TEL AVIV, Israel -- Israel ended a ban on the music of German composer Richard Strauss Wednesday, allowing the works of the alleged Nazi sympathizer to be performed on state radio and television.
The decision by the Israel Broadcast Authority means Strauss, whose works were banned because of his Nazi links, can also now be performed by the Israeli orchestra, the Jerusalem Symphony.
As the announcement was made, the strain's of Strauss' music filled the airwaves of Israeli radio.
There was no decision about playing the music of another German music great, Richard Wagner, a favorite of Adolf Hitler.
Last year, Maestro Zubin Mehta led the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Wagner's overture to 'Tristan and Isolde' at a concert in Tel Aviv to the virulent protest of Holocaust survivors sensitive to the music that Jewish orchestras were forced to play in death camps.
The philharmonic has not announced any decision about the music of Strauss.
'If the IPO starts playing Strauss, I will break their necks,' one Auschwitz survivor said in a burst of anger at the decision. 'Like (Hermann) Goering decided who was a Jew, I decide who is a Nazi and Strauss was a Nazi.'
But the broadcasting authority, on the advice of visiting conductor Igor Markevitch, 70, decided otherwise.
Markevitch explained that Strauss never took a stand against the Jews and accepted an official position as president of the Chamber of Music under the Nazi regime 'because of weakness of character.'
Markevitch said Strauss lost the job because he used his position to defend Jewish musicians and maintained his contacts with Jewish friends. Markevitch is based in Paris.
Strauss, who lived from 1864 to 1949, wrote ballets and symphonicpoems but was foremost a composer of operas, including Elektra and Salome.
His tone poem, 'Also Sprach Zarathustra,' inspired by Nietzsche, later became the musical theme for the film '2001: a Space Odyssey.'