Marie and Hirsch Komissar’s grand piano

This grand piano was donated to the museum at the beginning of 2020. It belonged to Hirsch and Marie Komissar (b. Wolfsohn) – a Jewish couple from Trondheim who both lived dramatic lives. The piano is a Gebr. Zimmermann, a short grand piano (production year unknown). It has been used extensively but is still usable due to at least one restoration.

Marie was born in Trondheim in 1893 and was probably the first woman to get a high school diploma from Katedralskolen in Trondheim. She married Hirsch Komissar in 1916 – an engineer born in Paritchi, Russia in 1887. They were intellectual people, and both allegedly gave talks at the Student Society of Trondheim. Marie also wrote several newspaper articles about both women’s rights and antisemitism.

The Komissar family was a musical family, and music was part of everyday life. Marie played the piano, and all their three children got piano lessons. Marie’s sister, Bilka Dworsky (b. Wolfsohn) was an educated piano player and for a while she worked as a piano teacher in Trondheim. She especially enjoyed playing Chopin’s waltzes, and she might have played them on this piano.

Marie and Hirsch ran a hat shop together in Nordre gate 18, called Paris/Wien AS. When the 2nd world war came to Norway, their lives changed dramatically. Hirsch was arrested by the Nazis in January 1942 and was executed on October 7th in the Falstad woods together with nine other victims, as atonement for sabotage committed against the Nazi government. Marie and their three children ran away to Sweden and survived Holocaust. After the war, Marie came back and ran the business until she died in 1961.