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Werner Dambitsch Collection

Identifier: AR 11719


Digital images of photographs and some correspondence, spanning the life of the musician Werner Dambitsch (Warner Danby).


  • 1916-2006

Language of Materials

This collection is in German and English.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Werner Wilhelm Dambitsch was born on June 23, 1913 in Breslau (Wroclaw, Poland), living in the city’s traditional Jewish neighborhood. His father was the textile merchant Felix Dambitsch (1872-1938). His mother, Leontine née Meyer (1889-1945) was born in Grünberg, Silesia (Zielona Gora, Poland.) After her husband’s death in 1938 she was deported to Theresienstadt and then murdered in Auschwitz.

Werner was interested in music from an early age, but he had to acquire his first instrument, a saxophone, with his own earned money. He did this in 1932 at the age of 19 and founded with four friends the ‘Excentric Jazz Orchester’. Under the Nazis, he joined the ‘Arbeitsgemeinschaft jüdischer Künstler’, and the band – Erstes Jüdisches Jazz Orchester (EJO) - became part of the ‘Reichsverband der jüdischen Kulturbünde’. They had their last performance in April of 1938; all five musicians managed to leave Germany – Werner went to New York and the others emigrated to Saigon, Shanghai, Bogota, and Buenos Aires respectively.

Like many other German émigrés, Werner went first to Cuba, before immigrating to Cincinnati, Ohio with the help of an old friend, Bela Klein from Breslau.

In 1940, Werner joined the US Army in order to acquire US citizenship. He then changed his name to Warner W. Danby and was stationed at Camp Ritchie, interrogating German prisoners of war. There he met his wife Karin, née Engels, originally from Switzerland. After the war, Warner Danby went into the tractor business, never to return to music again. He died in New York on Dec. 12, 1983.


4 Digital Files

Inventory of the Werner Dambitsch Collection, 1916-2006 AR 11719
© 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The inventory is in English.

Revision Statements

  • January 2019:: Links to digital objects added in Container List.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States