Oskar Baum

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Oskar Baum (January 21, 1883 in Pilsen – March 20, 1941 in Prague) was a Czech music educator and writer. Baum was the son of a Jewish cloth goods merchant in Prague. He suffered with vision problems from the time of his birth. At eight, he lost the sight in one eye and at the age of eleven, during a scuffle, he lost his sight completely. Since he could no longer participate in the school, the class teacher sent him to Vienna to the Israelite Institute for the Blind, a high school. There he trained as a music consultant and learned the organ and piano. In 1902, he put aside his teaching degree and returned to Prague. Baum earned his living as an organist and cantor in a synagogue; later he became a piano teacher.

In 1904, Baum made the acquaintance of Max Brod with Franz Kafka and Felix Weltsch. The three became close friends with Baum, and after Baum's marriage to Margaret Schnabel, the couple’s apartment became the meeting place of the Prague Circle. Here, the friends engaged in reading each other's literary texts, but they were also enthusiastic about exploring foreign texts and chamber music. During this time, a lively correspondence between Kafka and Baum began.


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