Such wide skies

Kay Dreyfus was inspired to write about the Weintraubs Syncopators after seeing a German documentary at the Melbourne Jewish Film Festival in 2000. The film recounted the story of this interwar dance and variety band, which had earned fame in Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel (1930), and later used a European tour to escape from Hitler’s jazz- and Jew-hating régime. After a music-driven adventure across Russia and Asia, the group believed it had found a haven when it reached Australia in 1937, and secured a residency in Sydney’s high-society Prince’s restaurant. Then disaster struck. Accused of espionage, musicians accustomed to celebrity suddenly found themselves interned. Although they were later released, the band never reformed. Dreyfus was intrigued by the Syncopators’ story, but it was the film’s assertion of Australian responsibility for their destruction that piqued her intellectual curiosity.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in September 2013 no. 354

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.