Arno Nadel

German poet & liturgical musicologist

Arno Nadel was born in Vilna, Lithuania and began his Jewish musical education in Koenigsberg under cantor Eduard Birnbaum, first as a participant in his all boy-choir, and then as a private cantorial student.  In 1895 Nadel enrolled in the Jewish Teacher’s Institute in Berlin, and upon graduation settled there as an educator and choirmaster for the Kottbuser Ufer Synagogue. Nadel became increasingly interested in the collection of Jewish music, and in 1923 was commissioned by the Jewish community of Berlin to compile an anthology of Synagogue music. Nadel completed the project in 1938 and intended to publish his work as a seven-volume encyclopedia set entitled, Hallelujah, for use by cantors and Jewish music researchers.

In 1943, Nadel was deported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered. He managed to hide his entire library including the encyclopedia manuscript with a neighbor for safe keeping, which was returned in part to his estate after the war. Eric Mandel purchased what remained of the library from Nadel’s widow and it is now preserved as part of the Eric Mandel Collection at the Schreiber Jewish Music Library at the Gratz College of Jewish studies in Philadelphia.  

Nadel was also an accomplished poet and playwright. His first book of verse, Aus vorletzten und letzten Gruenden, dealt with Neitzschean philosophy and was published in 1909.  Nadel’s later works dealt with Jewish and Biblical themes, including the play, Adam (1917), and poetry collections: Rot und gluehend ist das Auge des Juden (1920); Der Suendenfall (1920); Der Ton (1921); and Juedische Volkslieder (1923). In addition to Synagogue music, Nadel also collected Eastern European Jewish folk music, which he published in the music sections of Berlin publications, Gemeindeblatt der Jüdischen Gemeind and Ost und West, and also in his own articles on Jewish music, written for the Juedisches Lexicon and the German Encyclopedia Judaica. 

A full biography can be found here on the "Music and the Holocaust" website.