“My father came to Tokyo from Karuizawa to meet me,” wrote Beate Sirota Gordon in a message to me, which she sent several years before her death in 2012 at age 89. “He looked gaunt and undernourished. … My mother did not come because undernourishment had caused her to swell up, and she was ill in bed. So I went with my father to Karuizawa. It was a tearful but joyful reunion.”

Beate, born into a Jewish family in Vienna in 1923, was taken to Tokyo by her parents a few days after her sixth birthday in October 1929. Her father, eminent pianist Leo Sirota, was to assume a position at the Imperial Academy of Music in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, inspiring a number of musicians who would come to prominence after World War II.

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