Gabriel Nachod (1776-1849)

Gabriel Nachod was born in 1776 in Prague to Daniel Avigdor Nachod and Josefa “Pessel” Bunzel. He was a cantor, a wedding singer and a wedding presenter. By the time of the 1794 Prague Jewish census, his parents had died. He married Eva Zodex on July 21, 1801 and lived in house 85. The wedding was presided over by Samuel Landau, the son of Rabbi Ezechiel Landau (known as the Noda b’Yehuda).

In 1905 one of his descendants published a poem Gabriel wrote, a rhyming version (in German) of the creation story from Genesis.

Gabriel died age 74 on November 29, 1849 in house 226/V. He left behind 2 sons and 3 daughters, and established a prayer fund supporting the Altneuschul synagogue. He had a wooden grave in the Wolschan cemetery in Prague, which was mostly destroyed in 1985 when the Communist government removed the cemetery and built a large radio tower.


For photo of the street see
Portrait of the moneychanger Gawriel ben Simon Löwy (ca. 1745–1823), husband of Ester Wolfsheimer (1750–1833), daughter of Moses Bernhard Wolfsheimer
Fanny von Arnstein, née Itzig (1758–1818), Georg Vinzent Kininger after a painting by Guérin, 1804, From the collection of: Jewish Museum Vienna
Cäcilie von Eskeles, née Itzig (1760–1836), Anonymous, Lithography (undated), From the collection of: Jewish Museum Vienna

Josef Nachod (1813-1884)

Josef Nachod was born February 12, 1813 in Prague (House # 1 in the Jewish ghetto) to Gabriel Nachod and Eva Zodex. This was during the Napoleonic wars in Russia and Germany. One of the two witnesses to his birth was his father’s first cousin Moses Mislap. Josef’s older brother Philip went to Vienna to study medicine and was baptized. As a result, Josef was not allowed by his parents to continue his education.

Josef married Karoline Jontof-Hutter on August 17, 1845 in the Altneuschul in Prague. Rabbi Solomon Rappoport officiated the wedding. The had six children between 1846 and 1853. A seventh child, born 1862, died as an infant. They lived at 20 (or 21)/5.

Josef was an inn-keeper in Prague (address 6/8). According to his 100-page police file, in 1849 he was cited for staying open too late (past 11 o’clock). In 1854, he got in trouble for employing two unlicensed musicians. In 1857, Josef was prosecuted for insulting the honor of a Maximilian Schmidt (age 81) by calling him a “taškár” (someone who makes a joke of not paying his debts) in front of the man’s wife.

In 1869, Josef moved his family to Vienna. He died in 1884 and is buried in the Vienna Zentralfriedhof, T1 G5b R(2)7 N40.


Next to Pinkas synagogue in the old Jewish town is where Josef Nachod lived and had his inn.
Sigmund Kolisch (1815-1886)
Rosa Rosenfeld (Kolisch) 1813-1885
Ludwig August Frankel 1810 Chrast, Bohemia -1894 Vienna

Portrait of Isaak Noah Mannheimer (1793 Copenhagen -1865 Vienna), “Petroff,” based on “Richter”, 1857, From the collection of: Jewish Museum Vienna
Portrait of Salomon Sulzer (1804 Hohenems -1890 Vienna), Eduard Kaiser, 1840, From the collection of: Jewish Museum Vienna
evolutionaries on the barricades at Stephansplatz on May 25, 1848, Anton Ziegler (1793–1869), 1848, From the collection of: Jewish Museum Vienna
Portrait of Adolf Jellinek (1821 Drslavice, Moravia -1893 Vienna), H. Schmid / print by J. Fritzsche, From the collection of: Jewish Museum Vienna

Pauline Nachod Schönberg (1848-1921)

Pauline was born April 7, 1848 in Prague, during a time of revolution. Her family belonged to the Altneuschul in the old Prague ghetto. In 1869 her family moved to Leopoldstadt in Vienna (Taborstrasse 4), where she married Samuel Schönberg from Szécsény, Hungary in 1872. Her family was poor and her father Josef Nachod had to apply for a waiver of fees for the marriage license. The wedding took place in the Leopoldstadt Temple, the largest synagogue in Vienna’s very Jewish second district.

Pauline and Samuel had four children. The first child, Adele (1872), died as an infant. The other three were Arnold (1874), Ottilie (1876) and Heinrich (1882). In December 1881, Pauline’s brother and sister-in-law died in the Ringtheater Fire, leaving two young daughters, Mela and Olga. Pauline took the two girls into her home. In 1889, Pauline’s husband Samuel died in 1889 from a bad medicine prescription, leaving Pauline, age 41, a widow with her three children and two foster children. Her son Arnold called her “very self-sacrificing, unselfish, selfless, and humble.”

