30. Exodus
Written by Ernest Gold
Performed by The Workshop Musicians
From the album Jazz Jamaica From The Workshop (Port O Jam, Jamaica 1962)


‘[Arendt] insisted that only good had any depth. Good can be radical; evil can never be radical, it can only be extreme, for it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension yet — and this is its horror! — it can spread like a fungus over the surface of the earth and lay waste the entire world. Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil.’

Source: Amos Elon, The Excommunication of Hannah Arendt, the introduction to Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Quoted in Open Source with Christopher Lyon: Hannah Arendt and the Banality of Evil.


On music, migration, and evil.

…of course, the Nazis hated jazz and we imagine Adolf Eichmann was no exception. When Poland won its independence in 1918 jazz became the expression of this new state of freedom – freedom from three hundred years of domination. The first Polish jazz recordings date back to 1923. The music was played, we have read in polishjazz.com, mainly by Jewish musicians, which would have given Eichmann and his colleagues all the more reason to dislike jazz, Polish Jews, and Polish Jews who liked and played jazz.

Among the most popular exponents of Polish jazz were the brothers Artur and Heynrik Gold. We do not know whether they were related to Ernest Gold. We do know that they are connected to Adolf Eichmann; they were among the thousands of Polish Jews that were the subject of forced exile, deportations and executions in which, as you’ll see below, Eichmann played a key role. But before we get to Eichmann, allow us to tell you the story of the Gold brothers.

They were born in Warsaw at the turn of the century, in 1897 and 1903. We know, via http://nfo.net/euro/eg2.html and the Treblinka Roll of Honour at www.deathcamps.org that their mother Helena came from the famous Warsaw klezmer family Melodist, and that their father Michal was one of the first flautists in the Warsaw Opera Orchestra, and also that between them, the Gold brothers wrote many of the tangos that were popular during the 1920s and 30s. Here’s more from info.net:

‘In 1925, Henryk and his brother Artur formed an 8-piece Jazz Band to play at the Cafe Bodega in Warsaw. They were an immediate success, and this lead to a recording contract with the Syrena company. The first records by the Gold Orchestra were issued in 1926 and included such titles as ’Heebie Jeebies’, ‘Oh, Miss Hannah’ and others, as well as the Tangos and Waltzes which were required of any orchestra during the period.

[...] During the 1930s Henryk Gold became the most popular musician in Poland. He was writing songs for films, recording with his orchestra for both Syrena-Electro and Columbia, and joining his brother Artur, and fellow songwriter Jerzy Petersburski (composer of ‘Oh Donna Clara’) in running Adria – a very popular night club in Warsaw. The brothers shared very different fates: ‘In early 1939, Henryk Gold and his Orchestra were invited to be part of the delegation from Poland to the World’s Fair in New York. During their time at the Fair they played for dancers at the Polish Pavilion. The outbreak of war forced Gold and his orchestra to stay in the United States temporarily, which was quite a lucky break for them. Artur Gold was not so fortunate […]’

In 1940 Artur Gold was forced to move to the Warsaw ghetto. In late 1942 he was taken to Treblinka. Looking back at the twentieth century, jazz appears to be the first of the century’s urban, secular, popular music forms to be defined by its synonymity to formal and social freedom, improvised, individual expression and collective practice; it is in this sense, an ethical, moral music. In the Treblinka concentration camp these life-affirming qualities were used to negate the very humanity these aspects of jazz – and jazz itself – sought to uphold.

This is from www.deathcamps.org/reinhard/arsongs.html: a transport from Warsaw arrived. Fifty men were selected, amongst them was the famous Warsaw musician Artur Gold. The moment Küttner ordered fifty young men to be taken out of the transport, the ‘Reds’, who had known Gold back in Warsaw, made sure to include him. There he stood clutching a violin to his chest.

Oscar Stawczynski recalls the orchestra, its conductor and their performances: ‘Gold assumed his work energetically. Quite a large amount of musical instruments were left in the yard by the Jews when they went to the ‘showers’. Only jazz was missing. To rectify this, the SS-Hauptsturmführer Stangl brought back cymbals with him from his vacation. By the order of Kurt Franz white suits with blue collars and lapels were sown for the people in the orchestra in the tailor shop. Gold appeared in a white frock coat with the same decoration, patent leather shoes, pressed pants and a white shirt.”

Gold’s grovelling in front of the SS did not endear him to the other prisoners. Here, from holocaustmusic.ort.org, are a few accounts of Gold at work in Treblinka:

‘Gold managed to get his musicians excused from work detail in order to rehearse; they also received extra rations. The orchestra expanded to include a dancer and several singers, as well as some actresses and theatre artists from Warsaw. Eventually he developed a small jazz band, as well as a mixed chorus that performed songs composed by himself and an anonymous lyricist […]’

‘As we stood at roll call, Gold entranced us with the old melodies he produced with his violin – amidst the sweet, nauseating stench of decomposing bodies which clung to us as if never wanting to part. The smell had become part of our very being; it was all that remained of our families and loved ones, a last remembrance of the Jewish people, exterminated in the gas chambers.’

