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The Dunera Boys / Albrecht Dümling: Vanished Musicians


The Dunera Boys / Albrecht Dümling: Vanished Musicians

  • Date: Sunday, 28 August 2016, 2:30pm
  • Venue: Jewish Museum of Australia — 26 Alma Road, St Kilda, VIC
  • Tickets: $15/$20 — Tickets can be purchased online

Event Details

Most of the 9,000 German-Jewish refugees, who arrived in Australia between 1933 and 1945, had chosen this distant continent as a safe haven. But in an uncanny repetition of history, the 2,500 Dunera boys, who went ashore in September 1940, had been deported against their will.  The Melbourne composer George Dreyfus, who came here on a Kindertransport, belongs to the first group, his colleague Felix Werder to the second. In light of the Jewish Museum’s extensive collection of objects from the Dunera era, we are proud to present this very unique lecture in which Albrecht Dümling, author of The Vanished Musicians Jewish refugees in Australia, will portray both composers and discuss whether the different forms of arrival influenced their attitude towards Australia. The lecture will be illustrated by music of both composers. Speakers: Dr Albrecht Dümling and Mr George Dreyfus AM

Music by: Felix Werder, George Dreyfus AM and Hans Blau
Chair: Rabbi Dr. John Levi AM  DD, Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Beth Israel

Concert Music for Five Solo Instruments by Felix Werder AM performed by Johanna Selleck (flute), Kaija Mitchell (oboe), Tim Garlick (clarinet), Tom Campbell (french horn) and George Dreyfus (bassoon).

The Song of Brother Sun by George Dreyfus AM with Hank Clifton (flute), Kaiya Mitchell (oboe), Joshua Lee (clarinet), Tiffany Street (french horn), George Dreyfus (bassoon), with singers Cassandra Ford (Soprano), Madeleine Casey (Soprano), Susannah Polya (Soprano), Bec Mitchell (Alto) and Alison Lemoh (Alto) under the baton of Robert Dora conductor of the Australian and Asian Orchestra.


The book The Vanished Musicians. Jewish Refugees in Australia, published by Peter Lang, is the newly released English translation of the 2011 German-language publication Die verschwundenen Musiker. Jüdische Flüchtlinge in Australien by Dr Albrecht Dümling, the respected Berlin musicologist and music critic. In his timely book Dr Dümling describes people’s collision with events of more than three quarters of a century ago. With few witnesses left of those times, it is important these events are recorded. It is hard enough for most societies to learn from history, but it is virtually impossible if the past is not documented. Today, Australians enjoy an abundance of musical talent – individual, group, symphonic and operatic. How many appreciate its foreign origins, particularly of the classical genre and in ballet? In his book, Dr Dümling places Australia’s reputation for tolerance, fair-mindedness and multiculturalism under a challenging magnifying glass. The resulting optic is eye-opening and an apt reminder of the adage ‘what goes around, comes around’.

Featured non-Australian music: Blau

Further information for this event is available online at the event's website or by email to arts@sydney.goethe.org

Featured Australian Works

Concert music for five solo instruments, op.60 : wind quintet by Felix Werder
— performed by Johanna Selleck, Kaija Mitchell, Tim Garlick, Tom Campbell and George Dreyfus
Song of brother sun : treble choir with chamber ensemble by George Dreyfus
— performed by Robert Dora

Featured artists

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