Pavel Kling 

As I prepare upcoming TMF talks and concerts, I often recall my conversations with an extraordinary and inspiring Terezín artist and Auschwitz survivor, violinist Pavel (Paul) Kling.
The stories and recordings he shared with me over many years greatly informed my work at TMF, especially creation of the book Our Will to Live. I cherish his memory.

Today’s message is dedicated to him.
As you read his story, please enjoy the superb artistry of his performance of the Bach Chaconne for Solo Violin:

Pavel Kling was born in Brno, Moravia. A major talent at a young age, he performed Mozart’s A Major Violin Concerto and Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He was expelled from school in 1941 for being an “undesirable element” and arrived in Terezín at age 15 on April 9, 1943, his violin hidden in his belongings.

Kling joined the Friezeitgestaltung, Terezín’s “leisure time committee” supervised by the SS. He studied composition with Pavel Haas, theory with Bernard Kaff, and violin with Karel Frölich. He performed in Ullmann’s opera "Der Kaiser von Atlantis"; in a string quartet reduction of Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne; in a chamber group with violinist Heinrich Taussig, violists Romouald Süssmann and Karel Ancerl, and cellists Friedrich Mark and Paul Kohn; and in a chamber music trio with pianist and composer Gideon Klein and Freidrich Mark. Programs included the Brahms Sextet in G Major op. 36, Beethoven Piano Trip op. 70 no. 2, and Brahms Piano Trio op. 8.


In his review of the trio’s concert, Viktor Ullmann wrote, “Paul Kling had a very successful debut on the violin—he is on the right path and talented.” This poster announcing the performance is from the Herman collection at Pamatnik Terezín. (Our Will to Live, pp. 242-243).

Kling was sent to Auschwitz on September 28, 1944. After his liberation, he entered the Music Academy of Prague, ultimately becoming concertmaster of the NHK Symphony in Tokyo and later of the Louisville Symphony. In 1977, he became Dean of Music at the University of Victoria.

He passed away in 2005.



In this still from the Nazi propaganda film made in Terezín, Kling appears in the center. The ensemble is performing the Pavel Hass Studie for String Chamber Orchestra (Our Will to Live, p. 196).

Ullmann called the Terezín chamber group that included Kling “a musically joyful ensemble” (Our Will to Live, p. 127). Of Kling’s trio, he wrote — considering the many transports from Terezín to Auschwitz — “it has been, thus far, the peculiar fate of our chamber music groups to be like meteors: they flash by promisingly and then disappear. In each new instance, there is nothing left to do but hope that this time it might be different. And this time it would be particularly disappointing if it remains merely a promise . . .” (Our Will to Live, p. 243).

It is an honor to remember and preserve that promise.

Mark Ludwig, TMF Executive Director