Jewish Music & Poetry Project

Poets & Musicians

Gyorgy Justus, composer

Scholar, educator, and musician Agnes Kory writes, "György Justus (or Jusztusz) (Budapest, April 24, 1898 – Budapest, January 1945) was a composer, musicologist and choir master. He was impoverished throughout his life and had to struggle exceptionally hard to survive. Justus studied violin and composition, the latter in Berlin during the 1920s; he returned home in 1927. He published almost thirty substantial papers on music, dance and theatre in Hungarian journals but was mostly interested in folksong research and comparative folklore and in establishing folksong choirs, which he conducted and for which he composed. His choirs also staged works like the Brecht/Weill Threepenny Opera, in which Justus often sang with great success. He played the violin, when one was needed, in the accompanying band. His orchestra regularly performed compositions by many contemporary Hungarian composers..."

"Justus was taken to forced labor in the autumn of 1943. In 1944 he escaped from Transylvania and went into hiding in Budapest. In November the Hungarian Nazis (Arrow Cross) caught him, after which he disappeared. According to some sources he was killed in Budapest in January 1945..."


Hungarian-born Agnes Kory is the founder-director of the Béla Bartók Centre for Musicianship (London), where children as young as two years old, as well as professional musicians, study. Once a professional cellist, she now focuses on research into such topics as Bartók, Kodály, Baroque instrumentation and Music of the Holocaust.