He was twenty-four. Twenty-four. That was all the Nazis allowed him. Who
knows what he would have been capable of? What operas could we have had
from him? Who knows, maybe he would have surpassed maybe he would have surpassed Wagner, the composer who
was not so keen on Jews? Or he might have gone in a totally different
direction and become a jazz giant?
We will never know, because he only lived to be 24 and when the war
broke out he was not even 20 yet. But he had already made a name for himself
as a violinist. But also as a composer, because composing was his true love and something
he did on a daily base. Even while he was in hiding.
He had to move often because he was in danger of being betrayed, but he
continued to compose. How he was arrested is not entirely clear. Perhaps
during a raid? What we do know is that on 14 May 1944 he was put on a
transport to Auschwitz. A death certificate, dated 30 September 1944,
states that he died in Central Europe. That is all we have to go on.
At one time he also wanted to become a music teacher, as is shown by an
advertisement in Het Joodsche Weekblad (a publication of the Jewish
Council) of 7 September 1941, in which he offered himself as a teacher
of music theory and violin pedagogy. Only recently, he had successfully
passed the state examination of theory and violin with Willem Pijper,
which enabled him to establish himself as a teacher. He lived in
Naarden with his mother, his younger brother, his sister and her husband.
Kattenburg never denounced his Jewish background. He arranged a large
number of Hebrew melodies, which appeared in his manuscripts with titles
written in Hebrew and he also used dating according to the Jewish calendar. In
1942, the Star of David even appeared symbolically in his manuscripts.
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