In her later years, Pauline moved to Berlin to be with her daughter Ottilie. She died in 1921 and was buried in a Protestant cemetery. The cemetery book was burned in a fire, and during the Nazi period her daughter Ottilie had a new death record created to make it seem that Pauline was Protestant, although she was Jewish and had never converted. As a result, her grave site was not preserved and no longer exists.


Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), considered the father of modern music, was the greatest and most influential composer of his generation. He was born in Vienna on September 13, 1874 to Samuel Schönberg and Pauline Nachod, and lived for several periods in Berlin. He fled the Nazis in 1933 and arrived in Los Angeles in 1934, remaining there for the remainder of his life. Schoenberg was married twice, first to Mathilde von Zemlinsky with two children, and then in 1924 to Gertrud Kolisch, with whom he had three more children — Nuria (1932), Ronald (1937) and Lawrence (1941).

Schoenberg was a great composition teacher, with pupils including Alban Berg, Anton Webern and John Cage. He composed in various styles, beginning with the late romantic period, led the way to atonal composition and then invented the 12-tone method. At various times he also composed works in a more traditionally tonal style. He wrote a number of books on composition and music theory, many of which are still in use today. He also painted and exhibited in the first Blaue Reiter exhibition in Munich. In Los Angeles, Schoenberg became friends with George Gershwin, who painted his portrait and filmed him in his home movies. His pupil Serge Hovey also took color film of Schoenberg in Malibu.

Schoenberg was raised Jewish, but converted to Protestantism in 1898 in order to be able to conduct and earn a living. After fleeing from Berlin to Paris in 1933, he returned to Judaism, with a formal document signed by Rabbi Louis-Germain Levy, the artist Marc Chagall and Dmitry Marianoff (the step-son-in-law of Albert Einstein). Several of Schoenberg’s compositions have religious themes, including, Friede auf Erden (Peace of Earth), Weihnachtsmusik (Christmas music), Die Jakobsleiter (Jacob’s Ladder), Moses und Aron, Du sollst nicht ein Bild machen (Thou shall not make a graven image), Kol Nidre, Prelude to Genesis, A Survivor from Warsaw, Psalm 130 (De Profundis) and Modern Psalm. He even drafted sketches for a Jewish Symphony. In the early 1920s he suffered an anti-Semitic incident while summering in the Salzburg area. A famous 1923 exchange with the painter Wassily Kandinsky over anti-Semitism at the Bauhaus includes a warning about the danger of Hitler. Thereafter, he wrote a proto-Zionist play called Der biblische Weg (The biblical path), and then numerous articles and speeches concerning Jewish affairs and the plight of Jews under Hitler.

Schoenberg’s Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene was written as an accompaniment to an imaginary film.

Arnold Schoenberg died in Los Angeles on July 13, 1951. He was not buried in a cemetery there. His ashes were kept and in 1974, he was interred in an honorary grave in Vienna’s Zentralfriedhof.

See a video made with the audio from Schoenberg’s 1949 My Evolution lecture given at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

See Larry Weinstein’s documentary film My War Years. (On Youtube at Part I. Part II. Part III.)

See the website of the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna. The archive includes thousands of manuscripts, photos and documents. See the image archive at


Arnold, third from right, with his sister and his Nachod family cousins.
Nuria, Gertrud, Ronald and Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold with Lawrence, Ronald and Nuria

Randy Schoenberg (1966- )

Randy Schoenberg was born September 12, 1966 in Los Angeles, California to Ronald Schoenberg and Barbara Zeisl Schoenberg. Randy is well-known as the attorney who recovered five famous paintings by Gustav Klimt from the Austrian government, the subject of the 2015 film Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.

Randy grew up in the old Schoenberg house at 116 N. Rockingham Ave in Brentwood. He attended college at Princeton University, where he majored in Mathematics and European Cultural Studies. In 1987 Randy spent a junior semester abroad learning German and math in West Berlin (where also his uncle Luigi Nono was living at the time). Randy attended law school at the University of Southern California and became a litigator. After going out on his own and winning the Klimt case, Randy helped build a new Holocaust museum in Los Angeles. He is a lifelong, avid genealogist and lectures on genealogy as well as various topics in art law.

