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PS…and if Django wasn’t Reinhardt

Dave (see post below) , is a brilliant fiddle player and told me another story…How the Germans were advancing on Paris and Stefan Grappelli knocked on Django Reinhardt’s door to warn him to run, as they would be in Paris any minute. (They were both playing in the Hot Club of Paris, I think, at the time – Grappelli and Reinhardt, that is).

Reinhardt, who had been asleep, stuck his head out the window and said he’d be along in a minute. Grappelli escaped. Reinhardt went back to bed.

Reinhardt woke up to the German occupation of Paris and, being a gipsy, realised this was not a good place to be. He managed to get to the border with Switzerland, hiding in the back of a truck, but was ordered out by an SS officer.

The officer asked his name. “Oh, Reinhardt the famous guitarist?” said the officer, a music lover. And instead of being sent to a concentration camp with every other gipsy the SS captured, Reinhardt was sent back to Paris to play for the Germans.

On such tiny, apparently inconsequential matters do life or death turn. Because, as Dave told me that story, I instantly wondered (see ‘the power of names’, below) if Django’s fate would have gone the other way if Reinhardt had not, by chance, been such a Germanic-sounding name…


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