26 January 2004

A Polynesian Schindler? Isle Musician Saves Lives in Holocaust

He'd have them impersonate groupies or say they were his stage hands or relatives. Once, he even snuck a few over the border tucked in his trunk and hidden among the colorful folds of his stage costumes.

In all, McKinley High School graduate and Laie resident Tau Moe, who traveled the world playing Hawaiian music with his family for more than 50 years, estimates he helped at least 150 of his Jewish musician friends escape Germany and Austria just before the height of Adolf Hitler's reign....

The Moe family was a sell-out act during their heyday. They toured Singapore, the Middle East, Germany, Italy and India. They found fans of Hawaiian music in Egypt, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Denmark, England, Sweden and Finland.

Moe was in charge of the steel guitar and tap dancing for the group. Moe's wife, Rose, took care of the singing while also sprinkling in some dancing and playing of her own.

The Moe children--son Lani, who was born in Japan, and daughter Dorian, born in India--played instruments, danced, sang and were featured in a number of European films.

Lani, who died in 2002 at age 73, was something of a child star and became so popular in Germany that when he raised thousands of dollars for an orphanage charity through his performances, he was selected to ride in Hitler's car during a parade.
SOURCE: Mary Vorsino, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 26 January 2004

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