Conference on the Plight of Musicians and Music Scholars in Nazi and Fascist Europe to be held at Magdalen

On the 31st May 2018, the conference Seeking Refuge will take place in the Summer Common Room at Magdalen College, organised by the Music Faculty’s own Prof. Christian Thomas Leitmeir. The rise of Nazism and fascism posed an, often existential, threat to the livelihoods and lives of academics. In order to help those in greatest need, colleagues in the United Kingdom established the Academic Assistance Council, from 1936 turned into Society for Protection of Science and Learning (SPSL), and now known as the Council for At Risk Academics (CARA). Charitable organisations such as these served as the lifeline for countless academics, who were forced to flee, or had to be rescued from, their home countries.

Drawing on the files of the SPSL (now kept in the Bodleian Library) and other archival sources, this workshop conference investigates the biographies of musicians and musicologists in times of political and racial adversity. A position paper by guest speaker David Josephson (Professor Emeritus of Brown University) will lay the grounds for a discussion of individual case studies, presented by researchers and graduate students of the University of Oxford.

The full programme can be found below. No registration is necessary. For further information, please contact Prof. Christian Thomas Leitmeir (

Image: Egon Wellesz in his library in 1938.



Position paper

14.00               David Josephson (Brown University)
The rescue of music scholars from fascist Europe by the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning

Case studies

14.30               Andrew Frampton (Merton College): Leo Schrade and Manfred Bukofzer

Stefanie Arend (New College): Kurt London

Lukas Beck (St Anne’s College): Alfred Einstein

Roger Allen (St Peter’s College): Wilhelm Furtwängler: one who remained

15.30               Coffee break

16.00               Christian Thomas Leitmeir (Magdalen College): Guido Adler’s students at the crossroads

Susan Wollenberg (LMH): Egon Wellesz in Oxford: some reflections

Mia Pistorius (Lincoln College): Friedrich Hartmann

Matthew Thornton (CARA)

17.15               Plenary discussion

18.00               Drinks reception