Randy’s wife is Pam and he has three children, Dora (23), Nathan (21) and Joey (17). Randy is Jewish. He was raised in the Reform community, but now attends a Conservative temple and keeps a kosher home, following his wife’s Orthodox family tradition. Randy’s grandfathers were the Austrian-American composers Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and Eric Zeisl (1905-1959).


Prague old cemetery
1729 census Prague State Archives
Arnold Schoenberg grave Vienna Zentralfriedhof
Seegasse Cemetery Vienna

Nuria Schoenberg Nono (1932- )

Nuria Schoenberg Nono was born ay 7, 1932 in Barcelona, Spain to the composer Arnold Schoenberg and Gertrud Kolisch Schoenberg. The family fled from Berlin in May 1933 and arrived in the United States later that year. Nuria grew up in Los Angeles. In 1954 she travelled to Europe to attend the first performance of her father’s opera Moses und Aron in Hamburg, and met the Italian composer Luigi Nono (1924-1990). They married the following year in Nono’s home town of Venice, Italy, where she has lived ever since. Nuria is the author of a document biography of her father, Arnold Schönberg 1874–1951: Eine Lebensgeschichte in Begegnungen (1992), is the President of the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna, and is also the founder of the Archivio Luigi Nono on the Giudecca in Venice, where she works to preserve the legacy of her late husband.

Nuria has two daughter, Silvia and Serena. She has two brothers Ronald and Lawrence who both live in Los Angeles. Nuria and her brothers were raised Catholic, although their father had re-converted to Judaism. Their mother came from a converted family and was Catholic, but three of her four grandparents were born Jewish.

See a video on Nuria at

Nuria’s husband Luigi Nono, considered a leader of the musical avant-garde, was the most significant Italian composer of his generation. His compositions include Ricorda cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz (1966) (Remember What They Did to You in Auschwitz), Fragmente – Stile, an Diotima (1980), Das atmende Klarsein (1983) (The Breathing Clarity), Prometeo (1985), and La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura (1988-1989) (The Nostalgic Utopian Future Distance). Many of his works deal with political themes. Nono was a supporter of the Italian Communist party, which made it difficult for his works to be performed in the United States. His compositions often use electronics or taped sounds. He was much influenced by the acoustic designs of the famous Venetian composer Giovanni Gabrieli (1554-1612) who positioned musicians in various locations inside St. Mark’s Basilica so that the church itself became an instrument. See this video at Govanni’s uncle Andrea Gabrieli (1533-1585) is the first renowned member of the Venetian school of composers. Listen to his Psalmi Davidici (1583).



           When Nuria was born May 7, 1932, she was named Dorothea Nuria after the patron saint of her birthplace of Barcelona, Spain, where her father was taking leave from his post at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin to compose his opera Moses und Aron.  Already at the time of Nuria’s birth the Schoenbergs were looking to leave Berlin and move to the United States to escape the escalating anti-Semitism in Germany.[1]  They fled from Berlin to Paris by train on the evening of May 16-17, 1933, and after a summer in Arcachon, France, came to the United States, arriving in New York on the Ile de France on October 31, 1933.  In America the spelling of the family name was changed from Schönberg to Schoenberg. 

            The family spent one winter on the East Coast, living in Brookline, Massachusetts and a summer in Chatauqua, New York, before moving to Hollywood in September, 1934.  Nuria was just two years old, and she would spend the rest of her childhood in Southern California, most of it in the Brentwood home that the Schoenbergs moved to in 1936 and purchased in 1937, shortly before the birth of Nuria’s brother Rudolf Ronald (“Ronnie”) on May 26 of that year.  Nuria’s youngest brother Lawrence (“Larry”) Adam was born on January 27, 1941.  Nuria and her parents became naturalized U.S. citizens in April 1941.[2]

A typical meal in the Schoenberg home at that time is described by the young Schoenberg pupil Dika Newlin in her diary entry for October 15, 1940:

When the work was finally done, we went in to lunch: liverwurst, braunschweiger with pistachio nuts, avocado slices, lettuce with French dressing, raw apples and grapes, rye bread, and coffee; the whole flavored with a delightful atmosphere more pleasant to the palate than the most exotic spices.  Old Mrs. Kolisch was at the table with us, and so was baby Ronnie, whose adorable prattle kept us in stitches all the time.  Right in the middle of the meat course, what should he do but stand up on his chair and start pounding the table, yelling “We Want Woosevelt!” at the top of his voice!  Such practices, Mrs. Schoenberg tells me, don’t meet with Nuria’s approval at all; she’ll wear a Willkie button on one side and a Roosevelt button on the other till after the election![3] 