‘After supper the orchestra plays music in the tailor shop… The sky over and around the camp is red from the fire burning in the tremendous oven that was built lately, and the wind brings the smell of flesh and charred bones… The girls and our ‘cavaliers’ dance to the wonderful sounds of Gold’s orchestra…later, when it grows warmer, the orchestra plays outdoors, near the closed gate. On the other side of the gate, groups of Ukrainians gather and perform their dances. This is a daily event in Treblinka.’

Artur Gold and his musicians were among the last remaining prisoners murdered in Treblinka in 1943, weeks before the camp was liberated.

aka Ricardo Klement

‘By dint of much effort, he [Adolf Eichmann] was eventually recognised as the SD’s (Security Service of the SS) ‘expert’ on Jewish affairs, and in that capacity was sent to Vienna in 1938 following the enforcement of Austria’s merge with Germany, to organise Jewish emigration, a task he performed with such ruthless efficiency that he was subsequently called upon to conduct a similar operation in Prague.

On 27 September 1939, Himmler created the RSHA (Reichssicherheitshauptamt – Reich Security Main Office), unifying the existing conglomeration of security services and police into a single command headed by Heydrich. Eichmann now reported to Heinrich Müller, the chief of the Gestapo, who appointed Eichmann head of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration from the Reich, operating from Berlin.

With the outbreak of war, Eichmann oversaw a fundamental change in policy – from ‘voluntary’ emigration to forced deportation. During 1939-40, he and his team [...] were responsible for the dumping into the Generalgouvernement of thousands of Poles and Jews from the Warthegau, as well as the expulsion of thousands more Jews from the Reich to Nisko, in eastern Poland. These operations provided valuable experience for the mass Europe-wide deportations that were to come.

In March 1941, a reorganisation of the RSHA occurred, as a result of which the Jewish section was designated Department IVB4, with Eichmann as its head. His subsequent activities and responsibility for the death of millions of Jews following the decision to implement the ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question’ in 1941 have been well documented elsewhere.

With the defeat of Germany in 1945, Eichmann, whose criminal activities were scarcely known at that time, escaped from Ober-Dachstetten POW Camp and went into hiding in West Germany. Under an assumed name, he worked first as a forester and then as a chicken farmer, before in 1950, following the trail of many other Nazi fugitives, he migrated via Italy to Argentina. There, the Fascist regime of Juan Peron was only too ready to welcome him and his kind. Now under another assumed name, Ricardo Klement, he awaited the arrival of his wife and two sons, who eventually joined him in 1952.

For almost the next eight years, Eichmann lived modestly at a number of different locations and worked in a variety of equally modest jobs. By the late 1950′s, the centrality of Eichmann’s importance in the programme to exterminate the Jews had emerged.

After a tortuous process, the Mossad (Israeli Secret Service) was able to prove Eichmann’s true identity. A team was dispatched to Buenos Aires, where Eichmann was then living, to bring him to Israel to stand trial for his crimes. In May 1960, Eichmann was abducted and flown to Israel.

[…] Eichmann’s trial began on 11 April 1961 and concluded on 15 December 1961. […] He was sentenced to death. An appeal against the sentence having failed, he was hanged at midnight on 31 May 1962. It remains the only death sentence to have been carried out in the history of the state of Israel. Eichmann’s body was cremated in a temporary facility that bizarrely replicated the scenes at Auschwitz, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, and Majdanek. His ashes were taken in a launch to a point outside Israeli territorial waters and cast into the Mediterranean.

Source: Adolf Eichmann and Aktion Reinhard http://www.deathcamps.org/reinhard/eichmann.html

On the migration of forms…

December 15 1960. That’s the date the Wikipedia page on Exodus gives for the film’s American premiere, six or seven months after the capture of Adolf Eichmann. It is also the year in which Ernest Gold’s soundtrack to the film was released.

We can’t say when exactly the film was first shown in Jamaica. The Workshop Musicians recording of Ernest Gold’s composition was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and was released in 1962 on record producer Clement Seymour Dodd’s Port O Jam record label and marks a watershed period between Jamaica’s relationship to African American music forms – do wop, rhythm and blues, as well as jazz.

The album on which Exodus was featured, Jazz Jamaica ‘recorded specially for Jamaica’s independence’, writes Sonny Bradshaw in the album’s liner notes, is in the bop and hard bop vernacular, and featured Lloyd Mason on bass, Carl McLeod on drums, Roland Alphonso and Thomas ‘Tommy’ McCook on tenor sax, Don Drummond on trombone, the reverend Billy Cooke on trumpet, Cecil Lloyd on piano, and Ernest Ranglin on guitar.

