UNTIL OCTOBER 8, 2023:
“Emmy Rubensohn, Networker and Music Patron –
from Leipzig to New York”
GRASSI Museum in Leipzig, Germany
This is a fantastic find: two necklaces made by Emmy Rubensohn (1884-1961), who had fled Nazi persecution to Shanghai. Knotting different pearl necklaces provided her with a meager income. In April 1946, Emmy writes to Otto Rubensohn, “I’m still busy. I threaded and knotted different pearl necklaces at ladies. Also a 3-row at a jewelry store. The little ones in the middle, the big ones on the outside, and the 3 chains hung into one antique big gold clasp, fastened on both shoulders.”
The same year, the violinist and fellow refugee Ferdinand Adler, concertmaster of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, ordered a pearl necklace for his wife and a coral necklace for his one-year-old daughter Christina.
Come see the original necklaces in the exhibition! Thank you, Christina Adler, for lending them.
After Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany, violinist Ferdinand Adler (1903-1952), who was Jewish, was arrested and brought to Dachau Concentration Camp, where he remained until May 1939. In the same year, he fled to Shanghai. He became one of the city’s most famous musicians, was appointed concertmaster of the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra, and taught as a professor for violin at the Shanghai National Conservatory of Music.
Every weekend in 1946 and 1947, Adler traveled 200 kilometres to Changzhou to teach Chinese orphans at a makeshift music school set up inside a temple. This had a lasting influence on the children, and China’s musical culture.
In 1947, he returned to Vienna with his family.
Trude Adler with daughter Christina, Shanghai 1947. Courtesy Christina Adler
The exhibition is organized by the GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde, the GRASSI Museum für Musikinstrumente, and the Fritz Ascher Society in New York.
Patron of the exhibition is Ken Toko, US Consul General of Middle Germany.