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Rudolf Nelson

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Rudolf Nelson (4 April 1878 – 5 February 1960) was a German composer of hit songs, film music, operetta and vaudeville, and the founder and director of the Nelson Revue, a significant cabaret troupe on the 1930s Berlin nightlife scene.
Issued from a poor Prussian Jewish family, and raised in Berlin, Nelson began piano lessons at a very young age.
After secondary school, while simultaneously earning a living as an apprentice and subsequently clerk, he received a scholarship from Heinrich von Herzogenberg to the Stern Conservatory.
Nelson first came into public view during this same period when, in a contest organized by the newspaper Die Woche, he was awarded first prize for the best composition of a walse.
But the real turning point came when Nelson discovered the Überbrettl, Berlin’s first cabaret founded by Ernst von Wolzogen. Inspired by the genre, he began his cabaret career at the Potsdamer Straße cabaret Roland, accompanying his own compositions on the piano.
In 1904, he joined forces with Paul Schneider-Duncker in the famed Chat Noir on Unter den Linden, Berlin’s most fashionable avenue, going on to direct it on his own from 1907 – 1914. It also is here that Nelson composed his most famous hit song Das Ladenmädel, as well as from 1908 onwards wrote his famous operetta works, notably Miss Dudelsack.
In 1910, Nelson gave birth to a son, Herbert. Herbert Nelson would later become one of many collaborative lyricists, a list that included Kurt Tucholsky and Friedrich Hollander.
In 1920, Nelson married singer Käthe Erlholz, and in the same year opened the Nelson-Theater on Kurfürstendamm (associated with the Sans Soucis restaurant). The revues he staged here are legend, presenting numerous top stars of the period, including names such as Josephine Baker, who appeared on 14 January 1926, Weintraubs Syncopators and comic Max Ehrlich. During these years, Nelson also composed revues for Berlin’s famed Metropol-Theater in the Admiralspalast.
Forced by the Nazis in 1933 to flee Germany – after stopping for stage appearances in Vienna and Zurich – Nelson founded a new theater troupe in Amsterdam, until after the German occupation he was interned in Westerbork concentration camp. Nelson survived the Holocaust, and in 1949 returned to Berlin where he reopened the Nelson-Revue-Gastspiel.