Der Kaiser von Atlantis
Viktor Ullmann arrived in Theresienstadt on 8 September 1942. He was 44 years old, a Jew and a former officer of the Austrian army. Being an accomplished composer, well known for his organizational skills, he was immediately solicited by the Freizeitgestaltung to organize concerts and conferences, to write musical reviews (he authored 26 such texts), and to compose. In fact, during the two years before his transport to Auschwitz, he wrote several instrumental and vocal works, including song cycles for baritone and piano, one sonata for violin and piano, his third string quartet, three piano sonatas (numbers 5, 6 and 7) as well as an opera in one act on a libretto by the young poet Peter Kien Der Kaiser von Atlantis oder die Tod-Verweigerung (The Emperor of Atlantis, or the Disobedience of Death). Ever since his arrival in the ghetto, Ullmann seems aware of the precariousness of his future, as is shown in the quite openly ironic remark on the manuscript of his piano sonata nº 7, dated 22 August 1944: “The performance rights are reserved by the composer until his death”, so, not for long.
Viktor Ullmann: Viertes Bild (scene IV): 23.Nicht dran denken, nicht dran denken