decree.

Finally Joseph Schmidt caught a cold. He was hospitalised at the Kantonsspital Zurich. He was released two weeks later, his complaints about  ache in the chest area as simulation. His state of health deteriorated. During a walk he entered a restaurant where he wanted to warm up. There he succumbed a heart attack and died.

On the 16th November 1942 the heart of Joseph Schmidt knocked off beating, a wonderful voice became silent for ever.

Other movies with Joseph Schmidt:
Der Liebesexpress/Acht Tage Glück (31) Goethe lebt...! (32) Gehetzte Menschen/Steckbrief Z (32) Wenn du jung bist, gehört dir die Welt (34) Ein Stern fällt vom Himmel (34)