Reparations: A German Music Foundation Reaches Out to Right a Wrong Done Long Ago

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

 

These days, reparations are a hot topic.

Here’s a story apart from the usual discussion.

As America debates money or opportunity reserved for its black citizenry due to historic slavery, in Germany, they’re addressing a different sort of shame.

As noted by The Daily Wire, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar is a classical music foundation in the Federal Republic.

And the organization recently attempted a small amount of justice — to the degree that Hitler’s evil could ever be in any way addressed.

Nothing — of course — could make right the horrors of the Holocaust.

Millions of innocents were murdered, and one life snuffed out is too many.

Still, in an effort to do good, the foundation located relatives of Emma Frankenbacher, a German woman killed at the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Her family was living in Argentina.

Before Emma’s death, she possessed two scores handwritten by composer Franz Liszt.

At the time, she was made to sell the documents to a German museum.

Per The Associated Press, the Klassik Stiftung Weimer — which “focuses on the era of Weimar Classicism and its effects on the art and culture of the 19th century” — collects manuscripts of the musician.

Therefore, the foundation charitably compensated Emma’s relatives for the tyrannical transaction.

From the AP:

Klassik Stiftung Weimar said Wednesday that researchers were able to trace relatives of Emma Frankenbacher living in Argentina, where her daughter and son-in-law had fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s.

Frankenberger, who died at 67 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, sold the two handwritten manuscripts to a Liszt museum in 1937 for 150 Reichsmark (about $370 at the time).

Such transactions are usually considered forced sales, as Jews had no other option but to agree to often very low prices.

Klassik Stiftung Weimar came to an agreement with Emma’s family to rightfully buy the scores on behalf of the museum.

It’s a drop of good in an ocean of bad, but in my opinion, the gesture honors a woman in a way that is admirable and kind.

Here in the States, reparations generally distinguish themselves from that of the foundation’s efforts by largely focusing on taxpayer funding.

Yet, a bit of the the USA’s civil rights conversation and the Holocaust were recently joined: As I covered in November, a Florida Holocaust museum set up an installation in honor of Minnesota resident George Floyd.

The exhibit found its fair share of controversy:

Back to Germany, Klassik Stiftung Weimar didn’t disclose its purchase price.

No amount or action can turn back time or heal wounds nearly a century old.

Those most affected are either no longer here or bear burdens too embedded to be soothed.

Nonetheless, for Emma Frankenbacher, someone reached out in symbolic respect.

Wherever you are, Emma, I hope you heard it. Saw it. Felt it.

And you knew, despite those long ago who wished you to never be remembered…the world hasn’t forgotten you.

Or any of those who perished by your side.

-ALEX

 

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