The Kristallnacht Musicbox

Not sure whether this is a new song or a “catalogue” one as I wrote it last month. It is a true story from WW2. A while back I was watching The Antiques Roadshow when an elderly lady with a music box brought her treasured possession to one of the experts. She didn´t want a valuation – she just wanted to tell the extrordinary story of the box. Her father, a cabinetmaker, had made the box as a present for her fourth birthday which coincided with Kristallnacht – the infamous night when the SS was unleashed on Jewish businesses and homes. Shops, synagogues and houses were left damaged and burning. The name Kristallnacht came from the piles of shattered glass from the broken windows that covered the pavement the following morning. Britain agreed to take in unaccompanied Jewish children on what was dubbed The Kindertransport – although, shamefully, their parents were not accepted without hard to get visas. In the little girl´s case she never saw her parents again as they were sent to Auswitz. Her father survived for a while as his skills were useful but he and his wife both perished in that terrible place.

The Kristallnacht Musicbox

Past the fires and broken glass he reaches his home at last
The music box clasped tight in his hands
My girl, my whole world
See what I´ve made for your special day
Turn the key and you´ll see
The ballerina dance as the music plays

On the platform in pouring rain she gets on the Children´s train
The music box is safe in her case
He sends his girl to a new world
He waves goodbye as she´s borne away
Stands proud among the crowd
His shabby coat bears a yellow star today

As her ship lands in British rain he´s boarding a different train
At journey´s end the dogs and the guns
He looks higher across the wire
To where the chimney smoke is staining the sky
And through the smoke the bitter joke
The lying slogan – “Arbeit macht frei”

“This was made by a craftsman´s hand” says the man at the Experts stand
Yes – My father made it long years ago
And through the years, the bitter tears
Fell for a father that I´ll never know
No man on earth, knows what it´s worth
This gift of love that I´ve never let go

My Kristallnacht music box


  1. Thanks Ann. Out of my many songs I have so far written three songs that have made people cry. Please believe that I never set out to do that. To balance this I have also written songs about pasties, scrumpy and loose women and catheterisation and digital rectal examinations. Have a look at the “Funnies” section on my website to cheer yourself up.