Prague, 1901 – 1991, Stepperg / Upper Bavaria
Winterberg was born into a Prague Jewish family; his father was part owner of a textile factory. From the age of nine, Winterberg studied piano with Therèse Wallerstein; at Prague’s Music Academy, he studied with Alexander Zemlinsky and Alois Hába. Winterberg was married to the German-Czech pianist and composer Maria Maschat. Their daughter Ruth was born in 1935. By 1944, following a Nazi-decreed divorce, Winterberg was sent to Theresienstadt and his daughter Ruth was placed in a children’s home. At the end of the war, Winterberg returned to Prague to discover Maria and Ruth deported to Germany under the Beneš decrees, their Czechoslovakian citizenship rescinded. He applied for a Czechoslovakian passport to recover manuscripts held by Maria Maschat, arriving in Germany in 1947. He chose not to return to Czechoslovakia, presumably due to the 1948 Communist coup. He was soon taken up by Bavarian Radio, which recorded more than twenty hours of his music. Following his death, his adopted son placed an embargo on his music until December 2030, which was only lifted in 2015.
Michael Haas:The Ominous Hans Winterberg Puzzle