Home > News & Advice > News Obituaries > Coco Schumann (1924–2018), holocaust survivor and renowned jazz guitarist

Coco Schumann (1924–2018), holocaust survivor and renowned jazz guitarist

by Kirk Fox

Forced to perform at concentration camps in the “Ghetto Swingers” band.

BERLIN (AP) — Heinz Jakob “Coco” Schumann, a jazz guitarist who survived Nazi concentration camps to return to his musical career in Berlin after World War II, has died. He was 93. 

The dpa news agency reported Monday his record label Trikont said Schumann died Sunday in Berlin. 

Schumann made a name for himself as a young musician in Berlin’s underground jazz and swing scene in the 1930s. He was arrested in 1943 after authorities learned his mother was Jewish, and deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia. 

There, he played in a band known as the “Ghetto Swingers” before being transferred to Auschwitz in 1944, where he played music to entertain guards. 

After the war he emigrated to Australia, before returning to Berlin in the mid-1950s and re-establishing his career. 

We invite you to share condolences for Coco Schumann in our Guest Book.

More Stories