Was Max Steiner a Jew?
Keywords:anti-Semitism, philo-Semitism, Holocaust, Jewish identity
Max Steiner is regularly identified as a “Jewish composer” despite his protests to the contrary. Others claim he had a crisis of Jewish identity: although he did not explicitly embrace his Jewish lineage, his allegiance was expressed through charitable giving and his score for A Symphony of Six Million (1932). Both assumptions deny Steiner the agency of self-definition. This paper seeks to differentiate between the passive category “Jew” and the active adjective “Jewish,” and between the social climates of Vienna and Hollywood, which informed Steiner’s self-understanding.
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