Austrian parliament bars Holocaust song by Theodorakis
LAST UPDATED: 05/15/2011 03:21
Earlier this year 'Zorba the Greek' composer publicly described himself as ‘anti-Israel and anti-Semitic,’ blamed ‘Zionists’ for Greece’s economic woes.
MIKIS THEODORAKIS Photo: Reuters
BERLIN – The president of Austria’s National Council pulled the plug on the song
“Mauthausen Trilogy,” which was slated to be sung at a Holocaust remembrance
event in Vienna on May 5, because of the songwriter’s anti-Jewish
Barbara Prammer said that she was “made aware of alleged
anti-Semitic statements from Mr. Theodorakis,” and that “without being able to
examine the content” decided to change the music program, Austrian media
reported late last week.
'Zorba the Greek' composer: I’m anti-Semitic
Mikis Theodorakis achieved global fame with his
musical score to the 1964 film Zorba the Greek. Earlier this year, he declared
on Greek television that he was “anti-Israel and
“Everything that happens today in the world has to do with
the Zionists,” the composer said. He asserted that “American Jews are behind the
world economic crisis that has hit Greece also.”
Theodorakis also slammed
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou for establishing closer relations with
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who was guilty, he said, of “war crimes in
Lebanon and Gaza.”
The “Mauthausen Trilogy” was composed by the
86-year-old member of the Greek Communist Party in 1965 to the poem by Mauthausen
death camp survivor Iakovos Kambanellis (1922-2011). Recordings of the “Trilogy”
have been translated into Hebrew.
Victor Eliezer, a spokesman for the
Greek Jewish community, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, “After the
cancellation, the Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece issued an
announcement expressing respect for Theodorakis’s composition of “Mauthausen,”
but also grief because of his recent anti- Semitic remarks.”
published an open letter defending his hatred of Zionism, but denied that he was
anti- Semitic, according to Eliezer.
“Theodorakis sent a letter to the
board, that was published in the Greek media, in which he tried to prove that he
is not an anti-Semite, he is a friend of the Jewish people and he hates
anti-Semitism as he hates Zionism. At the end of his letter he claims that his
recent remark during an interview that ‘I am anti- Semite’ was just a wrong use
of word,” Eliezer wrote.
Karl Pfeifer, an Austrian Jewish journalist and
a leading expert on modern anti- Semitism in Central Europe, told the Post,
“Theodorakis is a self-confessed anti-Semite. But at the same time he is
also a great composer. So it is justified to oppose his anti-Semitism. But how
about his music? Should we also reject the music of Chopin because he was an
“Should we not concentrate on really important issues? Is it a
victory that his music will not be played in a city where the city council one
year ago unanimously condemned Israel because of the killing of nine violent
Turkish Islamists? So many questions and no answer.”
was to the Vienna city council’s resolution blasting Israel for its seizure of
the Gaza protest flotilla last May.
The council was the first European
legislative body to unanimously blast Israel’s measures against violent
jihadists aboard the Mavi Marmara. Israeli Ambassador Aviv Shir-On told the Post
at the time he told the speaker of the Vienna city council that the resolution
was “onesided” and that “if the the Arab countries in the UN said the earth was
flat, they would take it as part of their resolution.”
prompted a number of Jews to resign from the Austrian Social Democratic party.