Origins of Palestine Symphony Members

The Palestine Symphony Orchestra was made up of Jewish musicians from the top ranks of orchestra and chamber music groups across Europe. Nearly 80 musicians joined, with only a few already living in Palestine. Those who moved from Europe brought their families, which meant Bronislaw Huberman’s efforts to found the orchestra under the threat of a pending Holocaust ultimately saved nearly 1,000 lives. It was not an easy decision for musicians to leave their homes and professional associations in Europe and move to Palestine, a desert land in political transition since the end of World War I. But particularly in Germany, Jewish musicians had lost positions in orchestras because of their ethnicity. As early as 1933, Hitler ordered the firing of Jewish musicians and his anti-Semitic policies increasingly became laws that stripped Jews of their civil rights.
Click map points to see names of members and orchestras they played for prior to 1936.

Not shown on map: The U.S., where two members played, and Argentina, where one member once performed. Countries of origin for 10 founding symphony members are unconfirmed.

Orchestra concert programs do not often list many details about its members. The 1936/37 season opening concert program of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra listed the musicians by instrument section, and cited the music group each member had performed with previously, nearly all in Europe, as well as their teaching distinctions. Below are the names of members as listed in that historic program.

Original Orchestra Members Listed in 1936/37 Opening Concert

Boris Rogoff, second violins. Philharmonic Orchestra Buenos Aires

Felix Galimir, first violins. Leader of the Galimir Quartett and of the Vienna Concert-Orchestra
David Grünschlag, first violins. Vienna Concert-Orchestra
Heinrich Haftel, first violins. Vienna Concert-Orchestra
Alfred Lunger, first violins. Vienna Concert-Orchestra
Lotte Hammerschlag, violas. Leader, Vienna Concert-Orchestra
Renée Galimir, violas. Member of Galimir Quartett
Dr. Hans Levitus, clarinet. First Clarinet, National Theatre Linz
Gustav Totzler, tuba. Orchester-Verein, Vienna

Szlomo Bor, second violin. Symphony Orchestra Prague
Oskar Heller, trombone. National Theatre Kosice

Schulamith Silber-Chajes, first violins. Broadcasting Orchestra Paris
Ben Ami Silber, second violins. Broadcasting Orchestra Paris
Aszer Borochow, second violins. Orchestra Cortôt Paris

Rudolf Bergmann, leader, first violins. Leader, Municipal Orchestra, Wiesbaden; New Opera, Hamburg
Basia Polischuk, first violins. Leader, Jüdische Kulturbund, Berlin
Andreas Weissgerber, first violins. Germany (immigrated to Palestine 1933).
Klecki Mnasza, second violins. Gewandthaus Leipzig
Harry Blumberg, violas. Berlin String Quartet
Jacob Bernstein, violoncelli. Leader, Philharmonic Orchestra Stockholm; Leipzig Symphony Orchestra
Ary Schuyer, violoncelli. Leader, Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra
Albert Katz, violoncelli. Leader, Leipzig Symphony Orchestra
Josef Weissgerber, violoncelli. Germany (immigrated to Palestine 1933).
Ernst Boehm, bass. Leader, Broadcasting Orchestra Cologne; Orchestra Jüdische Kulturbund, Frankfurt a. M.
Salomon Engelsman, flute. First flute, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra
Erich Toeplitz, flute. Orchestra Jüdische Kulturbund, Frankfurt a. M.
Heinrich Zimmermann, clarinet. First Clarinet, Orchestra Jüdische Kulturbund, Frankfurt a. M.; Municipal Orchestra Wiesbaden
Horst Salomon, horn. First Horn, Orchestra Jüdische Kulturbund, Berlin
Wolf Sprecher, horn. Opera and Municipal Orchestra Saarbrücken
Mischa Rakier, trumpet. Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra; Municipal Orchestra Saarbrücken
Heinrich Schiefer, trombone. First Trombone, Orchestra Jüdische Kulturbund, Berlin
Kurt Sommerfeld, timpani. Berlin Kulturbund Orchestra

Mordechai Pinski, bass. Professor at the Conservatory of Music in Tiflis (Tblisi, Georgia, today, in 1936, part of Russia).

Lorand Fényves, first violins. Second Leader, Budapest Concert-Orchestra and Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra
Alice Fényves, violas. Budapest Municipal Orchestra
Dr. Laszlo Vincze, violoncelli. Leader, Budapest Concert-Orchestra
Tibor Silk, horn. First Horn, Budapest Concert-Orchestra

Adolfo Farnesi, bass. Leader, Broadcasting Orchestra Rome
Hans Sachs, trumpet. First Trumpet, Orchestra Municipale San Remo

Israel Segall, timpani. Symphony Orchestra and Opera, Riga

Salomon van den Berg, oboe. “Residenz-Orchestra” The Hague.
Louis Staal, clarinet. First Clarinet, Haag’sche Symphony Orchestra
Josef Samson de Groen, bassoon. First Bassoon, Philharmonic Orchestra Groningen

Mieczyslaw Fliederbaum, first violins. Leader, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Jacob Surowicz, second violins. Leader, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Moszek Lewak, second violins. Leader, Philharmonic Lodz
Mosze Sztyglic, second violins. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Alfred Ginzbarg, second violins. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Liftman Boruch, second violins. Opera Warsaw
Pelssach Ginzbarg, violas. Leader, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Bloeslaw Ginbarg, violoncelli. Leader, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Abraham Wenger, bass. Leader, Philharmonic Orchestra Lodz
Leon Szulc, bassoon. First Bassoon, Vienna State Opera; Professor of the Warsaw Conservatory
Bronislaw Szulc, horn. Frist Horn, Warsaw Opera; Professor of the Warsaw Conservatory; Conductor of the Scottish Orchestra in Glasgow and the Lodz Philharmonic Orchestra
Zwi Feldmann, trumpet. Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
Michal Podemski, trombone. First Trombone, Philharmonic Orchestra Lodz
Bronzislaw Ginzbarg, timpani. Broadcasting Orchestra Warsaw

Seew Mirkin, bass. Leader, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (today’s St. Petersburg)

Dea Gombrich, first violins. Adolf Busch Chamber-Orchestra

Jaroslaw Front, violas. Leader, Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera, Zagreb. (Yugoslavia in 1936)

Marek Rak, first violin. Leader, Lemberg Philharmonic Orchestra and Opera (Lemberg is now Lviv in Ukraine)

United States
Jacob Shumer, flute. First flute, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Josef Marx, oboe. First oboe, Symphony Orchestra Dayton, Ohio; Broadcasting Station Cincinnati, Ohio

No associations given in program

Joseph Bernstein, first violins
Raja Berson, second violins
Selmar Chasin, second violins
Dora Loeb, violas
Chaim Bor, violas
Adolfo Odnoposoff, violoncelli
Chaim Bodenstajn, violoncelli