Joseph Schmidt was born in Davideny (Davydivka) near Czernowitz in 1904. He started singing early on in life and joined the local synagogue's children's choir. In 1925, he went to Berlin to continue his training. Since he was very short, he was not suitable for the operatic stage. Instead he starting recording and his works were broadcast on the radio with tremendous success. Between 1929 and 1933 he enjoyed an unparalleled following as one of the nation's most celebrated tenors. In 1933, he starred in his first major film, Ein Lied geht um die Welt, and later moved to Vienna. He completed two more films in London and performed in Holland, Belgium and New York in 1937. In 1938, he left Vienna and lived in Belgium, Holland, and France. In 1942, he was interned in the Girenbad concentration camp in Switzerland, where he died from a heart attack while singing.
From the guide to the Joseph Schmidt Collection, 1939-1996, bulk 1939-1968, (Leo Baeck Institute Archives)