Born in Trnava, he was an alumni at the Academy of Music in Bratislava with a degree in music composition and conducting. First an accompanist in the Czech town of Opava, he was later appointed the co-conductor of the operetta ensemble in Kosice, eastern Slovakia. There, he experienced the annexation of south-eastern Slovakia to Nazi-led Hungary in 1939. He came back to Bratislava. He was playing in the Grand hotel in Žilina when playing music for members of the Hlinka guards who, at that very moment, were deporting the whole of his family. Listen to the story of Karol Elbert as presented by musicologist Agata Schindler, Slovak Radio icon Pavol Zelenay and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Juraj Bartoš.
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9th September 2021 marks 80 years since the issuing of the so-called Jewish Code by the Slovak wartime state depriving its citizens of basic human rights. In remembrance of the events it triggered, Slovaks commemorate 9th September as the Memorial Day for the Victims of the Holocaust and of Racial Violence.