Adolf Busch is said to have been one of the greatest German violinists of the 20th century. (I’m accepting that fact as a given since I can’t personally evaluate any violinist of any century.)
Mr. Busch was a successful and popular musician when the free citizens of Germany elected a guy who had some strong views about the future direction of German politics. Mr. Busch knew which way the wind blew. Shortly after Hitler’s election, Mr. Busch stopped playing in Germany.
Mr. Busch, being a well known German citizen, an accomplished classical violinist, and not a Jew, was sitting about as pretty as any German citizen of the time. He was in no danger personally and the true measure of Hitler’s evil hadn’t yet become too clear to ignore. Everyone around Mr. Busch played the game; keep your head down and don’t be Jewish. Don’t worry about the ethics and don’t rock the boat. Despite a whole society telling him to roll with it, Mr. Busch publicly took his violin and moved to Switzerland. Later, when antisemitism arose throughout Europe (particularly Italy) he voted with his feet once more…coming to America. Remember he was not fleeing for his life, he was merely a concert violinist with a steely conscience. I heartily approve of any man who knows what is right and what is wrong and refuses to quietly put up with evil when everyone else takes the easy way out.
Mr. Busch’s life in America wasn’t grand (Americans don’t shower wealth and fame on concert violinists…particularly during a war) and he sorely missed his home country (which by then had gone stark raving mad). He lived in America in relative obscurity until his death in 1952.
Remember, he was a violinist, not Rambo. He could easily have been excused for staying put. He took a stand on principle even though he wasn’t forced to by necessity. In my eyes he showed a special kind of bravery. Leaving the easy life because you know it to be ethically wrong amid a whole society bent on ignoring the obvious; that, my friends, takes a will of steel.
Mr. Busch, for showing courage in the face of a society gone mad and for avoiding the ethical trap of tolerating evil even if it doesn’t darken your doorstep, you are hereby welcomed to the ranks of The Unstoppable.
Hat tip to Claire Wolfe for making me aware of Mr. Busch (linked as “The Man Who Said No To Hitler”) and The Wall Street Journal for the thoughtful article and Wikipedia for additional details. As always I heartily recommend you click to the source links and see it for yourself.