All the musicians were a part of the island’s jazz scene which had already produced world class players, notably Leslie Mitchell, Dizzy Reece, Harold McNair, Joe Harriot, and Albert ‘Bertie’ King. They lived, worked and recorded in England, France, and America, forming their own bands and working with some of the most respected artists in the genre. This was the musical context in which Jazz Jamaica was created, and this was the scene from which the Workshop Musicians emerged: Drummond, Alphonso, and McCook were all members of bandleader Eric Deans’ Colony Club Orchestra. As in its native America, Jazz in Jamaica represented a standard of formal accomplishment unrivalled in other African derived music forms.

Technical mastery in this vernacular was the means by which a musician could find a place on the world stage, and Jazz Jamaica sounds like Dodd making a statement to his contemporaries at home and abroad: world class music, made in Jamaica. It can be done – without leaving home, a statement that would have been in keeping with the growing mood of confidence generated by the island’s independence from Britain, which Britain granted to Jamaica on August 6th 1962, three months after the execution of Adolf Eichmann. Exodus is the piece of music that connects the death of Adolf Eichmann with the birth of independent Jamaica and the beginning of its indigenous popular music culture.

Here’s what Variety said about Exodus. We found this in Ernest Gold’s obituary, by Tom Vallance writing for The Independent on March 30, 1999 [read the whole thing at www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-ernest-gold-1083951.html]: ‘Ernest Gold’s score is a strong plus factor and through its use of minor chords provides a flavoursome blending of ancient Hebrew strains with the modern surge of a people on the march.’ In the hands of the Workshop Musicians Exodus becomes the basis for the collective expression of individual and cultural identity, a way into the newness of the post colonial experience.

Given the cultural provenance of Gold’s composition, might we suggest that in the Workshop Musician’s version of Exodus jazz serves as a point of departure into that which has passed, that jazz is the thread that connects these innovative Jamaican musicians to the fate of their Polish predecessors; for both parties, jazz was the means by which the expression of a newly discovered sense of self became part of public, national culture.

Allowing for this commonality, the Workshop Musicians’ rendition and rearrangement of Exodus strikes us as one which speaks across time and space, from Kingston in 1962, back to Treblinka in 1945. As distant as Treblinka is from Jamaica, the Workshop Musicians’ transformation of Gold’s composition into a call to freedom through the improvisatory language of jazz redeems the horrific use to which jazz’s principle of freedom was put by the Nazis through the figure of Artur Gold.

We wonder what Tommy McCook and his fellow musicians would have made of the idea of jazz or music in general as an ethical force, a force for good, and the efficacy of popular culture against the horrors of history – the horrors of the slave trade from which Jamaica was shaped, the horrors of the death camps, to which Exodus, in its historical revisionism and tacit Zionism, sought to nonetheless provide a triumphalist riposte, even as it helped to create a consensus through which other horrors, new terrors, would be legitimised in Zionism’s name.

Postscript: aka Heinrich Mueller.

‘Record Group 263: Records of the Central Intelligence Agency
Records of the Directorate of Operations
Analysis of the Name File of Heinrich Mueller
Timothy Naftali, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia
Norman J.W. Goda, Ohio University
Richard Breitman, American University
Robert Wolfe, National Archives (ret.)


The CIA file on Heinrich Mueller, chief of Hitler’s Gestapo and a major Nazi war criminal, sheds important new light on U.S. and international efforts to find Mueller after his disappearance in May 1945. Though inconclusive on Mueller’s ultimate fate, the file is very clear on one point. The Central Intelligence Agency and its predecessors did not know Mueller’s whereabouts at any point after the war. In other words, the CIA was never in contact with Gestapo Mueller. To assist other scholars, the press, and the general public in making sense of this new information about the CIA’s investigation of this controversial war criminal, the authors have drawn on other documents at the National Archives for this report.

Extracts from Records Group 263

According to various witnesses interviewed by the West German police in 1961, the last time Mueller was seen alive was the evening of May 1, 1945, the day after Hitler’s suicide. Several eyewitnesses placed Mueller at Hitler’s Chancellery building that evening […].

On May 27, 1945 the Counter Intelligence War Room issued a statement about its priority targets for interrogations in what it called the German intelligence service. At the top of the list were Nazi intelligence officials involved in foreign intelligence (RSHA Amt VI). Next in priority were security police and SD units in occupied countries. Gestapo officials came farther down the target list. A War Room instruction to interrogators of captured RSHA officers listed the top missing persons: interrogators were to ask: ‘Where are: SCHELLENBERG, OHLENDORF, MUELLER, STEIMLE, SANDBERGER?’ (All but Mueller were subsequently located and interrogated.)

A later revision to the arrest target list reported the arrest of several Gestapo officials, including Walter Huppenkothen who was part of the Red Orchestra team. But not Heinrich Mueller.

Ultimately the Allies would find many Heinrich Muellers in occupied Germany and Austria, but not the right one. Heinrich Mueller is a very common German name.

Source: Record Group 263: Records of the Central Intelligence Agency Records of the Directorate of Operations Analysis of the Name File of Heinrich Mueller, by Timothy Naftali, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, Norman J.W. Goda, Ohio University Richard Breitman, American University, Robert Wolfe, National Archives (ret.) The National Archives. ARCHIVES.GOV




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