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Join us at The Center, as performing artists and musicians tell the German-Jewish family history of the American Rock Star, Billy Joel. The Joel family story tragically mirrors the history of many within the 20th century. Together the Joels fled Nazi Germany to the United States, to overcome oppression and poverty.
The doors open at 6:00 PM. The program officially begins at 6:30 PM with a special performance of some of Billy Joel’s most famous songs by Stefan Angele and Wernder Kandzoraby. The performance will be followed by a Q&A session with Steffen Radmaier, a journalist and author from Nuremberg who tells the Joel family’s story.
About Billy Joel’s German-Jewish Ancestry
In the 1920s, Karl Armson, a Jew from Nuremberg, and his wife had saved up enough money to open a garment trading company. Business was good and it could have been the perfect success story if Adolf Hitler had not taken power in Germany. Together with their first son, Helmut, the Joels fled from the Nazis, first to Berlin, later to Switzerland. Their company was sold for a low price to Josef Neckermann who later became the German catalogue company mogul. The Joel family reached Cuba and travelled on to New York where they lived on the poverty line. Helmut married Rosalind Nyman from Brooklyn and their son William “Billy” Martin (now known as Billy Joel) was born in 1949. When the marriage broke apart, Helmut went back to Germany on his own, married again and had his second son Alexander. Today Alexander is an internationally acclaimed conductor. Helmut´s first son Billy has sold over 100 million records and is one of the most successful solo artists of Pop music with hits like “River of Dreams” or “Just the Way You Are”.
About the musical performers
Stefan Angele and Wernder Kandzora perform some of the most famous Billy Joel songs from”Just the Way You Are” to “Piano Man”. Their performance pays homage to this great artist who enthuses and touches his audience every time he performance his songs.