            In Los Angeles, Nuria’s friends included Lotte Klemperer (daughter of the conductor Otto Klemperer) and Franzi Toch (daughter of the composer Ernst Toch).  Franzi’s son Lawrence Weschler recounts an amusing story involving Nuria and his mother:

Franzi used to tell a story about how several years later, in the late 1940s, she and her close friend, Schoenberg’s daughter Nuria, went on a double date.  In fact, this was to be the seventeen-year-old Nuria’s first such outing.  When Franzi and the two escorts arrived at the front door of the Schoenberg manse on Rockingham, a tense but proper Schoenberg was there to present his daughter.  Sternly, he inquired, “What time will Nuria be home?” “Well,” replied one of the young men, “let’s see, the opera downtown will end around eleven, and then there’s the ride back” – remember, this was in the days before the Santa Monica Freeway – “and we’ll probably go out for a snack—we should be back by about one-thirty.”  “Oh,” frowned Schoenberg.  “Do you have to go out for a snack?  Couldn’t I give you a sardine sandwich to take along?” [4]

Nuria attended University Elementary School, Emerson Junior High School, Happy Valley School in Ojai, and University High School.  In 1950 she matriculated at the University of California at Los Angeles, where her father had taught from 1936 to 1944.  At this time Nuria also worked on the English translation of Gurrelieder and prepared the Speaker’s role under her father’s supervision.  Her father died on July 13, 1951, when Nuria was 19 years old.  Nuria was a pre-med major and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in 1953.

In March 1954, Nuria traveled with her mother to Hamburg for the concert premiere of Moses und Aron, where she was introduced by her uncle Rudi Kolisch to her future husband Luigi (“Gigi”) Nono (b. 29 Jan 1924 Venice, d. 8 May 1990 Venice).  Gigi had studied with Rudi at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse since 1950.  In 1955, Nuria and Gigi were married in Venice, Italy, where Nuria has resided since that time.[5]  Their daughter Silvia was born May 16, 1959, and daughter Serena Bastiana was born on November 14, 1964. 

After the death of her mother on February 14, 1967, Nuria and her two brothers worked to preserve the estate of their parents, which was donated to the Arnold Schoenberg Institute at the University of Southern California in 1977 and moved to the Arnold Schönberg Center Privatstiftung in Vienna in 1997.  After Gigi’s death on May 8, 1990, Nuria established the Archivio Luigi Nono in Venice in 1993.  Nuria serves as president of the board of both the Arnold Schönberg Center Privatstiftung and the Achivio Luigi Nono.  Her leadership has established these two archives at the forefront of the world’s musicological research facilities, with an emphasis on state of the art technology and open access. 

Nuria has assisted with numerous exhibitions and publications concerning Schoenberg and Nono.  In 1974 she helped set up the Arnold Schoenberg centenary exhibitions in Berlin and Vienna, and the first complete exhibition of Schoenberg’s paintings and drawings in 1991 in Vienna.  Nuria has written numerous articles on Schoenberg, including one in conjunction with the publication of his playing cards by Piatnik.  In 1992, Nuria published a large documentary biography of her father, Arnold Schoenberg 1874-1951: Lebensgeschichte in Begegnungen (Ritter: Klagenfurt 1992, paperback 1995)She is also the designer and producer of the traveling Schoenberg multimedia exhibition which has toured from 1996 to the present.  In 1993, she edited the exhibition Luigi Nono 1924-1990 which has been shown in Salzburg, Lisbon, Reggio Emilia, Ferrara, Brussels, Rome, Schwaz and Stuttgart.  She continues to be actively involved in numerous projects and publications concerning Schoenberg and Nono.

[1]           Arnold Schoenberg Letters, Erwin Stein ed., p. 164 (Faber & Faber: London 1964). Letter to Dr. Joseph Asch in New York, May 24, 1932 “Will you make an attempt to get some rich Jews to provide for me so that I do not have to go back to Berlin among the swastika-swaggers and pogromists?”  The family flew by airplane from Barcelona to Berlin on June 1, 1932, Nuria’s first flight.

[2]           The family did not practice any organized religion until about 1944, when Ronnie began attending a Catholic school and all the children were sent to the local church (without their parents) regularly.  Nuria’s confirmation name was Nuria Dorothea Maria Bernadette Schoenberg (names suggesting the influence of Alma Mahler, whose husband Franz Werfel had just written Das Lied von Bernadette). The family celebrated Christmas, with Schoenberg pupil Adolph Weiss often playing the role of Santa Claus.

