Nadel, Arno

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NADEL, ARNO (1878–1943), German poet and liturgical musicologist. Born in Vilna, Lithuania, Nadel studied liturgical music under Eduard *Birnbaum in Koenigsberg. In 1895, he entered the Jewish Teachers' Institute in Berlin and spent the rest of his life in Berlin. His first book, a volume of aphorisms and verse entitled Aus vorletzten und letzten Gruenden (1909), betrayed the influence of Nietzschean philosophy. His later works dealt mainly with biblical and Jewish themes. They include the play Adam, staged in Karlsruhe in 1917; Das Jahr des Juden (1920), a collection of 12 poems; Rot und gluehend ist das Auge des Juden (1920); Der Suendenfall (1920); and Juedische Volkslieder (1923). His most important verse collection, Der Ton (1921, enlarged 1926), constitutes his Jewish reply to the nihilism of his time. He also published a German translation of *An-Ski's drama, Der Dybbuk (1921). Der weissagende Dionysos (1934), a collection of his later poetry, was republished after World War ii.

In 1916 Nadel was appointed conductor of the choir at the synagogue in the Pestalozzistrasse, and later became musical supervisor of the Berlin synagogues. He devoted much effort to the collection and study of synagogal music and East European Jewish folk song, searching for manuscripts and noting oral traditions. Many of these he published and discussed in the music supplements of the Berlin Gemeindeblatt and Ost und West, and in his articles on Jewish music in the Juedisches Lexicon and the German Encyclopaedia Judaica. Some of the Yiddish folk songs were also published separately, as in his Jonteff Lieder (1919) and Juedische Liebeslieder (1923). Drawing on his researches, Nadel restored old traditions and raised the standards of the synagogue choirs. His manuscript collection included several unique cantors' manuals, such as that of Judah Elias of Hanover (1744). All of this he planned to incorporate in a multivolume compendium of synagogal music entitled Hallelujah, which was to have been published under the auspices of the Berlin community. The preparation of the earlier volumes was apparently well under way before Nadel was transported to Auschwitz, where he was murdered. His papers were reported to have been hidden in time, but most have not been recovered.

Nadel was himself a composer, and wrote the incidental music for Stefan *Zweig's Jeremias (1918). A man of many talents, he also excelled as a graphic artist and as a painter of landscapes and portraits.


Stoessinger, in: Israelitisches Wochenblatt fuer die Schweiz (Aug. 9, 1946); A. Nadel, Der weissagende Dionysos, ed. by F. Kemp ([1934] 1959), contains a critical biography; Sendrey, Music, indexes; Baker, Biog Dict.

[Sol Liptzin and

Bathja Bayer]