James Simon (composer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

James Simon (29 September 1880 – 12/14 October 1944) was a German composer, pianist and musicologist.


  • Born on 29 September 1880 in Berlin
  • Married on 1 May 1907 to Anna Levy in Berlin
  • Birth of his son, Jörn Martin Simon on 14 September 1910 in Berlin
  • Birth of his son, Ulrich Ernst Simon on 21 September 1913 in Berlin
  • Emigration: 1 April 1933, via Zürich to Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Death of his son, Jörn in 1937 in Russia during the purge of the Moscow Trials
  • Deported from Westerbork 5 April 1944 to Theresienstadt, ghetto
  • Transferred 12 October 1944, to Auschwitz, extermination camp
  • Death: 14 October 1944, Auschwitz, extermination camp - officially declared dead, age 64


James Simon was born into a Jewish family in Berlin and murdered in Auschwitz in 1944 following his internment at Theresienstadt. He studied at the Musikhochschule in Berlin piano (C. Ansorge) and composition (Max Bruch). In 1934 he was forced to leave Germany to Zurich, later Amsterdam where he was arrested and deported to Theresienstadt.[1] From there, on 12 October 1944, James Simon boarded the transport to Auschwitz and died in a gas chamber shortly after his arrival. He was last seen sitting on his suitcase composing music.

His older son, Jörn Martin Simon, died in the purge of the Moscow Trials in 1937. The younger son, Ulrich Ernst Simon, survived, escaping to London, where as a young man he converted to Christianity, and becoming a noted Anglican writer and theologian, and member of the council of King's College, London.[2]

Published works[edit]

While some of Simon's piano pieces, songs and his opera Frau im Stein (1918) (based on Rolf Lauckner’s work) were published, many of his compositions remain unperformed. He is called the "Lost Composer".

His Lamento für Cello und piano (in jemenitischer Weise), Meinem Lieber Martin! (17/18. XII. 1938) was premiered in Prague by Czech cellist František Brikcius as part of the "Weinberger Tour" on 23 April 2007 at the Spanish Synagogue.[3]

A cantata, Ein Pilgermorgen (A Pilgrim’s Morning, 1929-30) for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus and orchestra to a text by Rilke, survives in manuscript.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DeCoste and Schwartz The Holocaust's ghost: writings on art, politics, law, and education "Others who died in Auschwitz, often via Holland and Terezin, were Alfred Kropf, a conductor from Stettin; Magda Spiegel; and composer James Simon, a student of Max Bruch."
  2. ^ The Living church 1978 Ulrich Ernst Simon, a writer and theologian, has been elected by the council of King's College, London, ... His father, a teacher and composer of music in Berlin, was arrested in Amsterdam by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz"
  3. ^ http://www.Brikcius.com - Frantisek Brikcius: Czech Cellist - Project "Weinberger Tour"

External links[edit]