Tadeusz Geisler. Collection

Bijkomende meta info

The collection contains: cutlery (spoon, fork and knife) used by Tadeusz Geisler during his internment at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp ; two strips of fabric with a red triangle, the letter P and Tadeusz Geislers prisoner number at Sachsenhausen (90175) ; three patches of cloth depicting Polish and French flags ; three small pieces of bread, saved by Tadeusz Geisler during a death march in 1945 ; a prototype of a violin bridge - the Geisler-comb - developed by Thadé Geisler; a photocopy of the patent accorded to Thadé Geisler for his violin bridge in 1966 ; three post-war photos, including a photo of Tadeusz Geisler holding a violin ; the painting "Lever du jour sur une locitaine planète" created by Thadé Geisler in 1980 ; three CDs entitled "Thadé Geisler-Wyganowski. Interprète et compositeur. Maître, écoute mon âme" ; the book "Thadé. Une longue histoire d'amour…" published by Marie-Thérèse Geisler-Thomas in 2002 ; the leaflet "Concert - Thade Geisler Wyganowski".
Content Date
Parallel title
Thadé Geisler. Collection
GEISLER Marie-Thérèse, Thadé. Une longue histoire d'amour…, s.l., 2002.
Marie-Thérèse Thomas, widow of Tadeusz Geisler
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
The collection also contains: three CDs entitled "Thadé Geisler-Wyganowski. Interprète et compositeur. Maître, écoute mon âme", stored in the Kazerne Dossin audiovisual collection ; two publications - the book "Thadé. Une longue histoire d'amour…" published by Marie-Thérèse Geisler-Thomas in 2002 and the leaflet "Concert - Thade Geisler Wyganowski" – stored in the Kazerne Dossin library ; the work of art "Lever du jour sur une locitaine planète", stored in the Kazerne Dossin art collection.
Digital copy available as collection KD_00606 at Kazerne Dossin
Level of description
Extent and medium
18 digitised images (12 objects, 3 photos, 1 document and 1 work of art)
Administrative and biographical
Tadeusz Geisler was born in Paris on September 29, 1913 as the son of Alfred Geisler (born in 1885) and Maria Wyganowski (born in 1887). Both were artists: he was a painter, she was a writer and a pianist from a well-to-do non-Jewish family. The couple married on 7 October 1907 and travelled through Europe, settling for longer periods in cities with an artistic scene. Eldest son Alfred Angelo, known in the family as Dzidek, was born in Florence in 1908. In 1910 the Geisler family moved to Paris where Alfred studied at the School of Fine Arts, while Maria took classes at the Sorbonne. They still resided in the French capital when Tadeusz was born, but fled to Barcelona, Spain, during the First World War. After the war, they returned to their family in Poland, arriving in Warsaw in 1919 and settling in nearby Milanowek in 1920. As of 1923 Tadeusz went to school. There he discovered the violin and quickly became a prodigy. As a young adult Tadeusz was accepted into the Warsaw academy of music, and as of September 1933 he studied with Oscar Stüder in Switzerland. In Geneva Tadeusz also enrolled in a virtuosity class at the conservatory to become a soloist for large orchestras. In 1937, Tadeusz was forced to return to Warsaw to perform his military service. After his time in the army, he focused on his music. Tadeusz executed music for a film, and planned a musical tour in Poland.
On September 1st, 1939 Nazi-Germany invaded Poland. Anti-Jewish decrees were installed, but since Maria was not Jewish she and her sons were not obliged to obey them. However, without a work permit it was hard for Tadeusz to make a living as a musician. In October 1940 the Jewish population of Warsaw, including father Alfred Geisler, was forced to move into the ghetto. Alfred was thus separated from his wife and sons. When Alfred’s sister Isabella and her family were deported from the ghetto to Treblinka, Alfred’s brother Wladek worked on a plan to liberate Alfred and their father Salomon alias Stanislaw Geisler. Both were rescued from the ghetto.
On August 10, 1944 German troops occupied the Warsaw area where Maria and Tadeusz lived. Both were arrested and deported: Maria to Ravensbrück, Tadeusz to Falkensee near Berlin. After a month he was sent to Sachsenhausen where he became prisoner P90175. At the camp, Tadeusz’s musical talent was detected by Wehrmacht officer Peter Adam, the head of the camp orchestra. Tadeusz survived multiple camps as a musician, but was nonetheless forced to leave on a death march on April 21, 1945. He carefully rationed his small piece of bread so the food would last him longer during the march. By the end of April, still on the road, Tadeusz was forced to play a high ranking German officer the favorite musical composition of the officer’s deceased wife. In return Tadeusz was released. On 2 May 1945 he was picked up by a Belgian military vehicle near Lüneburg, Germany, where he was hospitalized until 15 May 1945. Since news from Warsaw was grim, Tadeusz decided not to return to Poland but to join his mother’s cousin Dobromir in Brussels. Tadeusz arrived in the Belgian capital in June 1945.
Tadeusz’s mother Maria also survived the war and made her way to France. The both of them were reunited in Brussels in 1946 and made a life there. Slowly news from Poland arrived: Dzidek survived, but Alfred died in the night of 13 on 14 March 1945. Tadeusz joined the Belgian artists syndicate and started to perform again. He continued to play the violin professionally, joining the orchestra of the Radio-Télévision belge de la Communauté française [Belgian radio and television of the French community or RTBF] but he was never able to exceed his prewar career. Apart from playing the violin, Tadeusz also taught music and built and tuned instruments for other violinists. In 1966 he obtained a patent for the Geisler-comb, a new type of perforated bridge.
In 1957 Tadeusz married Marie-Thérèse Thomas. The couple had a loving relationship and an active social life, befriending numerous musicians and artists. Tadeusz passed away in Brussels on 31 October 1989. His mother Maria had died years before, in 1976, his wife Marie-Thérèse passed away in 2010.
After the war violin player Tadeusz Geisler hardly ever spoke of his experiences, but focused on his music. Nonetheless, he did save some objects dating from his time as a prisoner at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. After he passed away in 1989 Tadeusz’s widow, Marie-Thérèse Thomas, found the objects tucked away in their basement. She started researching Tadeusz’s life, using the stories told by Tadeusz’s mother Maria Wyganowski. During the research process Marie-Thérèse came in contact with Michel Lorge and his wife who helped her write Tadeusz’s memoires. Being a violin player himself Michel Lorge became acquainted with Tadeusz’s work after meeting Tadeusz’s pupil Fabien Gram and recording some of Tadeusz’s compositions with Michael Bezerki for the benefit of the Belgian anti-Cancer Foundation. Before passing away Marie-Thérèse Thomas entrusted the items that Tadeusz saved as well as several publications and documents to the Lorge-Begon family. Michel Lorge and his wife kindly donated the originals to Kazerne Dossin in 2021.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Mister and Misses Lorge-Begon, friends of Marie-Thérèse Thomas, widow of Tadeusz Geisler
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