Jewish Music & Poetry Project

Poets & Musicians

Pavel Haas, comopser

Pavel Haas (1899-1944) was born in Brno, Moravia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Brother to film actor Hugo Haas—with whom he collaborated on several occasions—Pavel studied with Janáček and shared the Smetana Award for his opera, The Charlatan with Kaprálová.  Before he was deported to the concentration camp in Theresienstadt he divorced his wife, Sonja, so that she and their daughter would escape his fate, and it is said that he was lifted out of a deep depression after arriving in Theresienstadt when Gideon Klein urged him to compose, placing blank music paper in front of him. After the Red Cross visit to Theresienstadt and the completion of the musical propaganda film project, in which Haas takes a bow after a performance of his Study for Strings, he was deported to Auschwitz, along with Jewish composers Ullmann, Klein, and others, where he was immediately killed. His last composition, Four Songs on Chinese Poetry, was composed in the concentration camp and is considered to be one of his many masterpieces.