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

Coco Schumann, a jazz guitarist who survived Nazi concentration camps to return to his musical career, has died. 

By: AP and World Israel News Staff

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

The German dpa news agency reported Monday that his record label Trikont said Schumann died Sunday in Berlin.

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 at the age of 19.

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

Schumann lost his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in the Holocaust, while his parents survived. His father, a convert to Judaism, had ingeniously succeeded in keeping his Jewish wife hidden from the Nazis by declaring her dead after a disastrous fire

After the war Schumann immigrated to Australia before returning to Berlin in the mid-1950s and re-establishing his career, becoming a celebrated Jazz guitarist.

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