[3]           Dika Newlin, Schoenberg Remembered: Diaries and Recollections 1938-1976, p. 265(Pendragon Press: New York 1980).

[4]           Lawrence Weschler, “Paradise: The Southern California Idyll of Hitler’s Cultural Exiles,” Exiles + Emigrés:  the Flight of European Artists from Hitler, Stefanie Barron, ed., p. 344 (Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Los Angeles 1997).

[5]           During this time, Nuria has also spent several years living in London and Los Angeles.

Serena Nono (1964- )

Serena Nono was born November 14, 1964 in Venice, Italy to Nuria Schoenberg Nono and the composer Luigi Nono. Serena grew up on the Giudecca in Venice. She spent a year in high school in Los Angeles, and studied art in London. She lives in Venice on the Giudecca, and is a painter and filmmaker. One of her recent films is a documentary made from her family’s Super 8 home movies. See her website at

Serena’s sister Silvia lives in Rome and is an editor and translator. Silvia is the former partner of the well-known filmmaker Nanni Moretti. They have a son Pietro (24), Serena’s nephew, who is a painter in London. Serena’s father Luigi Nono (1924-1990) descends from an old Venetian family. His grandfather, also called Luigi Nono (1850-1918), was a famous painter. Nono’s ancestors include the Priuli family. Lorenzo Priuli (1489-1559) was the 82nd Doge of Venice. His brother Girolamo Priuli (1486-1567) served as the 83rd Doge of Venice.

Serena is Catholic, but is increasingly interested in her Jewish background.


Pietro, Nuria, Serena, Silvia
Randy and Serena in Berlin 1987

Finding Fioretta

Synopsis: Venetian painter Serena Nono goes on a journey of historical and religious discovery with her cousin the restitution lawyer Randy Schoenberg, exploring the deep Jewish roots of her grandfather, the composer Arnold Schoenberg through Vienna and Prague back to the founding families of the old Jewish ghetto in Venice.

Serena, who was born and lives in Venice, travels with her cousin Randy from Los Angeles to Vienna and Prague, exploring the rich Jewish, cultural and scientific history of their ancestors, before returning to her home town of Venice, where she discovers the grave of an ancestor, Fioretta, buried 450 years ago in the old cemetery on the Lido. Along the way, they meet a variety of people who are deeply engaged in the exploration and preservation of Jewish history in Central Europe. These include, a luxury suit cloth dealer writing a genealogical encyclopedia of Jewish Vienna, a woman memorializing the Jews who once lived on her street, an actor photographing Jewish cemeteries in the Czech countryside, and a child hidden from the Holocaust who now, age 91, takes care of the old cemetery on the Lido, as well as historians, archivists and museum caretakers who are the custodians of precious Jewish artifacts and religious sites.

While some of Serena’s ancestors are evidenced only by a tombstone or an archival record, others have left behind a rich trove of historical records and stories, intersecting with Emperors, Kings and Popes, as well as famous scientists and musicians. The journey includes, as it must, the so-called “lacrymose history of the Jews” beginning with the Inquisition in the Kingdom of Naples and the establishment of the ghetto in Venice, and continuing with expulsions and persecutions in Vienna and Prague, concluding with the Holocaust, which also touched members of Serena and Randy’s family.

The genealogical record follows the path below, with each reference including the historical and genealogical data and artifacts available for discovery. Each number represents a single generation.

  1. Serena Nono (b. 1964) and Randol Schoenberg (b. 1966)
  2. Nuria Schoenberg Nono (b. 1932)
  3. Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
  4. Pauline Nachod Schönberg (1848-1921)
  5. Josef Nachod (1813-1884)
  6. Gabriel Nachod (1776-1849)
  7. Daniel Avigdor Nachod (1727-1792)
  8. Moyses Nachod (1694-1759)
  9. Benet Nachod (-1742)
  10. Frumetl Ausch Nachod (-1724)
  11. Jentl Chalfan Ausch (-1700) and Josef Ausch (-1674)
  12. Chaim Chalfan (-1648)
  13. Joshua Heschel Chalfan
  14. Dr. Elia Chalfan (-1624)
  15. Dr. Abba Mari Chalfan (-1586), Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi (1512-1585), Kalman Chalfan
  16. Fioretta Kalonymos (- c. 1560) Dr. Eliyahu Menachem Chalfan (-1551), Solomon Molcho (-1532)
  17. Dr. Calo Kalonymos and Abba Mari Chalfan the Astronomer
  18. David Kalonymos the Astronomer and Rabbi Josef Colon Trabotto (Maharik)